LAS VEGAS (April 28, 2015) – The countdown to Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao continued today as both fighters held individual Grand Arrivals with Mayweather arriving at MGM Grand and Pacquiao at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
In a long-awaited collision of boxing superstars taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Saturday, May 2, undefeated pound for pound king and 11-time world champion Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) meets eight-division world champion and Filipino legend Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) in a welterweight world championship unification bout in the main event of a three-fight pay-per-view telecast co-produced and co-distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View® and SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
Late Tuesday morning, Pacquiao hosted his grand arrival inside a Mandalay Bay ballroom that included a large gathering of loyal followers who watched Filipino singers and dancers perform before Pacquiao came out to greet and speak to his fans.
A couple of hours later, thousands of fans turned out to watch a prompt Mayweather arrival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as he was led to the stage by the Southern University Marching Band.
Here is what the fighters and executives said in Las Vegas on Tuesday:
“I don’t have anything negative to say about Manny Pacquiao or Freddie Roach. People from different teams can say things, but when it comes down to it, it comes down to the two fighters.
“I don’t focus on all the festivities going on. I just focus on being the best that I can be and doing what I’m supposed to do in the gym.
“I don’t ever say that ‘this is my toughest fight’ or ‘this is my easiest’ fight. I feel like he is a competitor and anything can happen in the sport of boxing. I always want to go out there and be at my best.
“I’ve broken records before. Are we going to do record-breaking numbers again? Absolutely.
“One thing everybody plans for is to come forward and throw a lot of punches. They think it works, but it hasn’t worked in 19 years. If that’s his game plan, then we’ll just have to see how everything breaks down.
“Pacquiao would be a better fighter if he wasn’t so reckless. It’s a gift and a curse. He’s won a lot of fights by being reckless. But also being reckless can get you knocked out. Getting knocked out in a harsh way can affect you in the long run.
“People have criticized me for being a defensive fighter, but last night when I was at home sitting with my mother and my daughter, I thought to myself ‘I’m proud of myself.’ To be in a sport for 19 years, the main thing is I’m going to get out of the sport and still have a sharp mind.
“I don’t think one fight defines my career. All 47 fights played a major key. The bar is always set high for Floyd Mayweather. I think if we turn the table and if I had gotten knocked out by Marquez this fight would have never happened.
“I’m glad I was flashy and outspoken when I was younger. But I’m close to the big 4-0. I don’t have to bash anyone. I know what I can do.
“Today I was thinking about how thankful I am for my fans. I’m so thankful for my fans. Every day when I’m training at the gym, there’s 200 or 300 fans waiting out there for me.
“Saturday, before and after the fight, I will still be The Best Ever. One fight doesn’t define my career. The great thing about my career is that I’m a smart businessman. A 19-year career with no punishment on the body, that’s what we should talk about.”
“What we are doing in training is very good because we’re not focusing on one strategy. We’re working on two or three strategies. Either way, if he wants to fight me that’s good for me and if he wants to move around the ring I’m ready for that.
“I cannot say he is the most dangerous opponent of my career because I have not faced him. I have faced Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez and other great boxers.
“My confidence right now is different than any other fight I’ve had. I feel excited and I have to prove something. I like being the underdog, because my killer instinct and my focus are there.
“I’m different than the first 47 he fought. I’m faster than them and I’m very confident for the fight. This is the moment that I believe he will experience a loss.
“I think we can win a decision. I always trust the commission, the judges and the officials. Our focus is not just on looking for a knockout but throwing a lot of punches in case it comes to a decision.
“I have not changed in my body in the last five years. I think the changes are that I have more experience now, better strategy and smarter movement. The speed and power has not changed.
“Thank you to all the media here. You are a part of what we accomplish in boxing. Without you who would know us? Without you who knows boxing? You have helped boxing and I thank you so much for the support.
“This is one of the most important fights for my boxing legacy. I want to make this fight a good result for my legacy. I want to win, that is my goal.
“I believe this is the right time for us to be fighting. More people are informed for this fight than ever before. People who aren’t even boxing fans are interested in this fight.
“When I started fighting in America in 2001, no one knew who I was. Now, everyone knows Manny Pacquiao. A lot has changed since 2001.
“I am not only working for myself, but I work to help other people and to be an inspiration.
“I am very grateful for the overwhelming support of the fans for this fight.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO, Mayweather Promotions
“The turning point for the fight being made was when Floyd Mayweather met Manny Pacquiao and looked him in his eyes and said ‘I want to fight you.’ ”
BOB ARUM, Hall of Fame Promoter, Top Rank
“All the fighters I’ve worked with are different. I must say that I’ve never worked with a fighter like Manny Pacquiao. Somebody who is so intensly dedicated to doing good for people, to making a difference in his country and to making life better for those less fortunate than he is. Manny Pacquiao really is somebody that I admire tremendously for everything he does outside of the ring.”
FREDDIE ROACH, Pacquiao’s Trainer
“Floyd’s never fought anyone with better speed than he has and I believe we have better speed. I believe we have better power than he has and we’re using that. I don’t think Floyd’s legs are there anymore and he can’t run for 12 rounds because we will catch him on the way. We’re ready to go 12 hard rounds and that’s what we train for.
“I learned a lot from Floyd’s fight with Oscar De La Hoya. I thought he won the first six rounds and then lost track of the strategy. We learned a lot about how Floyd sets traps and Manny recognizes how he sets trap. He won’t fall into it ever and Manny knows exactly what to do in every situation.
“I think we can win a decision. We can outpoint him no problem.
“Manny is definitely ready for this fight, we’ve had a great strategy. We’ve actually really worked on this fight together.
“Manny took me into his room many times to dissect tape on Mayweather and how he fights against certain people. This is the first time he has ever asked me to watch film with him. I liked what he showed me on the tape and I think that we’re perfect for this fight.
“From the first day this fight was announced, I’ve seen a different attitude in Manny. He has really taken his training to a new level. He is very motivated and I love what I see every day.”
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Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is a 12-round welterweight world championship unification bout promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank Inc., and is sponsored by Tecate con caracter, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions -Terminator Genisys, in theaters July 1st, Paramount Pictures & Skydance Productions present MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, in theaters & IMAX July 31st, The Weinstein Company and the new movie Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, in theaters everywhere July 24 and Mexico, Live it to Believe it. The pay-per-view telecast will be co-produced and co-distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View® and SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
Photo: Will Hart/HBO