Money and morality: what the fight of the century says about America

Mayweather, Pacquiao and Las Vegas will earn millions at the end of a week of violent clashes in Baltimore

Violence, as witnessed on the streets of America this week and many other places, is a most curious drug. The legal sale in a boxing ring in Las Vegas tomorrow night in a promotion billed as the Fight Of The Century is a powerful demonstration of the sport’s deep, lingering appeal, inviting debate across a broad moral spectrum.

In Baltimore this week – where a 25-year-old African American, Freddie Gray, had died from injuries suffered during arrest – they staged a baseball match between the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox behind closed doors, as much for security reasons as any sense of propriety. It was the game that nobody saw.

Related: Baltimore protests turn into riots as mayor declares state of emergency

In Las Vegas, boxing's capital and the epicentre of gambling, it is business as usual – and business is sensational

Mayweather expects to be $200m richer when all the sums are done; Pacquiao is settling for maybe $120m

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