PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

Hours before the fight, May 2, 4:00pm: 'PUNCH LIKE SAMSON, HIT LIKE DAVID, IN JESUS' NAME!'


FAMILY OF WORLD BOXING Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, and their brood (from top): Michael, Israel, Jimwell, Princess and Queenie. MACY PINEDA/CONTRIBUTOR
 Cheers, prayers and unsolicited advice—the kind Filipinos often give family and strangers alike—have swamped the social media accounts of boxer Manny Pacquiao and wife Jinkee ahead of the much-awaited “Fight of the Century.”  Pacquiao has more than 10 million followers on social media: Facebook (7 million), Twitter (2 million) and Instagram (1.5 million). There are also Team Pacquiao and Pacquiao the Movie on Facebook which also support him. His wife, who is also the vice governor of Sarangani province, which Pacquiao represents in Congress, has almost 200,000 followers on Instagram. Her daily photo posts of the family going about its daily routine—dining, shopping and just chilling at home—offer glimpses of the boxing champ as husband and father.  The latest posts reflect the Filipinos’ strong religious faith on which rest their hopes of a Pacquiao win. “Be calm … trust the Lord,” one post advised the champ. READ MORE...

ALSO: Arum says you'll see the best Pacquiao ever


MAKING THE WEIGHT. Undefeated American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao pose after tipping the scales during the official weigh-in held on Friday (Saturday in Manila), at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather and Pacquiao face each other today in the much-awaited clash dubbed as the “Fight of the Century,” for the unified welterweight crown. AFP 
TOP Rank promoter Bob Arum believes fights fans will see the best Manny Pacquiao ever even as he joined his prized possession and celebrated trainer Freddie Roach in expressing supreme confidence so much so that they don’t see any escape for undefeated pound for pound No.1 Floyd Mayweather Jr.
A smiling, supremely relaxed and confident Pacquiao, his spirits lifted by the thunderous cheers he received from fans at a jampacked MGM Grand at the official weigh-in today where Mayweather was often booed, tipped the scales at 145 pounds while Mayweather came in one pound heavier. Arum told The Standard that Pacquiao was “in great, great shape and I have never seen him before as relaxed as he is now and supremely confident. Freddie and Manny are not just blowing smoke, they have a game plan on how they are going to attack Mayweather and win the fight.”  The astute promoter who handled Mayweather for ten years said he knows Floyd struggles with southpaws but he has “never faced the hardest punching southpaw in Pacquuao.” READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Filipinos all united, rooting for Pacquiao’


Filipinos in UK: Entertainment fan night for Pacquiao in Las Vegas (DailyMail UK) 
The Filipino people are all united behind boxing icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao as he faces undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas on Sunday (Philippine time), Malacañang said on Saturday.
In a radio interview, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said that Filipinos are all rooting for Pacquiao and want to see him prevail. “Of course, what we all wanted to see tomorrow is the victory of our ‘National Fist (Pambansang Kamao),” Valte told government run dzRB radio in Filipino. The Palace official said that regardless of the outcome, Filipinos will not lose their respect and support for the Filipino boxing champion. “What we wanted to tell Congressman Manny Pacquiao is that whatever will be the outcome after the fight, the Filipino people will continue to support him,” she said. Meanwhile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said win or lose, Pacquiao has already created a legacy in boxing. READ MORE...

ALSO: Entire RP behind Pacquiao today


Pacquiao is also a military reservist with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserve Force of the Philippine Army
Photo from philippine-evolution.com
Las Vegas throbbed with anticipation yesterday with less than 24 hours to go until Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather enter the ring for their long-awaited showdown that has captivated sports fans around the world. The bout, more than five years in the making, has transcended the traditional boxing scene, catapulting the sport back into the public consciousness in a way that hasn’t been seen for decades.
“Sin City” was buzzing ahead of the welterweight world title showdown — a crowd of 11,500 turned out for Friday’s weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The same venue will host today’s bout, which seems to be a lock to become the most lucrative fight of all time. Total revenue could reach $400 million, fueled by as many as three million pay-per-view purchases. The record for pay-per-view buys is just under 2.5 million, and there have been fewer than 25 fights that have exceeded one million.
Add to that live crowd revenue of more than $70 million, closed circuit television revenues, sponsorship and merchandising and it could all add up to a possible $200 million payday for Mayweather, and a $100 million bonanza for Pacquiao.

