PHOTOS of Manny Pacquiao wearing Under Armour's basketball shoes popularized by NBA MVP Stephen Curry has stirred excitement online and spurred speculation that the boxing hero has found a new shoe and apparel partner, days after being dropped by Nike.
But hold your horses.
A member of the Pacquiao camp was quick to deny on Monday that the eight-division world champion has hooked up with Under Armour on a new endorsement deal, although he admitted that they are in the middle of negotiations with different sports apparel brands.
"We haven't struck a deal with Under Armour, although I can say we are already in the middle of negotiations with different sports apparel brands," said Pacquiao's showbiz manager and endorsement agent Arnold Vegafria.
During a pick-up game in a gym located inside his mansion in General Santos City, Pacquiao was pictured wearing for the first time a pair of basketball kicks not produced by Nike, his endorsement partner for over a decade.
That partnership ended last week when Nike cut ties with Pacquiao for what it termed as 'abhorrent' comments against members of the LGBT community.
But Pacquiao's head of staff Haplas Fernandez told Spin.ph that the Filipino hero wearing Under Armour shoes during a pick-up game doesn't necessarily mean their boss has already found a new sponsor.
"Hindi, wala pa siyang bagong endorsement (ng sapatos). Sinuot niya lang yun kagabi sa laro niya. Pero hindi pa sponsored yun "[No, it's not a (shoe) endorsement yet. He just wore them during his pick up game last night. He's not yet under contract (with Under Armour)]," said Fernandez, brother of Pacquiao's assistant trainer Buboy.
Asked where Pacquiao got the red pair of Steph Curry Under Armour Anatomix Spawn shoes, Fernandez responded: "Sa US pa 'yun nung andun kami (last May for a promotional tour). Nagpabili mga anak niya, kasi idol si Steph Curry, bumili rin siya ng kanya [He got that pair in the US last May, after his kids, who are Steph Curry fans, bought their own pairs. He bought one for himself]."
Fernandez, meanwhile, bared that Pacquiao is still expected to wear his Nike shoes when he spars with Ghislain Madumba on Tuesday afternoon.
"Yun (Nike) pa rin isusuot niya. Kahit sa jogging namin kanina [He still wears (his Nike) shoes, even during our morning jogs]," he said.
At the moment, Vegrafria refused to divulge the brands they are currently negotiating with.
"We're still talking to them, I will tell you as soon as we have closed the deal," he said.