[PHOTO - Manny Pacquiao does his bit to endorse the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as chair Margarita Juico (left) and general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas look on.]

MANILA, JULY 3, 2011 (STAR) By Joaquin Henson - The WHO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is in line for more commercial endorsements on a global scale and based on his growing international appeal, the sky’s the limit.

Pacquiao is now a global icon with Nike, appearing in advertisements on the same stage as Rafael Nadal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.

During the recent NBA Finals, Pacquiao’s commercial for Hewlett-Packard’s HP Veer 4G smartphone was repeatedly shown on US TV. His punchline was: “Well, if there’s one thing I know, little guys can pack a punch.” For all intents and purposes, it was a “knockout.” Pacquiao wasn’t even introduced in the advertisement – the recognition was presumed. He was reportedly paid $1 Million for the 30-seconder.

According to Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz, a California-based company called “Pacquiao Produce” distributes a food line world-wide. The deal is a partnership with State Street Produce with vegetables grown on Mexican farms. Koncz was quoted by Greg Bishop of the New York Times as saying he hopes the contract “will do for Pacquiao what grills did for George Foreman.”

The key to the effort to sell Pacquiao is Lucia McKelvey who joined Top Rank last February as executive vice president in charge of business development and marketing. The 33-year-old whiz was previously associated with IMG Golf where a major client was Woods. She left IMG Golf last November.

Koncz said McKelvey is just what the doctor ordered for Pacquiao. “She’s doing a very good job and has some good things in the pipeline,” said Koncz when contacted by text in Mexico the other day.

McKelvey was among the few individuals given accreditation to join Pacquiao in his dressing room after the Sugar Shane Mosley fight in Las Vegas last May. She is well-liked in the Filipino’s camp and the Pacquiao entourage has nicknamed her Cameron Diaz, the actress whom she resembles.

McKelvey isn’t just involved with Pacquiao’s affairs. Her scope of responsibility extends to the entire Top Rank portfolio. But Pacquiao is, of course, her top priority because of his global popularity as the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.

Bishop said McKelvey has estimated Pacquiao’s potential earning power at more than $50 Million in past years. He bankrolled only a portion of that amount because it was never clear who represented him in negotiating endorsement contracts.

“At its disorganized, fragmented peak, Manny Pacquiao’s endorsement strategy was being handled by anywhere between 30 and 50 friends who claimed to represent him and made hundreds of cold calls, often to the same company,” wrote Bishop. “As Pacquiao ascended to boxing royalty, as his earning power ballooned beyond even his greatest expectations, this lack of strategy came with real consequences. Pacquiao lost a potential Gatorade endorsement, lost an appearance on an EA Sports video game cover, lost, by conservative estimates, a few million dollars in recent years alone.”

McKelvey’s arrival was the solution to the problem. Now, all proposals and deals go through McKelvey and Koncz who clears contracts directly with Pacquiao.

“The world is his oyster and he is completely unsaturated,” said McKelvey at a recent Las Vegas press conference. She noted that more endorsement deals “could bring Manny untold wealth when his boxing career is over.”

Writer Gareth Davies of the Telegraph quoted McKelvey as saying Pacquiao’s “market ratings should make him the highest earner in sport.”

For the Mosley fight, Pacquiao was guaranteed $20 Million and will probably rake in at least $3 Million more when the pay-per-view income kicks in. He should pocket more than $20 Million for the Juan Manuel Marquez outing this November. Pacquiao is projected to fight twice more in 2012 and still, twice more in 2013. One of those fights could be against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and that would mean at least a $50 Million payday.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum called Mayweather a psychological coward for refusing to risk his unblemished record by fighting Pacquiao. “In the long run, that fight won’t matter in Manny’s life,” said Arum quoted by Davies. “What he achieves inside the ring will be only one-tenth of what he goes on to achieve outside the ring.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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