HOLLYWOOD—All of Team Pacquiao was abuzz on Thursday. And it had nothing to do with the sharpness, quickness and power Manny Pacquiao has been displaying nine days before his Jan. 19 fight.
From every corner of Wild Card Gym which, thanks to him has become some sort of a minor tourist spot on Vine Street here, every member of the large, disparate posse was talking about one thing: The Manny Pacquiao NBA sweepstakes.
That’s because every early evening since the start of the training camp, Pacquiao would ask everyone present in his Plymouth Boulevard mansion to place their bets on the night’s NBA match.
He would list the names on a sheet of paper to formalize the deal on which side they’re on. Winners get $100. If there are two games for the night, they get to bet on both of them.
His official photographer, Wendell Alinea, is one of the biggest winners, with $400 so far.
“That would be your allowance in Vegas,” Pacquiao told Alinea.
It’s not unusual for the 40-year-old global boxing idol.
Pacquiao would normally organize fun games during his training camps. One time, he put up a prize for a Team Pacquiao member who would lose the most weight during the duration of the camp. But once inside the gym, Pacquiao turns on his “beast mode.”
He sparred on Thursday afternoon for six rounds each against two opponents. After that, with Buboy Fernandez in the mitts, he rehearsed punching combinations.
“One second lang (only),” Fernandez told Pacquiao, referring to the time in between shots. Of course, Pacquiao’s staccato of punches was thrown in split seconds.
Pacquiao is fighting in the United States for the first time in more than two years, putting his WBA welterweight title on the line against Adrien Broner at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Over in Florida, Broner, speaking to media men via teleconference, said he will defeat Pacquiao and make himself “a legend overnight.”
“Pacquiao is a legend, He’s gonna go down as one of the best in boxing business,” he said. “But you know, I feel it’s my time to take over the sport.”
“The win would make me an icon,” said the 29-year-old Broner.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.