The breathtaking figures have intensified the spotlight on a fight between two of the greatest fighters of their generation. In Las Vegas, tourism officials said occupancy for the city’s 150,000 hotel rooms would approach 100 percent. Casinos were advertising red-carpet events hosted by hip-hop stars such as Puff Daddy and Snoop Dogg and pop star Justin Bieber — a Mayweather fan and friend. Even if it doesn’t measure up to Mayweather’s claim of the “biggest fight in boxing history,” it’s an intriguing clash of styles between men of contrasting personalities. Pacquiao, an icon in the Philippines, is a two-term congressman with a music and film career. He credits the grace of God for lifting him from poverty in his youth and later guiding him away from a life of excess that his ring success made possible. “Pacman” will go into the ring with all of the Philippines in his corner.READ  MORE///

ALSO Pinoys roar: We’re ready to rumble


Residents of Parola in Tondo show their tickets to the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight distributed by the local government of Manila yesterday. ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO
LAS VEGAS – People’s champion Manny Pacquiao knows that the presence of God and the prayers of an entire nation are with him as he wages the biggest battle of his career against undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. Saturday here (Sunday noon in the Philippines). The overly hyped Fight of the Century will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena before an expected record crowd of 17,000 fans – and millions more around the world – for the biggest, richest fight in boxing history that has a $400-million price tag. The fight will surely unite the 100 million Filipinos, led by President Aquino, who expressed confidence that Pacquiao would do his countrymen proud. Everything is at stake in the megabuck fight where Mayweather stands to earn as much as $180 million and Pacquiao $120 million. Mayweather, now 38 and 47-0 inside the ring, will defend his WBC and WBA welterweight titles while Pacquiao, 36 and with a record of 57-5-2, puts his WBO crown on the line. The winner becomes the undisputed welterweight champion. But there’s more to the fight than those shining belts, including the one encrusted with emeralds that reportedly costs $1 million – the reputation as the best boxer of this generation and pound-for-pound king. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Punch like Samson, hit like David, in Jesus’ name’


FAMILY OF WORLD BOXING Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, and their brood (from top): Michael, Israel, Jimwell, Princess and Queenie. MACY PINEDA/CONTRIBUTOR

LAS VEGAS, MAY 4, 2015 (INQUIRER) Inquirer Social Media @inquirerdotnet - Cheers, prayers and unsolicited advice—the kind Filipinos often give family and strangers alike—have swamped the social media accounts of boxer Manny Pacquiao and wife Jinkee ahead of the much-awaited “Fight of the Century.”

Pacquiao has more than 10 million followers on social media: Facebook (7 million), Twitter (2 million) and Instagram (1.5 million). There are also Team Pacquiao and Pacquiao the Movie on Facebook which also support him.

His wife, who is also the vice governor of Sarangani province, which Pacquiao represents in Congress, has almost 200,000 followers on Instagram. Her daily photo posts of the family going about its daily routine—dining, shopping and just chilling at home—offer glimpses of the boxing champ as husband and father.

The latest posts reflect the Filipinos’ strong religious faith on which rest their hopes of a Pacquiao win.

“Be calm … trust the Lord,” one post advised the champ.

READ MORE...
“May the Lord fill ur punches like the strength of Samson and give u precision to hit your opponents weak point like the precision given to David to hit Goliath in the forehead in Jesus name,” another fervently wished for.

“God bless you Manny, the virtuous man will always win no matter what,” said agun11.

Bible verses

Bible verses were among the regular posts from netizens, probably a takeoff from the religious verses that Pacquiao himself quotes generously in conversations as well as on social media.

