By EDDIE G. ALINEA
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA) – “Not anymore.”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum exclaimed this as he reacted to earlier reports that the November 5 confrontation of world boxing icon and Philippine Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and current World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion Jessie Vargas was one fight ‘nobody wanted.’
Arum, in a talk with this writer right after the joint press conference held Wednesday to promote the 12-round title encounter at the Margaux ballroom of the Wynn Resort Hotel here attested that tickets are selling like hotcakes and that only less than 2,000 remained unsold.
“Most of the unsold tickets are those in the cheapest section at $50 each,” the Harvard law graduate said. “And we expect them to also be all sold out come fight night.”
Tickets to the Pacquiao vs. Vargas world championship event are priced at $1,000, $700, $500, $300, $100 and $50.
The 80 plus Arum attributed the sudden surge of ticket sale to the WBO titlist’s rise in popularity, especially to the Hispanic community in the United States. “The Mexicans, the Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic groups will come in droves to cheer for their idol and fill the 19,500 sweat Thomas & Mack Center, I tell you, ” he said,
“Vargas is an Olympian and is loved by everybody here in America,” he said. “He is educated and speaks good English and good Spanish as you might have noticed in the press conference.”
“Manny himself, likewise, allayed fears expressed by some quarters that he won’t be ready to fight because of the dual roles as a senator and a fighter.
“Fans, at first, were wary of Manny’s situation that he might not be able to prepare well for the fight because of his dual role,” Arum said. “But we sent a television crew to Manila to record the goings on in his preparations and they saw for themselves there’s nothing to worry about. Manny’s a real pro and has a good work ethic.”
Pacquiao and Vargas pronounced themselves ready to do battle during the meeting with media men and both predicted victory.
“It will be a good fight,” Arum declared. ”Both Manny and Jessie will come prepared and I expect the fight to not last the 12-round route. “Somebody will fall, I don’t know who,” he projected.
The three additional world championship fights on the pay-per-view that feature four-division world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. defending his WBO junior featherweight title against undefeated No. 1 contender Jessie Magdaleno and newly-minted WBO featherweight champion and two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez making his first title defense, against Japanese No. 1 contender Hiroshi Ogawa, likewise, helped sell tickets, Arum said.
The pay-per-view telecast will open with the rematch between top-rated contenders Chinese Olympic icon Zou Shiming and Prasitak Papoem of Thailand battle for the vacant WBO flyweight world title.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is rooting for Pacquiao, adding he wants the fighting senator to knock out Vargas.
Thousands, if not millions, of Pacquiao’s Filipino fans in the Philippines, the United States, Canada and around the world have joined Duterte in rooting for the boxing hero and senator. (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA)