The Ring Masters
The rows are over, tickets have sold out minutes, it's now time to find out who is the best fighter in the world.
Floyd Mayweather Jr Manny Pacquiao
Born: Grand Rapids, Michigan Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines
Record: 47W OL OD 26KOs 57W 5L 2D 38KOs
Total Bouts: 47 64
Alias: Money Pacman
Weight Class: Welterweight Welterweight
Stance: Orthodox Southpaw
Height:8ft 8in 5ft 6in
Height:8ft 8in 5ft 6in
Reach: 72in 67in
Nationality: American Filipino
Date of Birth: February 24, 1977 December 12, 1978
Current belts: WBA welterweight; WBC welterweight WBO Welterweight
Biggest crowd ever for a boxing weigh-in
Las Vegas, Nevada: The boxing world witnessed another record breaking event on Friday afternoon (Saturday morning UAE time) when undefeated American boxing icon Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao hit the scales for their official weigh-in ahead of their mega bout on May 2 (May 3 UAE time) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The pre-fight formality saw the biggest crowd ever for a boxing weigh-in, and when Mayweather and Pacquiao came face-to-face for the cameras, the crowd erupted in wild cheers.
Some 11,500 fans of different nationalities created a festive mood inside the arena.
Many of those inside the venue had to buy tickets sold at $10 (Dh36.73) each, which was also a first for a boxing weigh-in. The money raised will be given to charities the two fighters have chosen.
Based on the fans’ cheers, the underdog Pacquiao was the clear crowd favourite.
Pacquiao hit the scales first, weighing in at 145 pounds (65.8kg), two under the welterweight division limit. While Mayweather hit the 146-pound mark (66.2kg) for the fight that will unify their three welterweight world titles.
After the two boxers weighed-in, Mayweather and Pacquiao came face-to-face for a long staredown as the crowd went wild.
Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) appeared more focused at the weigh-in, while the smiling Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) looked more relaxed and confident.
In an interview right after the weigh-in Mayweather acknowledged his father Floyd Sr. "My frame of mind is to listen to this man right here, my father because without this man I wouldn't be where I am today,” Mayweather said.
"I'm ready. I'm ready to fight. This is an unbelievable turnout. Now it's time to go out there and do what we do best,” he added.
Pacquiao, beaming with a broad smile, gave credit to his fans. "The fans deserve this," said Pacquiao. "This is a great, great responsibility. The fans deserve a good fight. Fans of Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, they deserve a good fight.”
Asked about fighting the bigger Mayweather, Pacquiao said: "I've been fighting bigger guys. It doesn't bother me."
Watch Mayweather’s elbows, veteran ref warns‘Bayless should take note so that Manny doesn’t suffer a cut’
Las Vegas: Respected fight official Joe Cortez on Friday warned referee Kenny Bayless to keep his eye on Floyd Mayweather’s elbows when he clashes with Manny Pacquiao.
Puerto Rico’s Cortez has refereed more than 170 world title fights, four of them involving Mayweather.
He said Bayless will need to be on guard if Mayweather resorts to raising his elbows to make sure Pacquiao doesn’t suffer a cut.
“Floyd is not a dirty fighter by nature,” Cortez said. “But when an opponent begins to get to his head from in front, he will raise his elbows to defend himself.
“Kenny Bayless must be very careful that when Floyd raises his elbow he doesn’t cut Pacquiao and force the bout to be stopped and Mayweather disqualified.
“That would be disastrous,” Cortez noted, in a bout that has garnered worldwide attention.
Visiting the press tent Friday, Cortez was mobbed by reporters wanting his opinion on how the fight would unfold.
The 70-year-old Hall-of-Famer said he remembers the four Mayweather fights he worked well, and thinks the 47-0 American is one of boxing’s best counter-punchers.
“He is clearly one of the best stylists in the ring, with great defense and intelligence. It will not be easy for Manny to solve his style.”
Bayless knows both Mayweather and Pacquiao well. He has refereed seven of the Filipino’s fights - including bouts against Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez - and five Mayweather fights.
Bayless refereed Mayweather’s first professional fight, on October 11, 1996 against Mexico’s Roberto Apodaca.
The 64-year-old has been a professional referee for 24 years, with more than 100 title bouts on his resume.
He’s also a physical education instructor and former boxer.
Although Oscar de la Hoya said Bayless “always favours Mayweather,” Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach was happy with his appointment.
“Bayless is now the best in the business.” Roach said.
Roach also approved the appointment of Burt Clements, Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman as judges.
“I think we have the best judges and Kenny Bayless is the best referee here, and that guarantees a fair fight,” Roach said.
Fight brings moment of unity to Philippines
Life-size 70-kg chocolate cake of the icon on display
Manila: From air-conditioned corporate boardrooms to steamy public gymnasiums, Filipinos are counting down the hours to local boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s fight with undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas.
The world welterweight championship bout, which is being called the “fight of the century”, will bring the country to a standstill on Sunday and mark a rare period of unity for the poor Southeast Asian nation.
“We also expect Maoist rebels and extremists to watch the Pacquaio-Mayweather fight,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Cabunoc, army spokesman, adding that wide television screens will be set up in all military camps, including conflict areas.
“Filipinos are all united behind our own hero. We are all rooting for Manny. We expect a very peaceful day, no crime, no fighting.” Pacquiao is a lieutenant colonel in the army reserve force.
A life-size Pacquiao 70-kg chocolate cake, which took two weeks to make, went on display on Saturday in Manila and slices will be given away after the bout.
Cinemas and restaurants have sold out tickets for the fight, and even prisoners at Saranggani jail will have the chance to watch the fight.
Taxi driver Manolo Garcia said he would stop for a few hours to listen to his radio.
