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Shure wireless goes welterweight for the Fight of the Century

Soundtronics used Shure Axient for all its key channels at the Floyd Mayweather, Jnr vs Manny Pacquiao match in May

Handling the selection, deployment and coordination of wireless microphones, IEMs and intercoms for the Floyd Mayweather, Jnr vs Manny Pacquiao boxing match on 2 May was Las Vegas-based Soundtronics, which used Shure Axient for all its key channels.

“We handled both the system design and deployment, along with the frequency coordination for about 200 wireless channels – 140 of our own, and the rest from ENG crews and other press,” says Mark Barbuti, managing partner at Soundtronics, which has worked on multiple boxing events at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “For key performers, I had two eight-packs of Axient receivers. One rack was dedicated to handhelds for the four main reporters, and the other was used for miking the referee and trainers, plus an emcee and spares.”

The floor reporters for the fight were issued Axient AXT200 handhelds with KSM9 mic elements. Max Kellerman of HBO and Jim Gray of Showtime each covered one fighter’s locker room and handled floor reporter duties during the bout. Two more Axient handhelds, with custom chrome finish, were assigned to ring announcers Michael Buffer (HBO) and Jimmy Lennon, Jnr (Showtime).

In addition, fight referee Kenny Bayless and the trainers in the fighters’ corners were miced live using Axient AXT100 bodypacks, pre-programmed by Barbuti, with backup frequencies in case of interference. “The bodypack systems for the trainers are a big part of the broadcast,” he explains. “Those channels are recorded, and can also be routed to interpreters for translation. Between rounds, the director might go live with one corner or the other, which is great for the fans. We used WL185 lavalier mics on the trainers for their wide cardioid pattern.”

Soundtronics deployed Shure wireless in other key roles, as well: Performers for the national anthems of the US (Jamie Foxx) and the Philippines (Gail Banawis with the Word Chorale) used Shure PSM 1000 personal monitor systems, while All Access, Showtime’s behind-the-scenes documentary series, made use of a Shure ULX-D wireless system networked through Dante, for recording with timecode for camera sync.

“From the weigh-in on Friday through the last post-fight interview Saturday, [the wireless system] was flawless,” concludes Barbuti. “With Shure Axient’s frequency diversity and Spectrum Manager, we knew that all our key wireless mics were protected. That was the only way I could honestly tell the producers, ‘It’s not going to fail.’ There’s no other wireless system that lets me make that guarantee.”