NHL-mad Vegas oblivious to Horn fight

Vince Rugari
Jeff Horn is receiving very little attention from the Las Vegas public, but it suits him just fine

He's the world champion hiding in plain sight.

Then again, it's pretty easy for Jeff Horn to blend into the background in Las Vegas.

The Australian boxing star could walk up the casino city's famous strip and back down again without anyone batting an eyelid.

Here, he's just another tourist.

The only time he's been pulled up so far by someone who recognised him was a Filipino family who had watched him conquer Manny Pacquiao last year.

As big as Horn's WBO welterweight title defence against Terence Crawford on Sunday morning (AEST) is in the context of Australian boxing, it barely even registers in Vegas.

Not when the likes Ricky Martin, Tiesto, Calvin Harris, rapper Rick Ross and guitar god Carlos Santana are in town and performing every night.

And certainly not this week, of all weeks, when everyone is busy watching one of sport's great fairytales unfold in the National Hockey League.

The Vegas Golden Knights, the city's first major sporting franchise, have reached the Stanley Cup Finals.

It's a sensational effort for an expansion team in their debut season, and one that has galvanised a city still traumatised by the massacre of 58 people last year by a shooter perched in his suite in the Mandalay Bay hotel.

The Golden Knights are partially to blame for the repeated delays to Horn's US boxing debut.

Were it not for their unexpected success, Horn might have fought Crawford in Vegas two months ago.

The original date for their bout had to be abandoned because the Golden Knights were finals-bound, meaning the T-Mobile Arena was booked out.

Instead, Horn will face Crawford at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, directly across the road.

Ice hockey isn't a particularly popular sport in Nevada, an arid desert state. But everyone has jumped on the Golden Knights bandwagon.

Their merchandise is everywhere. Most croupiers and concierge workers are wearing it. Tourists are snapping up jerseys and t-shirts.

Even the giant Statue of Liberty outside the famous New York, New York casino is draped in the team's colours.

Game five is on Thursday night and, if needed, game seven will be here too.

It's a taste of what's to come for Vegas.

Soon, the NFL's Oakland Raiders will relocate to a new stadium being built right next to the strip.

Nobody, at least not yet, is talking about boxing.

It doesn't help that Crawford, despite being rated as one of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters, has a stunningly low profile and next to no media cut-through.

None of it bothers Horn. By the time he packs his bags to leave, he intends to have made his name in the US.