<
>

Manny Pacquiao to skip hoopla of MGM Grand arrival ceremony

Count Manny Pacquiao out of the grand arrival ceremony next week ahead of his May 2 megafight against Floyd Mayweather, an event that typically kicks off high-profile fight weeks at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN.com on Thursday night that Pacquiao is going to skip Tuesday's pageantry, normally accompanied by a crowd hoping to catch a glimpse of the combatants or maybe even snag an autograph as they stroll through the vast lobby and into a ring to pose for photos and do a few television interviews.

Then the fighters are swept into a room behind the front desk to meet with writers.

Mayweather's part will go on as planned.

Arum said Pacquiao, who will not be staying at the MGM Grand during fight week, will arrive in Las Vegas on Monday by private bus from Los Angeles, where he has been training, and meet the media "without all the hoopla" at his host hotel, Mandalay Bay, one of the MGM-owned properties down the Las Vegas Strip. That is where Pacquiao traditionally stays whenever he fights in Las Vegas.

"We don't need a show for his arrival and we can do without all the hoopla," Arum said. "We'll keep it calm for Manny. We'll get a big room downstairs at Mandalay Bay, and Manny will talk to the press there in an orderly way and in a comfortable environment. I think that's a lot better for Manny and, frankly, it's better for the press. Why does he need a grand arrival when he's not even staying at that place?"

Arum and MGM executives have had a rocky relationship in recent years, most recently during this promotion over Arum's contention that the casino was conspiring with Mayweather Promotions to prevent Top Rank and Pacquiao from securing their share of tickets that had previously been agreed to in the contracts between the promotional companies.

"Why would we want to be at a place where we don't feel welcome, anyway?" Arum said.

That dispute was finally settled Wednesday, allowing tickets to go on sale Thursday. They quickly sold out -- only about 500 were available for public sale -- but on Friday, those shut out of the arena on fight night will at least have a fighting chance to buy tickets for the May 1 weigh-in.

Pacquiao will appear at the MGM Grand for Wednesday's final news conference, Friday's weigh-in and, of course, the long-awaited welterweight unification bout with Mayweather, which is widely considered a lock to break the all-time pay-per-view buy record of about 2.5 million for Mayweather's junior middleweight championship fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 at the MGM Grand.