BOXING

Manny Pacquiao charters two planes to Macau; rival Chris Algieri barely fills a row of seats

Filipino boxing star's huge entourage packs two flights while little-known Algieri's team takes just five seats on a Taiwanese airline

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 November, 2014, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 November, 2014, 8:10am

Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao will arrive in Macau next week with a 300-strong entourage as the city looks to reap the benefits of hosting two big sporting events on back-to-back weekends.

Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) is guaranteed US$25 million for the latest Clash in Cotai, plus a few million more from pay-per-view revenue, while his opponent Chris Algieri will earn his biggest pay cheque of around US$1.5 million.

But the Filipino icon will save a reported US$200,000 in air fares when he flies on a budget airline into Macau on Monday from General Santos in the Philippines, where he has been training for the past six weeks.

Pacquiao, 35, will travel with his training team, his family and local and foreign-based fans aboard two A320 airbuses with his own livery and the Philippine flag, thanks to a sponsorship deal with low-cost carrier Air Asia.

In contrast, little-known Algieri arrived on Friday morning from Las Vegas having flown business class with Taiwanese airline Eva Air, accompanied by just four members of his team.

Algieri’s family leaves on Sunday from New York and he has a bunch of friends flying in next week as well. “In total between team, family and friends, we have about 30 people making the trip,” said his manager, Kevin Rooney.

The annual Macau Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, ahead of the “Clash in Cotai II” on November 23, and the city’s casinos will be hopeful of a much-needed boost after gross gaming revenue plunged 23.2 per cent year on year to 28.025 billion patacas last month.

Last November, when Pacquiao fought Brandon Rios at the same venue, gambling revenues jumped 21.3 per cent year on year as high-spending visitors flocked to the city.

Outnumbered 10-1 in entourage numbers, the wealth gap between Pacquiao and Algieri is huge with the American seen as a modern-day Rocky with little hope of winning.

Pacquiao has homes in the Philippines and the US and is worth an estimated US$100 million according to Forbes, while Algieri still lives in his parents’ basement in Long Island and only recently paid off his college fees as holder of two university degrees, including a Master’s in clinical nutrition.

But Algieri said he doesn’t mind being the underdog and isn’t bothered that Pacquiao’s huge fan base might sway judges.

“The judges are much closer to the action than the fans are. Fans sure can sway the way a fight looks. I am confident in the ability of the judges and if I do what I need to do and things go the way that we plan, we will come out with the victory regardless of the fan support,” he said.

“Team Algieri is very excited and very much looking forward to this fight,” said the unbeaten 30-year-old American (20-0-0, 8 KOs). “We are done with the hard work and we are ready to rock.”

Algieri received a boost before leaving Las Vegas – he had his WBO light welterweight world title reinstated after it was originally taken away because he was fighting for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title.