LAS VEGAS:  RESORT ODDSMAKER MAKES IT EVEN SPACER

LAS VEGAS, January 18, 2006
(BULLETIN) As far as the sportsbook at the magnificent Wynn Resort and Casino is concerned, Saturday night’s super-featherweight battle between Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales is even-steven.

Pacquiao and Morales are listed at 100-110, meaning a bet of 0 ensures a winning of 0.

A few days back, sportsbook.com, one of the world’s largest on-line betting stations, installed Morales as a 10-8 favorite and this recent development that pegs the scheduled 12-rounder as being even stems from the assumption that money has come in from Pacquiao supporters.

Oddsmakers and ringsiders are convinced that the Filipino has a truly big chance of exacting revenge that Pacquiao is listed as an 8-5 favorite to win by knockout and 3-1 on points.

In contrast, Morales is a 9-5 pick to win via the short route and also 3-1 on points.

Those who will place a bet on a draw are expected to make a killing since it is listed a 12-1.

Pacquiao arrived here yesterday and was greeted with chilling weather of minus zero.

But he found warmth from his management team and a small group of Filipinos residing in this city who greeted him on arrival.

Pacquiao came in on board his Porsche Cayenne and was mobbed by his admirers holding a bundle of blue, yellow and red balloons at the South Valet entrance of the Wynn Resort and Casino, arguably the city’s most splendid hotel these days.

After a brief interview with Filipino mediamen, Pacquiao was escorted by his handlers, led by promoter Gary Shaw and manager Shelly Finkel, to his suite at the 51st floor where his eyes widened as soon as one of the bellhops opened the door.

"Super! Ang ganda," exclaimed Pacquiao, whose suite is furnished with a high-definition flat TV at the receiving lounge and a large plasma TV in the main room. There are also two large-sized sofas, a bar, a massage room, an extra room, some art work on the wall and a huge shower and bathroom.

The view from Pacquiao’s suite shows the dazzling Las Vegas skyline and the mountains beyond.

Such was the opulence of his quarters, Pacquiao said jokingly that only First Gentleman Mike Arroyo would be allowed to step inside.

"Si First Gentleman lang ang puwedeng pumasok dito," Pacquiao said laughing.

Before heading here, Pacquiao sparred for four rounds at the Wild Card Boxing Club, where trainer Freddie Roach looked disappointed that the 27-year-old Filipino lefty horsed around with two separate sparmates.

"He likes to show off," said Roach.

But the training got serious when he was subjected to the Thai sticks treatment conducted by Australian conditioning coach Justin Fortune.

This program is nearly routine each sparring day. Fortune hits him in the tummy, shoulders and arms several times to strengthen his muscles and, apparently, his threshold of pain.

Pacquiao plans a light workout on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) at the IBA Compound located a few minutes drive from the Strip. He should be doing the same on Wednesday, the day Pacquiao and Morales are going to be presented to the press by promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.

The official weigh in is on Friday afternoon.

Morales and his training and management team are scheduled to arrive here, straight from his camp in Queretaro, Mexico, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, souvenir items like shirts and caps are already displayed in a store at the lobby of this .7-billion resort hotel. Black-colored shirts are priced at , while caps are pegged at .

Two salesladies at the store are from the Philippines, Roselle Panon of Cebu and Norma Dizon of Marikina.

Owing to the high prices, bootleggers are expected to sell similar items on the Strip or even near the site of the fight, the Thomas and Mack Center, days leading to the event.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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