Colossal Pacquiao-Mayweather tiff drives wedge among stars
HOLLYWOOD—Floyd Mayweather Jr. has Justin Bieber and Diddy on his side. Manny Pacquiao has Sylvester Stallone and Keanu Reeves.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and NBA great Shaquille O’ Neal said they are rooting for a Mayweather win in the Fight of the Century on May 2 (May 3 in Manila) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow and Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry picked Pacquiao.
Muhammad Ali likes Pacquiao. His daughter, Laila, prefers pound-for-pound king Mayweather.
Don’t look now, but the colossal battle between Mayweather and Pacquiao is driving a wedge among American celebrities and sportsmen.
BACKSTORY: The Pacquiao Files – Celebrity Corner
And, surprisingly, the Filipino icon Pacquiao seems to have the edge over the flamboyant Mayweather—as far as the number of declared supporters is concerned.
Others who have aligned themselves with the eight-division world champion are actors Robert Duvall, Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Piven, Liev Schreiber and Jessica Szohr; TV hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Mario Lopez; celebrated lawyer Robert Shapiro; Mixed Martial Arts champion Ronda Rousey, boxing greats George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Roberto Duran; NBA Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Charles Barkley; Los Angeles Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, comedian David Chappelle and supermodel Adriana Lima.
Those who have placed their bets on Mayweather include actors Michael Strahan and Jamie Foxx, rapper 50 Cent, comedian Bill Maher and Bernard Hopkins, incidentally the oldest boxing champion in history.
Wahlberg, Stallone, Malone, Lin and Rousey visited Pacquiao while training at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Reeves rode his motorbike almost incognito to Pacquiao’s mansion on Plymouth Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Shapiro, who handled the sensational case of former American football star OJ Simpson, even gifted Pacquiao with a speed bag emblazoned with Mayweather’s face.
Rapper 50 Cent boasted that he placed a $1.6-million bet on a victory by Mayweather, whom he once disparaged for being barely literate. Diddy and Wahlberg made a splash when they agreed on a rival $250,000 bet.
There’s no question as to Bieber’s loyalty as he and Mayweather are major investors in Shots Mobile, a selfie photo-sharing application and social network.
Come May 2, they will know whether they made the right choice or not.
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