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LAS VEGAS, USA – If you drive up to the MGM Grand along Las Vegas Boulevard, there are few reminders that Manny Pacquiao will be challenging WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley this Saturday, April 12 (Sunday PH time).
Instead, you’ll see Floyd Mayweather Jr – Pacquiao’s arch-rival and the primary figurehead of the boxing Cold War that has stalemated negotiations between rival promoters – all over the building.
Once inside the casino property, adverts for Mayweather’s May 3 fight with WBA welterweight titleholder adorn blackjack tables and slot machines, while Pacquiao-Bradley posters occupy relatively few spaces.
The show of favoritism by the venue has left Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank infuriated, and ready to withdraw Pacquiao’s future fights from the venue.
“Highly unlikely that it would be here at MGM, or on any MGM property because (Pacquiao) feels that not only he, but the Filipino people were disrespected by MGM with what they pulled off, which has never happened before in the sport,” said Arum.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach, when asked about Pacquiao’s feelings regarding the abundance of Mayweather posters around the venue, said, “Manny hasn’t seen it, he’s in the hotel room the whole time. He doesn’t give a shit, I don’t care. It’s the hotel’s decision to do that. We have more important things on our minds than a fucking picture on the wall.”
Arum, who promoted Pacquiao’s last fight against Brandon Rios at the Venetian in Macau, said he is ready to promote fights elsewhere in Vegas, particularly with the Venetian and Wynn hotels.
As MGM and sister property, the Mandalay Bay are the only casinos in Vegas with arenas for boxing, the fights would have to take place in the Thomas and Mack Center, where Pacquiao fought his 2nd and 3rd fights with Erik Morales in 2006.
When asked if he felt MGM had colluded with rival promoter Golden Boy Promotions and HBO’s rival network Showtime, Arum responded: “It wasn’t accidental. They did it knowing the consequences and knowing that it wasn’t right. I have absolutely no idea what motivated it, I have theories on it but they’re just theories. There will be proceedings where all of this comes out.”
Arum said that he “would be very hesitant to come back” to MGM under the current administration but that things could change under new management.
Arum also took shots at the promotion of Mayweather-Maidana, calling it a mismatch. “Mayweather-Maidana is not a fight. At 15-1 odds, it’s not a fight. Nobody in their right mind gives Maidana any chance with Mayweather. So it’s very difficult to sell tickets to a sporting event where there’s no real question to who is going to win, and an undercard that has more serious mismatches.”
Vegas Insider’s latest odds have the 35-year-old Pacquiao (53-5-2, 38 knockouts) a 2-1 favorite over Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) for the rematch of their controversial first fight, which Bradley won.
Arum said that the fight will be close to a sell-out “within a few hundred” but that all of the highest-priced tickets had been sold. – Rappler.com
More Rappler coverage of Pacquiao-Bradley II from Las Vegas