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Pacquiao to grace Lakers-Mavs game

MANNY Pacquiao

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Arum, who once promoted the daredevil Evel Knievel, is pulling all the stops to make Manny Pacquiao’s US return next month a rousing success.

Pacquiao is set to face Timothy Bradley in a rematch on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Arum is drawing inspiration from his promotional track record in hyping the Filipino icon’s much-awaited appearance on American soil after an absence of over a year.

Arum, 82, whose first promotion was Muhammad Ali’s brawl with George Chuvalo in 1966, bared that Pacquiao is attending a home game of the Los Angeles Lakers probably against the Dallas Mavericks on April 4.

Not to be outdone is Bradley, who will watch the Los Angeles Clippers against the Lakers on April 6 before heading to Las Vegas on board a private plane being chartered by Arum’s Top Rank Inc.

Gracing NBA matches is not new to Pacquiao, an avid hoops junkie who once rooted for the Boston Celtics and had his photo taken alongside Kobe Bryant during one of his training camps in Hollywood.

As for Pacquiao, he will not break tradition in going to Las Vegas as he will get there by land on April 7 joined by a convoy of vehicles made up of supporters from California and Manila.

Arum, meanwhile, revealed that tickets are selling briskly and “we only have about 2,000 left.”

“We expect a sellout,” said Arum, who expects to see not one seat empty when Pacquiao and Bradley rumble at the Grand Garden Arena, which will be reconfigured to about 16,000 for the grudge match.

Arum is confident the pre-fight activities Pacquiao and Bradley will engage in will boost not only the ticket sales but the pay-perview subscription.

Pacquiao’s last fight against rugged Brandon Rios in Macau didn’t do well although the 500,000 buys wasn’t exactly an anemic figure.

However, Pacquiao’s fights have registered in the millions and Arum said the fact that the Rios slugfest was held outside the US had a severe effect on the sales.