Pacquiao planning to skip MGM arrival in sign of displeasure
LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao isn’t feeling much love for the hotel where he will fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in boxing’s richest fight ever.
Pacquiao plans to skip a Tuesday ceremony at the MGM Grand marking formal fighter arrivals, an event that has been standard at the hotel for major championship fights. Pacquiao is staying at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and will have his after-fight party at yet another hotel, the Wynn.
Mandalay Bay is Pacquiao’s hotel of choice whenever he fights in Las Vegas.
Promoter Bob Arum—who has been embroiled in a dispute with the hotel over tickets—said Pacquiao will only go to the MGM for the final prefight press conference, the weigh-in and the fight itself.
“We don’t need a show for his arrival and we can do without all the hoopla,” Arum told ESPN.
“We’re not gonna stay there any more than we have to, because we know the way they’ve been acting we’re not welcome,” he said.
Pacquiao will head to Las Vegas on Monday after a final four-round sparring session at the Wild Card gym in Hollywood, driving to the fight capital in a car alongside a bus carrying his supporters. He will stay at the Delano at Mandalay Bay, where he almost always stays for his fights.
What’s different this time is that Pacquiao won’t appear at the Tuesday ceremony in the lobby of the MGM Grand, where thousands of fans would be expected to be on hand to cheer on both fighters. The fighters also generally do interviews with a group of writers after their arrival.
“We told them we’re coming in Monday night and we’re going to the Mandalay Bay and we’re not doing a grand arrival at the MGM,” Arum said. “We’ll have the press come over to Mandalay Bay and do an interview with Manny there.”
The MGM Grand Garden is where Pacquiao has won his biggest fights, including bouts against Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton. This will be his 12th fight at the hotel, which for the last two decades has hosted most of the biggest fights in Las Vegas.
“We’ll keep it calm for Manny. We’ll get a big room downstairs at Mandalay Bay and Manny will talk to the press there in an orderly way and in a comfortable environment,” Arum said.
“I think that’s a lot better for Manny and, frankly, it’s better for the press. Why does he need a grand arrival when he’s not even staying at that place?”
Arum feuded with MGM executives at Pacquiao’s last fight at the MGM, against Timothy Bradley last April, when the hotel featured a huge picture of Mayweather on its facade advertising his next fight. Pacquiao went to Macau for his last fight, a decision win over Chris Algieri that drew a packed house at the Venetian arena there.
The feud escalated in recent weeks as Arum believed MGM executives were conspiring with Mayweather’s camp to give Mayweather more tickets to the fight than allowed under contract. Those ticket rights are worth millions of dollars even at list prices, with the house scaled to some $72 million.
The dispute was finally resolved this week and about 500 tickets went on sale to the public on Thursday. They were quickly snatched up, and tickets on the secondary ticket market were being listed at 3-4 times face value for the cheapest $1,500 nosebleed seats to more than $100,000 for the $10,000 ringside floor seats. With a report by Bong Lozada, Inquirer.net