IF you happen to be a friend of a friend of Manny Pacquiao, or perhaps a distant relative of the boxing hero, better not expect to get a ticket for the May 2 fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
You may have a better chance if you're close to Mayweather.
You see, aside from the purse split and drug-testing procedure, part of the agreement that led to the richest fight in boxing history is that Mayweather will have full control of the tickets at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In his previous fights, Pacquiao, who is known for his generosity, used to buy atleast 1,000 tickets and given not less than 50 complimentary tickets to give away to family members, friends, showbiz pals and politicians.
In his last fight against Chris Algieri in Macau alone, Pacquiao bought and distributed more than 1,200 tickets to friends and family, some of whom arrived with him in a chartered flight, members of Team Pacquiao said.
But it will no longer be the same for the coming Mayweather fight as he will only be allowed to purchase no more than 200 tickets, which he needs to pay at face value.
“Wala na, kontrolado ni Mayweather ang lahat. Ganun talaga, gusto i-maximize ni Mayweather ang earnings ng lahat,” said Pacquiao’s business manager Eric Pineda.
The current KIA Carnival team manager also bared that ticket are seven times more expensive than in Pacquiao's previous fights.
“Dati kasi US$1,000 lang ang floor seats, sa Mayweather fight pumalo ito sa US$7,500 kada isa. Masyado talagang mahal kaya medyo pasensiyahan muna sa mga dating nabibigyan ni congressman,” he said.
“Hindi rin kayang bilhin ni Manny ang mga tickets (ng ganun karami) kasi masyado talagang mahal,” Pineda said. He added that in Pacquiao’s last marquee fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2008, the most expensive seats were only sold for $1,500.
The longtime Team Pacquiao insider revealed that Mayweather only wants to cash in on the popularity of the fight which fans have been clamoring for since five years ago.
“Magaling lang talaga si Mayweather, marunong mag-negosyo,” he said.
Another Team Pacquiao member, Cebu-based boxing promoter Rex 'Wakee' Salud, believed Mayweather sought full control of the tickets to assure himself of a partisan crowd inside the fight venue.
“Hindi mo maiaalis na ganun ang pakay niya, na siya ang susuportahan ng crowd. Kilala mo naman si Mayweather, lahat ng advantage na pwedeng makuha, kukunin niya,” said Salud.
“Kahit kelan hindi ako namroblema sa ticket ng laban, dati may tatlo hanggang lima akong ticket, ngayon wala talaga,” he added.
Even congressmen friends and PBA stars who used to be allotted complimentary tickets, which the Pinoy fight bought, have already been told of the problem.
“Nag-ask nga ako kay Congressman Manny, kahit kako bibilhin ko na. Nagsabi na siya na wala na raw talaga. Fifty tickets lang daw ang naka-allot sa kanya, tapos wala na talaga,” said Purefoods guard and regular Pacquiao basketball teammate Marc Barroca.
Sports Radio commentator Renato Lirio, meanwhile, said the only way Pacquiao can reverse the situation is if he beats Mayweather on May 2. Then he can dictate the terms in a rematch, he added.
“Kailangan talagang talunin ni Manny 'yan. Matatalo ni Manny 'yan. All things being equal, yung fear factor, 'yan ang mabigat sa dibdib ni Mayweather. Kasi alam naman ng lahat ang matagal nang takot niya,” said Lirio.
“Hindi pupuwede kay Pacquiao ang may kaba ka, kasi hindi mo lalo magagawa ang strategy mo sa kanya,” he added.
Lirio also pointed to the big drop in Mayweather’s performance over the years.
“Against (Marcos) Maidana, makikita mo wala na talagang galaw si Mayweather. Mahina na ang legs niya, hindi na siya gaano nakaka-maneuver, 'pag ganyan siya against Pacquiao, patay siya,” he said.