“Win or lose, I am for Manny Pacquiao,” he said. “I will pray for him, I will pray for his victory. God is on his side.” Local boxing analysts say the pressure is on Mayweather, who is seeking to preserve his unblemished professional record.
More than 86 million punches have been thrown at a virtual punching bag set up three weeks ago by the Philippines’ largest broadcast network, ABS-CBN, to support eight-division champion Pacquiao.
Electricity distributor Manila Electric Company assured its customers there would be no power outage on fight day, but power generators on the southern island of Mindanao may not meet the surge in electricity demand.
“We want to avoid a revolt here, we have prepared for that,” said Maria Cora Tito, tourism officer of General Santos City, showing Reuters a standby generator.
A rematch of the two looks unlikely for now
Mayweather Sr feels fight will “not require” a re-match
Las Vegas: The ink was barely dry on the contracts signed by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao when the question first came up.
What’s to prevent the two best fighters in the world from doing it again?
Plenty, though the amount of money put on a draw in this city’s legal sports books is proof that conspiracy theorists are alive and well in boxing. A draw would almost guarantee a rematch in any other big fight, though this one would be far more complicated.
Putting together the richest fight ever took five years and still wouldn’t have happened except for a chance meeting at a Miami Heat basketball game and an intervention by CBS head honcho Les Moonves.
Doing a rematch could be just as difficult, if even more.
“A rematch is so down the road,” Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said. “And the idea I’d have to deal with these people again is one I don’t want to think about.”
The Mayweather camp demanded that there would be no rematch clause in the contract for this fight, and with the battles both sides fought over tickets and other details, there is little appetite - at least now - to do it again.
That could change if Saturday night’s bout offers compelling action, or if Mayweather suffers the first loss of his career.
That’s the scenario heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder came up with when he envisioned how the fight would go.
“If this fight becomes a close fight, a good fight, I think the decision will go to Manny,” Wilder said. “You’ve got to keep in mind that the rematch is more money. They’re making hella money now, but the rematch is more money, or even a draw of a good fight is more money.”
Boxing history is littered with rematches, some more successful than others. What they generally have in common, though, is that the first fight was good enough to keep fans wanting more.
That’s what happened when Evander Holyfield shocked everyone by stopping Mike Tyson in the 11th round of their November 1996 fight which, like this fight, was at the MGM Grand arena. The two met again seven months later in the infamous Bite Fight that disappointed at the time but will always live in boxing lore for the wrong reasons.
Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns fought one of the epic fights ever in 1981, with Leonard stopping Hearns in the 13th round of a fight that had a bit of everything. But it took eight years for the two to meet again, and when they did the two fighters were both well beyond their prime.
And there are a number of trilogies in the sport that get old-time boxing fans talking about great fights of the past. At the top of that list would be the three battles Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had in the 1970s, the final one being the Thrilla in Manilla.
There is some history with both fighters in rematches. Mayweather fought back-to-back fights with Jose Luis Castillo in 2002, and had a second fight with Marcos Maidana last year, though it didn’t sell well.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, had three fights with Erik Morales and four with Juan Manuel Marquez. But despite Marquez knocking him out in their last fight in 2012, they haven’t fought for a fifth time.
Mayweather’s father, who trains his son, thinks fans should enjoy this fight, because they won’t get another one.
“What’s going to happen will not require a rematch,” Floyd Sr. said. “Trust me.”
Gulf News file
Dubai-based Filipino expatriates send good luck wishes to Manny Pacquiao
Filipino expatriates in Dubai convey their warm wishes to Manny Pacquiao ahead of his fight on May 2
Ocsar de la Hoya: Mayweather vs Pacquiao referee will favour American
Boxer who lost to both American and Pacquiao says official Bayless will be biased towards 'home' boxer
Dubai: Manny Pacquiao will be up against two men in the ring on May 2 not just one, that’s according to Oscar de la Hoya who has questioned the appointment of referee Kenny Bayless for the richest fight in boxing history.
De la Hoya lost to Floyd Mayweather Junior on split decision in Las Vegas in 2007 and still holds a grudge against Bayless who refereed that fight. Now he suggests Pacquiao – who he also lost against in 2008 - could suffer a similar fate in the $200 million (Dh734 million) mega fight.
“History shows that Kenny Bayless protects Mayweather, Pacquiao is now up against two guys in the ring instead of one, so I would have to say Pacquiao is already one point behind and the fight hasn’t even started,” said De la Hoya, who is in Dubai playing in the Icons Cup all-star charity golf tournament at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club this week.
“It’s surprising to me given the history but you know, hey, it’s Vegas and it’s Mayweather’s hometown and they are obviously going to do what’s best for him,” added the Mexican American who won 39 out of 45 fights, 30 by knock-out between 1992 and 2008.
Despite concerns of favouritism De La Hoya hasn’t ruled out a Pacquiao surprise.
“My head goes with Mayweather and my heart goes with Pacquiao,” he added. “I just think it’s going to be a great fight, I really don’t know who is going to win but I do give Pacquiao a good shot at surprising Mayweather.
“We’re going to see Mayweather do the same thing he does in every fight, which is box and win the rounds one at a time. I don’t see Mayweather trying to knock out Pacquiao but I can see Pacquiao trying to knock out Mayweather. In this sport one punch can change everything and I think I’m going to have to give Pacquiao the advantage.”
Having been at the receiving end of punches from both fighters, De la Hoya added: “Pacquiao has the hardest punch. Pacquiao has the power to hurt Mayweather but Mayweather doesn’t have the power to hurt Pacquiao.
“Pacquiao is aggressive and Mayweather is a pure boxer who just wants to win on points, given my experience inside the ring with both of them, it’s just one of those close fights to call. And we all know what happens when there are close fights in Vegas, obviously Mayweather always gets them.”