Nov. 22 - The retired soccer star says he is excited to watch boxer Manny Pacquiao fight Brandon Rios. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Retired soccer star David Beckham declared himself "a huge fan" of boxer Manny Pacquiao on Friday (November 22) and said he was excited at the prospect of the Pacquiao versus Brandon Rios fight on Sunday (November 24). Beckham is one of a number of celebrity guests in Macau for the fight, at the invitation of the casino where the bout is taking place. The former England captain is collaborating on community projects with the casino owner, U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson. "It's obviously one of the reasons why I'm here and why I'm really excited being here. I'm a huge fan of Manny's. I met him a couple of years ago in the Philippines with, when I was on tour there with the Galaxy and also there with UNICEF. And he truly is an inspirational person," said Beckham. Beckham, who moved to the U.S.A. and Major League Soccer (MLS) after his glory days in European soccer, has already confirmed rumors that he is planning to start a new soccer team with MLS, based in Miami. But a formal announcement will come later. The league has confirmed it is in discussions with Beckham but is awaiting a formal bid, including details of the city, the ownership group, and a stadium plan, which is expected before the end of the year. The Pacquiao fight is a coup for Macau, a former Portuguese colony and now a special administrative region of China, like neighboring Hong Kong. Its 35 gaming houses are the only places where Chinese nationals are allowed to gamble in casinos, and revenues are soaring with Macau gaming revenues expected to be seven times those of Las Vegas this year. Now China's central government is calling for Macau to attract more tourists, not just hardcore gamblers, and hosting sports events is a direct way of doing this.