With less than two weeks remaining until he faces Floyd Mayweather, it seems Manny Pacquiao can barely get two words in edgewise. The boxing odds have been pretty quiet for the Fight of the Century, too.
Where’s the earth-shattering ka-boom? Since that quick burst of in boxing odds line movement on Tax Day action on Floyd Mayweather Jr., there’s been little to no movement on the boxing odds for his May 2 superfight with Manny Pacquiao. Business is sure to pick up in the next few days, though. We’re less than two weeks away from the Big Fight, and when the time is right, both the sharps and squares will be making their Mayweather vs. Pacquiao betting picks and pouring millions of dollars into the betting market.
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening on the news front. A very important piece of the puzzle was filled in Tuesday afternoon when Kenny Bayless was named the referee for the Fight of the Century. Bayless is widely considered the best referee in the sport today, and should be especially familiar to Pacquiao – Bayless worked seven of his previous fights. While we ponder the significance of this announcement, let’s take the temperature of the Pacquiao camp and see how the underdog is doing.
Can You Hear Me Now?
How interested are people in the Fight of the Century? They blew out the phones. Pacquiao had a conference call scheduled for Monday, his last Q-and-A before the Big Fight, but technical difficulties and too many callers eventually prompted Top Rank to shut things down. Pacquiao only managed to get in three words before the call was cancelled; when asked by the host how his training camp was going, Pacquiao said “Good, very good.”
Top Rank said this was the first time in years they’d ever had a problem with the phone system. But founder and CEO Bob Arum seemed even more frustrated about the call itself. Never a fan of conference calls, Arum told the Daily News that he was assured only the “A” journalists would be involved. Instead, the volume of callers proved to be too much, and when blogger Michael Marley of Examiner.com was identified as the first journalist in the queue, Arum dropped an F-bomb and pulled the plug on things.
Perhaps we’ll hear more than three words from Pacquiao when he appears on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show this Wednesday night. In the meantime, Forbes magazine reported on Monday that Pacquiao has signed at least $5 million worth of endorsement deals over the past six months alone. Mayweather doesn’t have any personal sponsors, partly from choice, and partly because of the assorted domestic violence charges he’s picked up over the years.
Nike has one of the more visible endorsement deals with Pacquiao; they’ll be cranking out a new line of Pacquiao-branded apparel this week, focussing on the West Coast market, where most of his U.S. fans are. Nestle has also unveiled a digital ad campaign for its Butterfinger candy bar, and both Foot Locker and Wonderful Pistachio are on board with new sponsorship deals.
All I Wanna Do Is Go the Distance
You can add Sylvester Stallone to the long list of celebrities cheering for Pacquiao on May 2. Stallone dropped by the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles to watch Pacquiao train on Saturday, and while Stallone wouldn’t come right out and say that Pac-Man was his boxing pick for the Fight of the Century, Stallone had nothing but praise for the underdog in Pacquiao vs. Mayweather betting odds when asked about his chances.
Maybe it’s just as well for Pacquiao that Stallone didn’t give an iron-clad boxing pick. When Pac-Man met Chris Algieri in November, Stallone flew all the way to Macau to catch the fight, and picked Algieri (+500) to pull off the upset. Algieri did manage to go the distance, but was otherwise completely outclassed in a unanimous decision. Maybe Stallone is simply partial to underdogs. It does fit his Rocky Balboa character, after all.