- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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As with virtually ever fight of note, promoters organize a teleconference to give the media a chance to ask questions of the fighters, trainers and promoters in advance of the bout.
On Monday, Manny Pacquiao was scheduled to hold his only call prior to his mega showdown with Floyd Mayweather on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but it lasted only a couple of minutes before Top Rank promoter Bob Arum abruptly ended the call during the first question, just one more crazy thing on the road to a fight that is less than two weeks away yet, stunningly, the contracts with the MGM Grand remain unsigned, no tickets are on sale yet, and no closed circuit information has been released.
"At the top of the hour there were a massive number of calls from the media,” Top Rank spokesman Lee Samuels said in a statement, shortly after the 2 p.m. ET call was canceled. “Our conference call system, which has worked for years, literally went down and we were unable to communicate with our operators. This was very unfortunate and we apologize."
Arum did not want to have a cattle call teleconference with reporters in the first place. He preferred a much smaller one only with the top media members from the largest outlets. So after the participants on Monday made some opening remarks, Arum was ticked off when the first question came from Examiner.com rather than a mainstream outlet and he ended the call -- which many media were not even able to get into in the first place because it had been overwhelmed by callers.
“I knew it was f----- up because [the public relations team] called me and [Pacquiao publicist Fred Sternburg] starts the conference call and says, ‘Now we’ll hear from Arum,’” Arum said. “But they didn’t hear me because they put me in the audience [queue] instead of in the speaker [queue]. I knew right then this was screwed up.
“When Fred said they were doing a call, I said you don’t do one for an event like this. You get the top writers in a small setting and put them on with Manny rather than open it up to [outlets that] don’t matter. I don’t want to waste Manny’s time with stupid questions from these idiots from the websites nobody ever heard of.”
Arum said Ed Keenan, one of the PR people working the event, was charged with selecting the order in which media would ask questions, but he could not get into the call, at which point the conference call operator randomly selected somebody to ask the first question.
“Now when I hear where the first question is from and I knew it was f----- up, so I called it off,” Arum said.
Arum said he was unsure if another call -- a smaller one with top media -- would be scheduled.
Mayweather is scheduled to speak to the media on his teleconference at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Manny Pacquiao was scheduled to hold his one and only media teleconference on Monday, but the call lasted only a couple of minutes.