ESPN recently reported that the 2011 ESPY “Best Fighter of the Year” trophy that was awarded to Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao is up for auction. The item can been seen for sale on the site Heritage Auctions and has an opening bid of $2500, with an estimated value of $10,000 or up. As of this writing, there have not been any offers made on the item with 23 days left to bid.
The category of “Best Fighter” in the ESPYs has been presented annually since 2007 by ESPN. "Best Fighter" replaced the "Best Boxer" category (which had run from 1993-2006), and was done in large part to accommodate the growing popularity of mixed-martial-arts and its fighters. Since the new category has been introduced, the award has only been won by Floyd Mayweather Jr. (6 times) and Manny Pacquiao (2 times), until Ronda Rousey became both the first woman and the first MMA athlete to win the distinction last year.
It now appears as though someone is selling Pacquiao’s prized distinction. According to the item description, Heritage Auction came in possession of the item when their 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 site went on to report further that the alleged consignor attempted to return the item through Pacquiao's Facebook page, but did not receive an answer, which according to them, translates into an unchallenged ownership and thus has the right to be sold.
Pacquiao has yet to be reached for comment, but Fred Sternberg, a spokesperson for Pacquiao, has doubts about the item's legitimacy, suspecting that the award was either stolen or is a fraudulent replica.
“Manny proudly displayed all his U.S. trophies in his Los Angeles home,” Sternburg told ESPN. “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?”
We tried speaking with Heritage Auctions, but were unable to reach a willing representative to speak on the issue. When thinking about the truth behind the matter, all possible outcomes are peculiar. Either Heritage Auctions (which appears to be a somewhat legitimate site of business) is knowingly selling a fraudulent ESPY trophy, or has been hoodwinked by its consignor. If, hypothetically speaking, the item is real, that means Manny Pacquiao (or someone on his team) thought the award not important enough to even keep stored in a box somewhere at home, and instead carelessly tossed it into some random dumpster in Las Vegas. Either scenario is bizarre.
Check out these related stories:
The Mixed Martial Arts of Victorian London
Before BJJ, there was Bartitsu.
Jonathan Maicelo: The Last Inca
Peru's up-and-coming boxing star.
Kron Gracie on Jiu-Jitsu, Skateboarding, Older Brothers, and Famous Fathers
The ties that bind are strong.
Joel Tudor on the Art of Surfing, Fighting, and Style
A surf icon helps MMA keep its sense of tradition.
Japan's Karate Kid: Kyoji Horiguchi
Japan's brightest MMA prospect.