Netizen gregg_roby advised Pacquiao to reflect on 1 Corinthians 16:13: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

Netizen judypicks2015 offered another Biblical verse: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 KJV Bible.”

Posted nelssy78: “@jinkeepacquiao let’s pray hard and strong for ur lovely husband and our best fighter @mannypacquiao I’m fasting all this week for his victory. We all know mayweather fights dirty. He chose to fight in Vegas because he knows if it goes for a decision he wins… Let’s not forget that he controls Vegas.”

Netizen prtty_brittany said: “You got this !!! I’m going to Keep you in My Prayers !! your awesome! @mannypacquiao”

As if to sum up the nation’s sentiment, netizen joydemapanes posted: “Go! go! go! God bless u on ur big day and pipol of the philippines manny! bring the phil flag home with proud and glory! Mabuhay ang Pilipino!”

Jinkee’s fashion sense

Others were more secular. “Plz beat Mayweather, just give him a knockout!” one netizen pleaded, while another focused on Jinkee Pacquiao’s fashion sense: “Don’t forget to bring your crocodile Berkin. Wag magpatalo sa kabit ni Mayweather (Don’t let Mayweather’s mistress outshine you).”

That fashion sense has been publicly chronicled on Jinkee’s Instagram account, which is also replete with photographs of the Pacquiao’s growing brood—Jimuel, Michael, Queenie, Princess and the youngest, 1-year-old Israel. A photo of the children with Mommy Dionesia, aka PacMom, is also posted.

“I am happy coz my kids know now the childhood of Manny indeed from nothing into something. God is soooo good!” she posted after watching a private screening of Pacquiao’s biofilm in Los Angeles.

While her followers usually offer Jinkee their unabashed comments and opinions, it was this morning’s Battle for Greatness between Pacquiao and Mayweather that have kept netizens busy these past days.

‘Be smart’

“Manny reminder lang ha don’t rush be smart. Remember what happened to you during the Marquez fight. Kaya mo si Mayweather. (You can beat Mayweather). God bless and good luck,” netizen wankerka commented on Instagram.

‘Love that your so humble. Knock some sense into Mayweather. He needs it,” another netizen posted.

“I just pray you ain’t a sellout like the rest of these boxers. Cause it would be a shame #Hope#God#ThatsAllYouNeed” netizen 1xwoody said on Instagram.

#GoPacGo you can do it!!! Hand the #MoneyMan his first taste of defeat!!!” netizen @Detrocker2264 tweeted.

“Thanks Manny for your inspiration to start my own art page. When you win I will paint another! I call this one, ‘Hands, Heart & Mind,’” netizen Space Ginger said of the man who inspired him to follow his dream

Not to be outdone, netizen GeoffArsenal made an ardent appeal: “Can you leave the tickets in the name of Geoff Arsenal please Manny. Thanks again.” With reports from Ramon Royandoyan and Paul Vincent Balois

To get updates on the Fight of the Century from the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Inquirer.net, check out the hashtags #PacMay, #LabanManny and #Inquirer in social media. You can also tweet using those hashtags to show support for Manny Pacquiao.

READ: In photos: Manny Pacquiao spends Sunday with family

Eat your hearts out: Dionisia Pacquiao’s lover is 40 years old


MANILA STANDARD

Arum says you'll see the best Pacquiao ever By Ronnie Nathanielsz | May. 03, 2015 at 12:01am


MAKING THE WEIGHT. Undefeated American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao pose after tipping the scales during the official weigh-in held on Friday (Saturday in Manila), at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather and Pacquiao face each other today in the much-awaited clash dubbed as the “Fight of the Century,” for the unified welterweight crown. AFP

TOP Rank promoter Bob Arum believes fights fans will see the best Manny Pacquiao ever even as he joined his prized possession and celebrated trainer Freddie Roach in expressing supreme confidence so much so that they don’t see any escape for undefeated pound for pound No.1 Floyd Mayweather Jr.

