No 'grand arrival' for Manny Pacquiao, as promoter says he's feeling the heat

Kevin Iole
Boxing
Trainer Marvin Somodio (L) stretches Manny Pacquiao before a recent workout in Hollywood (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

MARVIN AND MANNY

Trainer Marvin Somodio (L) stretches Manny Pacquiao before a recent workout in Hollywood (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Major fights have kicked off the last few years in Las Vegas with what has become known as "The Grand Arrivals." An elaborate set-up is constructed in the lobby of the MGM Grand.

The public and media are invited, there is festive music playing and, occasionally, an extremely and frequently obnoxious DJ shouting incessantly. It's become as much a part of the fight week ceremonies as the nose-to-nose staredown at the weigh-in.

It's not going to be quite the same for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout, which will be May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden. Mayweather will do his grand arrival at the MGM as usual on Tuesday, though the final schedule hasn't been released. But Top Rank CEO Bob Arum chose not to have Pacquiao participate.

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So Pacquiao will quietly bus into Las Vegas from his Los Angeles-based training camp on Monday and will stay at Mandalay Bay. On Tuesday, instead of an arrival ceremony, Arum said he'll have Pacquiao meet the media in a ballroom in the bowels of the casino, away from the screaming fans.

"Manny doesn't need all the chaos that ensues with a grand arrival," Arum said.

Arum abruptly canceled a Pacquiao conference call earlier this week, shouting, "Oh, [expletive]," when Michael Marley of Examiner.com was announced as the first questioner. Arum told Yahoo Sports then that he wanted only reporters from major outlets and didn't think it would work

Trainer Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao and actor Mark Wahlberg pose before a recent Pacquiao workout in Hollywood. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)
Trainer Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao and actor Mark Wahlberg pose before a recent Pacquiao workout in Hollywood. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

This time, he's trying to make life easier for Pacquiao and the media, he said, by eliminating the frenetic atmosphere that is created when Pacquiao makes a public appearance.

"We'll get the room downstairs where they do the press conferences and we'll let the press talk to Manny in a comfortable atmosphere," Arum said. "To me, it's much more effective than this grand arrival thing. To me, grand arrival, what does that even mean? He's not staying at the place."

But Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said he sees it as a sign that the stress of the fight is wearing on Pacquiao.

Though Pacquiao is clearly the No. 2 attraction in the sport, Ellerbe said he hasn't been through this kind of scrutiny before and suggested Pacquiao is showing signs of cracking.

"The spectacle, the magnitude of this event is something Manny has never been through before," Ellerbe said. "He's been in a lot of big fights, but there are big fights and there is a Floyd Mayweather fight. There are obligations you have and things you have to do when you're in an event of this magnitude that he hasn't had to do before. He's not fighting no Chris Algieri now. This is a whole new ballgame.

"[Pacquiao trainer] Freddie Roach thinks he runs a tight camp, but I know everything that's happening there. I heard it's been a very rough camp. And now, I think it's dawning on Manny Pacquiao exactly what he's up against."

The gamesmanship has begun. And you better believe it's probably not going to end, even when the fight does.

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