Manny Pacquiao conference call begins and ends when first question is asked

Kevin Iole
Boxing
Actor Sylvester Stallone (L) jokes around with Manny Pacquiao before a recent workout. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Manny Sly

Actor Sylvester Stallone (L) jokes around with Manny Pacquiao before a recent workout. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

If it wasn't bizarre enough that it took more than five years for the parties to finally come to terms to pit Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in a boxing match sports fans have been calling for since at least November 2009, it's getting even crazier.

Tickets are still not on sale less than two weeks before the May 2 event at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

And in keeping with the bizarr-o world of this fight, a Pacquiao conference call Monday was abruptly canceled only minutes after it began.

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Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who is not a fan of conference calls, jumped in and ordered the end of the call just six or seven minutes after it began as reporter Michael Marley of Examiner.com was asking the first question.

Top Rank released a statement in which it said the conference system went down "and we were unable to communicate with our operators." Yahoo Sports attempted to dial in shortly before the 2 p.m. ET start, but was unable to get through. Several other reporters had the same issue.

But Yahoo Sports spoke with Arum after the snafu. He said the statement, "was the p.c. way of doing it, but what I told you is the Arum way."

Katie Couric, Yahoo News' global anchor, speaks with promoter Bob Arum after interviewing Manny Pacquiao (Chris Farina/Top Rank)
Katie Couric, Yahoo News' global anchor, speaks with promoter Bob Arum after interviewing Manny Pacquiao (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Arum said he only wanted the top boxing reporters asking Pacquiao questions and was concerned that it would wind up a waste of his fighter's time.

"I asked Fred [Sternburg, Pacquiao's publicist] not to do a conference call, because I don't believe in them and think they're terrible," Arum said. "Every jerk in the world gets on there and asks these stupid [expletive] questions. I said if we were going to do a call, we should limit it to the top, top guys. They told me that [publicist Ed] Keenan was going to monitor it. But then they introduced me and I was speaking and nobody could hear me. It turns out I was in the wrong queue.

"So when it was finally opened up for questions and the first one came from Michael Marley of Examiner.com, I knew they'd screwed it up. It was going to be an absolute disaster. I said we either do it the right way or we don't do it. The best way is to get four or five of the top guys and put them on the phone. It would be the equivalent of when the fighters [arrive and speak to the media in] the VIP area at the MGM. I didn't want Manny on there having to listen to all of this nonsense."

So the call was canceled and there is no indication of if it will be re-scheduled. After it appeared almost certain that tickets would go on sale Monday, there was no word as of 3 p.m. ET.

Richard Sturm, president of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. (Getty)
Richard Sturm, president of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. (Getty)

Relations between Arum and the MGM have been shaky since Arum blasted Richard Sturm, the president of MGM Entertainment and Sports, at a news conference last year.

Sturm has not dealt with Arum since and the May 2 fight will be the first Top Rank event on an MGM Resorts property since Arum's comments. Top Rank president Todd duBoef denied to Yahoo Sports that the Arum-Sturm relationship had anything to do with ticket sales.

MGM Grand officials have declined to make Sturm available to the media to answer questions about the odd delay in putting tickets on sale. Never in the history of a major fight in Las Vegas have tickets not been for sale so close to the fight.

Mayweather is scheduled to host a conference call on Wednesday at 3 p.m. That figures to be a can't miss.

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