Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 | 2:09 p.m.
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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition
Las Vegas fight promoter Bob Arum today confirmed Monday’s rumors that eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao has been added to the lineup of boxers flying here in 1 1/2 weeks for the all-star Muhammad Ali 70th birthday party at MGM Grand Garden Arena to benefit Keep Memory Alive and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Additionally, the trip from Manila where Manny is a congressman also will mark the start of promotion for Pac-Man’s fight against undefeated Timothy Bradley for Manny’s WBO welterweight title that Bob announced for June 9 -- also at the arena. In the WBO junior welterweight title bout last November, Timothy beat 40-year-old Cuban fighter Joel Casamayor on the undercard of Manny and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Manny is 54-3-2, with 38 KOs. Bob said that he hopes to have the contract finalized with Timothy by the Feb. 18 Ali event so that the two fighters can start promoting the battle. Of course the big question still remains about a Manny fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Will they ever fight? Will they agree to a Las Vegas venue for this year? Will they even meet with Bob while here with all the other great boxers?
BIRTHDAY BOY: Champagne wishes to Wynn headliner Garth Brooks celebrating the Big 5-0 today. His debut disc was in 1989 and since then he has broken album and concert ticket sales records around the globe. It took him less than seven years to rack up 60 million in album sales -- and 100 million by October 2000 when he officially “retired from touring.” My exclusive two-part interview with Garth was posted in early December.
Last month, he was named the top-selling artist of the past two decades, selling 5 million more than the Beatles in the second spot. Quite an extraordinary achievement for the kid who started out studying advertising at Oklahoma State University and worked as a bouncer at the Tumblewood Ballroom in Stillwater, Okla.
FIRST LADY OF FOOD: Now we know first lady Michelle Obama loves bread. Stunning Las Vegas chef Josette Leblond, who hosts “La Cuisine” every Tuesday and Thursday on KTUD Channel 25 (Cox Cable 14), provided an assortment of breads from her bakery Normandie Country for an Obama campaign fundraiser in L.A. The day after the event that raised nearly $1 million, chef Dass, who organized the luncheon, called Josette to inform her that the first lady went out of her way to comment about the delicious breads that were served.
Normandie Country has been known as one of the premier French bakeries in L.A. since 1985. Josette’s main squeeze, Las Vegas TV host and producer Tony Sacca, produces “La Cuisine,” and they have filmed in France, at her pate factory in California and at our local Anderson’s Dairy.
NAKED SWIMSUIT MODELS: When the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is unveiled next week, it will be heralded by a super-scintillating TV commercial, and artist-producer Craig Tracey based it on Las Vegas: “I was inspired by the most exciting city in the world, and this has to be the nakedest ad ever made for Las Vegas and the Swimsuit Edition!”
Some 20 models arrive here on Valentine’s Day next Tuesday for 48 hours of fun and concerts on the Strip.
NEW MAGICIAN: Illusionist Tommy Wind, 21, is set to become one of the youngest headliners in Las Vegas when he opens his show “Impact: An Explosion of Magic and Music” next Tuesday at the Clarion Hotel. He promises to upend the magic world with his unique act that incorporates martial arts and music. Voted Best Magician of the Year at the World Magic Awards, Tommy plans all-new illusions and will play seven instruments before making them disappear. He tells me that his show includes hip-hop, jazz, tap and fencing. He’ll impale himself in one of his larger illusions and bring a poster of one of his female dancers to life!
NEW BAR LOUNGE: The new Lily Bar and Lounge from the Light Group is set to open Feb. 18 at the Bellagio. The 3,300-square-foot cocktail lounge will serve small plates from nearby Fix and will be open 16 hours daily starting at noon. In the evenings, drapes will be lowered to transform it from a bright, open and airy atmosphere to an exclusive and intimate setting. Lily brings Light Group’s total of Las Vegas venues to 14 restaurants, clubs and lounges.
SHOES NEEDED: Las Vegas boutiques are joining forces in advance of next week’s MAGIC fashion convention for the charity event Soles4Soles at LAX in the Luxor on Wednesday night. Attendees are encouraged to donate new or old shoes, and Angel Management Group will donate $1 for each person attending as the boutiques join to raise funds and awareness. The shoe donations go to the needy in the U.S., Kenya, Thailand and Nepal.
New Miss Nevada USA Jade Kelsall celebrates her birthday at Lavo in the Palazzo with Australian DJs Grant Smillie and Ivan Gough, and Bob Zany, Alan Bursky and Daryl Wright headline at the Improv at Harrah’s through Sunday.
James Bond villain Robert Davi reveals his plans to recapture the spirit of Frank Sinatra at the old Sands when he brings his own Rat Pack to the Venetian this month and realizes a dream that began 40 years ago.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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