Pacquiao and Mayweather gear for ‘fight of century’
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao gave one last press conference before their May 2 fight in Las Vegas. The fight is seen as the ultimate clash between the best boxers of their generation.
Pacquiao and Mayweather gear for ‘fight of century’
Boxing: Mega-fight not good v evil – Mayweather
by Rebecca BRYAN
LAS VEGAS, April 29, 2015 (AFP) – Floyd Mayweather said Wednesday his long-awaited showdown with Manny Pacquiao isn’t a battle of good and evil as the two rivals went eyeball-to-eyeball at their final pre-fight press conference.
“I am a realist,” said Mayweather, the 38-year-old American who has parlayed a perfect 47-0 ring record into a reign as the highest paid sportsman on the planet.
“This fight is not good versus evil. It is one fighter who is at the top and another.”
Pacquiao, a two-term congressman touted as a potential future president of the Philippines, is beloved as a humanitarian in his native land.
A devout Christian who has put womanizing and gambling days behind him, Pacquiao said Wednesday that his main aim in taking on Mayweather in what will be the richest fight in boxing history was to inspire the weak and glorify God.
Mayweather, an energetic trash-talker in his younger days, hasn’t been afraid to compare himself favorably to Muhammad Ali, or to flaunt the perks his wealth has brought — houses, cars, even an airplane.
Nor is Mayweather a stranger to violence out of the ring, serving jail time for one of several incidents of domestic violence.
None of that will matter on Saturday, when the two climb into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I believe in my skills. I believe I will be victorious,” said Mayweather, who puts his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight belts on the line against Pacquiao, the World Boxing Organization champ who boasts a record of 57-5-2.
For more than five years, contractual hurdles and animosity between the camps kept the top pound-for-pound fighters of their generation from meeting in the ring.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Promotions is partnering with Mayweather Promotions to produce the event just as television rivals HBO and Showtoime have come together in a rare partnership, said the experience had been “hellish”.
– Intriguing match-up –
But now the long-awaited bout is set to break all of boxing’s revenue records, capturing the imaginations of fight fans and casual observers around the world.
“I don’t take nothing away from Pacquiao, he is going to be an intriguing match-up on Saturday,” Mayweather said. “He didn’t get to where he got by not beating tough opponents.”
It’s that kind of measured respect that has Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach doubting that Mayweather’s heart is in a fight from which he stands to make $200 million.
“I wonder if he’s going to show up,” Roach said shortly before the fighters took the stage at the MGM Grand’s 1,950-seat Ka Theater — usually the home of Cirque du Soleil.
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson strolled in — only one of the boxing legends, A-list celebrities and casino high-rollers drawn by the buzz surrounding the fight.
But the pre-fight festivities have offered few fireworks.
“I think he was forced into this fight,” Roach opined of Mayweather before the press conference, adding that he thought Showtime pushed Mayweather into the bout.
“I don’t think he wants to fight this fight. He didn’t get to pick his opponent.”
– Older and wiser –
But the 38-year-old Mayweather said he just doesn’t need to indulge in the kind of brash talk that was the hallmark of his younger days.
“From the beginning of my career I have always had a game plan,” Mayweather said. “I make calculated moves in the ring and out of the ring. Me speaking loud and having personality I did that in the past.
“I’m a lot older and wiser, this fight sells itself. I don’t have to do it.”
A world champion in five weight divisions and closing in on Rocky Marciano’s iconic record of 49-0, Mayweather scoffs at the notion that the 36-year-old Pacquiao, winner of world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions will be the one to get past his consummate defense.
But Roach, who admits he has been studying Mayweather for years — ever since the fight was first supposed to materialize in 2010 — believes he knows the key to a Pacquiao victory.
“I think we have more speed, more power and I think we’re 100 percent ready for what he brings to the table,” said Roach, who is unimpressed by Mayweather’s unblemished record.
“I think losses make you a better person and a better fighter,” Roach said. “You learn much more from a loss than you do from a win.”
Boxing: Verbal jabs as moment of truth looms for Pacquiao, Mayweather
by Rebecca BRYAN
LAS VEGAS, April 29, 2015 (AFP) – Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather amped up the anticipation for their blockbuster bout, feting fans on Tuesday before they get down to the final, serious preparations for Saturday’s welterweight showdown.
Boxing’s latest “Fight of the Century” — between two fighters reckoned the best pound-for-pound of their generation — has been more than five years in the making.
But as fight-week swung into high gear, tensions between the camps were evident as Filipino icon Pacquiao and unbeaten American Mayweather made public bows at separate venues.
“So many different sponsors and networks came together to make this big event happen — I think we both should have been here,” Mayweather said after Pacquiao opted out of the “grand arrival” at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Pacquiao instead greeted fans down the street at Mandalay Bay. The several hundred who attended his rally were far outnumbered by the thousands who turned out for Mayweather at the venue that will host the fight.
Most bookmakers have made 38-year-old Mayweather, 47-0 with 26 knockouts, the favorite for a fight that’s certain to be the most lucrative in boxing history.
But 36-year-old Pacquiao told reporters he is revelling in his underdog status as he spoke excitedly about the prospect of finally stepping into the ring to face Mayweather.
“I have something to prove. I like being the underdog because my killer instinct and my focus is there,” added Pacquiao, describing the bout as “one of the most important fights in my boxing legacy.”
Pacquiao’s arrival on a stage in a Mandalay Bay convention center room was preceded by Filipino singers and folk dancers and a bravura performance from an 11-year-old singing prodigy.
A music video featuring Pacquiao performing his latest composition — interweaved with scenes from his ring career and his efforts in such causes as typhoon relief — was followed by a rousing rendition of the Philippine national anthem before Pacquiao appeared in beige jeans and an “MP” T-shirt.
Mayweather’s entrance at the MGM, in contrast, featured all the swagger that his fans love and critics denounce.
A hip-hop master of ceremonies and a glitzy university marching band kept the crowd entertained until Mayweather’s arrival at the MGM in a glistening black van emblazoned with a white “M” logo.
The crowd cheered as the video of the vehicle gliding to the curb played on a giant screen and Mayweather emerged.
Soon he was walking a short red carpet to the stage, pausing for a handful of hugs and selfies.
The brief appearance was done with all the smoothness expected from the highest paid sportsman in the world.
But in remarks to a select group of media after, Mayweather sounded as if he’s going into Saturday’s fight with a chip on his shoulder.
“I think the bar is always set higher for Floyd Mayweather,” he said. “It’s always set a little bit different than everybody else. If I didn’t show up to the grand arrival it would be front page.”
– Record-breaking numbers –
But Mayweather said he didn’t really get caught up in the theatrics of the event — or in the fantastic figures being thrown around as to what the fight will make in gate receipts, pay-per-view, sponsorship and merchandising.
“I’ve broken records before,” he said. “Are we going to do record-breaking numbers again? I believe so.”
That won’t change his mindset entering the bout.
“It’s just work,” said Mayweather, and he’s confident he’ll get the job done.
After a solid training camp, he doesn’t believe Pacquiao, the winner of world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions who owns a record of 57-5 with two drawn, will be the first to put a blemish on his record.
“I truly believe I’m the smarter fighter,” Mayweather said reiterating his oft-expressed belief that Pacquiao’s “reckless” style could land him in trouble.
Certainly he doesn’t believe that a hard-charging start by Pacquiao could be a path to victory for the underdog.
“I think everybody’s game plan is to come forward and throw a lot of punches,” he said of his opponents. “It hasn’t worked for 19 years — 47 fights it hasn’t worked.”