A smiling, supremely relaxed and confident Pacquiao, his spirits lifted by the thunderous cheers he received from fans at a jampacked MGM Grand at the official weigh-in today where Mayweather was often booed, tipped the scales at 145 pounds while Mayweather came in one pound heavier.

Arum told The Standard that Pacquiao was “in great, great shape and I have never seen him before as relaxed as he is now and supremely confident. Freddie and Manny are not just blowing smoke, they have a game plan on how they are going to attack Mayweather and win the fight.”

The astute promoter who handled Mayweather for ten years said he knows Floyd struggles with southpaws but he has “never faced the hardest punching southpaw in Pacquuao.”

READ MORE...
He noted that Pacquiao at the weigh in was “a smiling, happy person who looked like he is going to a party. He feels no pressure. “He has used his spirituality to alleviate him from any pressure. His spirituality has taken over Manny’s life and has made him not only a better person but a better athlete.”

Arum, who had the opportunity to watch Pacquiao train more than ever before because he now has a house in Los Angeles said “he (Pacquiao) looks faster now than I have ever seen him and he’s punching harder than before.”

The Top Rank promoter said “this fight has elevated him to a new plateau nd you may see the best Manny Pacquiao ever. I really don’t see any escape for Mayweather, that’s why its been six years to make the fight. The truth is Manny always wanted to do this fight but Floyd came up with all sorts of excuses, “ as he pointed out that when it comes to boxing he is avery smarty guy although he may “not be so smart when it comes to how he spends his money or how he talks.”

At the same time, Arum pointed out that “Manny is not stupid when it comes to boxing and while Mayweather is a great tactician the fight will be determined by who is better.

“I don’t think Floyd has the answer to Manny for the way he is going to attack.”


MANILA TIMES

‘Filipinos all united, rooting for Pacquiao’ May 3, 2015 1:33 am by CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND Llanesca T. Panti REPORTERS


Filipinos in UK: Entertainment fan night for Pacquiao in Las Vegas (DailyMail UK)

The Filipino people are all united behind boxing icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao as he faces undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas on Sunday (Philippine time), Malacañang said on Saturday.

In a radio interview, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said that Filipinos are all rooting for Pacquiao and want to see him prevail.

“Of course, what we all wanted to see tomorrow is the victory of our ‘National Fist (Pambansang Kamao),” Valte told government run dzRB radio in Filipino.

The Palace official said that regardless of the outcome, Filipinos will not lose their respect and support for the Filipino boxing champion.

“What we wanted to tell Congressman Manny Pacquiao is that whatever will be the outcome after the fight, the Filipino people will continue to support him,” she said.

Meanwhile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said win or lose, Pacquiao has already created a legacy in boxing.

READ MORE...
“Win or lose, Manny has already brought tremendous global honor and respect to the Philippines. Manny’s feat has not only created a legacy in the history of boxing but his rags-to-riches story likewise inspires our youth that be determined and work hard to succeed,” Belmonte said.

“We wish Manny the very best and throw our full support behind our Pambansang Kamao as he endeavors to bring pride to our nation once again. Mabuhay ka, Manny at nawa’y pagpalain kang muli [Long live, Manny and may you be blessed again],” he added.

In a rare common cause, both rebels and soldiers in conflict areas in Mindanao will watch Pacquiao take on Mayweather, with hopes that Sunday’s mega-bout will bring a brief respite from violence.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the military will have separate free viewings of the Las Vegas clash. The Philippines has been known to come to a standstill during its boxing hero’s fights, with criminals and guerrillas of various stripes eagerly following his matches.

The MILF will watch the fight on a widescreen TV at a compound in Maguindanao, said MILF vice-chairman Ghadzali Jaafar.

“They asked me if they could show it outside my office. I told them okay, I see no problem with that,” Jaafar told Agence France-Presse.

He said both MILF members and non-members were free to watch.

When asked whether he expects that there will be no trouble during the fight, he said: “We pray for that. That is our hope.”

