Manny Pacquiao, left, and Timothy Bradley, face off for the cameras during… (Julie Jacobson / Associated…)
LAS VEGAS — Less than 24 hours before the doors were scheduled to open for Manny Pacquiao's world title fight against unbeaten Timothy Bradley on Saturday, Las Vegas ticket brokers said they were having trouble unloading seats for the eight-bout card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
"It's weak. Really weak," complained one ticket seller, who blamed the lagging economy. But overexposure may be playing a role too.
Eight of Pacquiao's last 10 fights have been in Las Vegas. And just five weeks ago Floyd Mayweather Jr. packed the same arena when he fought Miguel Cotto.
Todd duBoef of Top Rank, which is promoting the fight, said there is a difference in how fast tickets sell on the primary market — at the box office — and on the secondary market through brokers. As of Friday afternoon, he said, he had less than 2,000 tickets left, with the cheapest selling for $300. But Top Rank chief Bob Arum predicted a crowd of less than 16,000, several hundred below the arena's capacity.
Another indication that interest in the fight is flagging: while thousands of fans were turned away last month from Mayweather's pre-fight weigh-in, the arena was a third empty Friday for the Pacquiao-Bradley weigh-in, which was free to the public. And those who did show were notably subdued.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 knockouts), who weighed in at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, also seemed uninterested. As Bradley taunted him after both fighters had stepped off the scales, Pacquiao only smiled. When asked why, the eight-division world champion answered "well, I'm happy."
Meanwhile Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) said he was "ready for war" and "out to prove everybody wrong." The Palms Springs boxer appeared to be in phenomenal shape, weighing in at 146. And though that matched the second-heaviest weight of his career, he was so muscular that Pacquiao looked soft by comparison.
"Look at my physique," Bradley said. "I've trained long and hard for this fight."
Odds are, Pacquiao wins
Although the Las Vegas odds on Pacquiao slipped slightly Friday, he still was a 41/2-to-1 favorite after the weigh-in, roughly where he was when betting lines were first established.
Fighting for respect
Cuban defector Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic champion and one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time, will open the pay-per-view card Saturday by defending his WBA super-bantamweight crown against once-beaten Teon Kennedy.
Arum said Rigondeaux (9-0, seven KOs) will need to entertain as well as win if he hopes to earn big-money fights against the likes of Abner Mares, Nonito Donaire or Rafael Marquez.
"If he keeps fighting the amateur style, he's not marketable," Arum said of Rigondeaux, who fought nearly 400 amateur bouts before escaping Cuba in 2009. "This is not the Olympics where people come and watch because it's the Olympics. Here we've got to sell tickets."
Rigondeaux's manager, Luis de Cubas, said his fighter learned that lesson when he went for the win rather than a knockout in a TV bout in 2010. He won the fight, and the world title, but he was banished to Ireland for his next bout.
"A lot of people thought that he ran," De Cubas said. "Everybody wants knockouts. It's a different game now. He gets what he's got to do."