Manny Pacquiao loves his world title belts and the litany of awards and trophies he has received throughout his legendary career. He has his belts and other significant mementos displayed in his homes in the Philippines and Los Angeles.
Yet, his 2011 ESPY award for “best fighter” is surprisingly up for auction with a fishy-sounding story as to how Heritage Auctions came to offer the 17-inch, eight-pound trophy in its current auction, which features an array of sports cards and memorabilia and closes on Feb. 21.
According to Heritage Auctions, not long after Pacquiao won the ESPY for best fighter on July 13, 2011, the unnamed female consignor was sightseeing on the Las Vegas Strip “when a flash of silver caught her eye next to some garbage cans. She initially thought it was a statue of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino, but then read the plaque affixed at the base: ‘The ESPYS 2011, Best Fighter, Manny Pacquiao.’”
The letter of provenance she gave to the auction house claims that she “reached out to Pacquiao through his Facebook page with an offer to return the prize, but her message went unanswered. Thus, with ownership unchallenged, it is consigned to auction.”
The minimum bid is $2,500, with Heritage Auctions estimating a sale value of around $10,000.
It described the silver-colored trophy like this: “Only minimal handling wear is evident, only apparent upon close inspection. It's one of a very few articles from Pacquiao's overflowing trophy case ever to reach public auction, and with the boxing legend recently announcing that his upcoming rubber match with Timothy Bradley will be his last, the population thereof is nearly complete.”
Fred Sternburg, Pacquiao’s longtime spokesman, has been to Pacquiao’s homes multiple times and has seen his memorabilia displays. Sternburg suspects the trophy may have been stolen, if it even is the legitimate trophy.
“Manny proudly displayed all his U.S. trophies in his Los Angeles home,” Sternburg said. “There’s no way in hell he would ever throw out an award, especially on the street. And why would it even be in Las Vegas?”
It is unclear whether Pacquiao is aware that his ESPY award is up for auction. He is in the Philippines and could not be reached for comment.