LAS VEGAS – Fans said they feared for their lives after a "terrifying" crush of spectators injured at least 24 people after Floyd Mayweather's victory over Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.
As supporters tried to leave the arena through a crowded passageway and into the main casino, eyewitnesses reported a "stampede" of people occurred.
According to Eric Poleski, battalion chief for the Clark County Fire Department, 24 people were taken to local hospitals as a result of their injuries. Most were leg injuries, and those affected ranged in age from children to the elderly. The most serious injury was sustained by a woman in her mid 30s who suffered from a bad leg laceration.
Poleski confirmed that a stampede-like crowd motion had taken place, sparked by fans mistaking a loud noise for a gunshot.
"What happened was a temporary wall had fallen over and it made a loud bang and people assumed that shots were fired, so they started stampeding," Poleski said.
MGM director of public relations Scott Ghertner said the property's management and security staff were looking into the situation and that a statement would be released Sunday.
Boxing fan Dulce Castillo, who attended the Mayweather-Maidana bout, told Yahoo Sports that her 6-year-old son, Braulio, was being taken to the hospital after being trampled underfoot.
"I just [felt] like the people [were] over me and I am scared and I am screaming very hard," Castillo said. "I said to my brother, 'Help me, help me, please.' My son is with people [on top of him]. I thought that we were dying, really."
The official attendance of the fight was a sellout of 16,268, and following Mayweather's majority decision win, many of the fans attempted to leave through the upper concourse exit, which leads to the Garden Walk section of the MGM property and houses several eating establishments.
Around 15 minutes after the conclusion of the fight, the crowd swell began to move violently to the right. An estimated 60 people took refuge in the ladies' restroom in order to avoid potential harm.
Others were not so fortunate.
A 64-year-old hotel photographer who gave his name as Carlos told Greg Heakes of the AFP news service that he was caught in an ugly stampede of between 300 to 400 people.
"People just started yelling and screaming, and next thing I know some guy jumps over my table and hits me on the head," the man said. "People pushed the table back against the wall. There were a couple of ladies on the floor next to me. It was chaos."
Former WBA super bantamweight champion Clarence "Bones" Adams and a friend assisted in pulling spectators out of the crush and to safety, with many of them taken to a holding area in the Hecho en Vegas restaurant, where they received medical attention.
"All of a sudden we heard a loud rumble and people were falling," Adams said. "There was no gun shot. But there was nothing that could be done with the people in here. They were all getting hurt. A little kid got trampled on, all the tables were getting turned."
Metal detectors that had been used to screen fans going into arena before the fight card were still in place, restricting the space available for fans to leave.
Yahoo Sports spoke to an elderly lady named Doris who described losing her purse and shoes after being knocked to the ground.
"I was really scared," she said after being attended to by medical staff. "Everyone just started running. It was like a stampede."
Another female victim, Kay from Maryland, spoke of how the terror of the situation meant this would be her first and last boxing event.
The Blizz Frozen Yogurt shop immediately next to the main entrance to Grand Garden Arena was roped off and shut down as a female fan lay on the floor and received attention.
A fan from Argentina described a fight scene in broken English, saying, "Everyone wants to fighting like crazy, no room to move."
The section where the crush of people occurred is routinely jammed at the end of major events, including the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley last month.
The MGM this week announced plans for a new $350 million arena on The Strip that will be used to host major sporting events like the Mayweather fight and concerts.
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