Regional military spokeswoman Capt. Joan Petinglay confirmed that the military forces in Maguindanao will also have their own showing of the fight in a gymnasium on Sunday. With AFP and MOH SAADUDDIN, Correspondent


TRIBUNE

Entire RP behind Pacquiao today Written by Charlie V. Manalo Sunday, 03 May 2015 00:00


Pacquiao is also a military reservist with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserve Force of the Philippine Army Photo from philippine-evolution.com

Las Vegas throbbed with anticipation yesterday with less than 24 hours to go until Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather enter the ring for their long-awaited showdown that has captivated sports fans around the world.

The bout, more than five years in the making, has transcended the traditional boxing scene, catapulting the sport back into the public consciousness in a way that hasn’t been seen for decades.

“Sin City” was buzzing ahead of the welterweight world title showdown — a crowd of 11,500 turned out for Friday’s weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The same venue will host today’s bout, which seems to be a lock to become the most lucrative fight of all time.

Total revenue could reach $400 million, fueled by as many as three million pay-per-view purchases.

The record for pay-per-view buys is just under 2.5 million, and there have been fewer than 25 fights that have exceeded one million.

Add to that live crowd revenue of more than $70 million, closed circuit television revenues, sponsorship and merchandising and it could all add up to a possible $200 million payday for Mayweather, and a $100 million bonanza for Pacquiao.

The breathtaking figures have intensified the spotlight on a fight between two of the greatest fighters of their generation.

In Las Vegas, tourism officials said occupancy for the city’s 150,000 hotel rooms would approach 100 percent.

Casinos were advertising red-carpet events hosted by hip-hop stars such as Puff Daddy and Snoop Dogg and pop star Justin Bieber — a Mayweather fan and friend.

Even if it doesn’t measure up to Mayweather’s claim of the “biggest fight in boxing history,” it’s an intriguing clash of styles between men of contrasting personalities.

Pacquiao, an icon in the Philippines, is a two-term congressman with a music and film career.
He credits the grace of God for lifting him from poverty in his youth and later guiding him away from a life of excess that his ring success made possible.

“Pacman” will go into the ring with all of the Philippines in his corner.

READ MORE...
Streets will be empty on fight day as the nation of 100 million cheers its “National Fist.”

Mayweather, meanwhile, touts his status as a money-making machine and comes from a troubled past that includes jail time for one of a string of domestic violence incidents.

Mayweather, 47-0 with 26 knockouts, is a 2-1 favorite to add Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization world title to his own World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council belts.
While more money is on Mayweather, more bettors were backing Pacquiao.

“Public opinion is definitely Manny Pacquiao,” said Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports books for MGM Resorts International.

Maybe so, but boxing opinion still gives the edge to Mayweather, most likely by 12-round decision.

The 38-year-old American is a supremely skilled boxer and potentially devastating counter-puncher, famed for his ability to hit without being hit.

Pacquiao who weighed in a pound lighter than Mayweather, will be in the unenviable position of the smaller fighter, taking more of the risks.

The aggressive southpaw, who owns a record of 57-5-2 with 38 knockouts, says he is content in his underdog role.

A winner of world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, Pacquiao noted that he’s beaten plenty of big foes, among them Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.

“No one thought I could beat Oscar, and I was the underdog then,” said Pacquiao, who moved up 12 pounds in weight to batter the “Golden Boy” in a fight that sent him into retirement.

“Maybe it’s good for me,” Pacquiao said.

Once each had stepped off the sale on Friday, Mayweather and Pacquiao came eye-to-eye for a stare down — just their third face-to-face meeting since the bout was announced in February.

Their next will come today when they step into the ring.

“I’ve dedicated myself to the sport of boxing for more than 20 years,” Mayweather said Friday.
 “I’m ready.”

Pacquiao will win—solons

Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s colleagues in the House of Representatives rallied behind expressing confidence about his victory against Mayweather.

The much-awaited fight once again unites Filipinos here and abroad in praying for the safe and convincing victory of Pacquiao whose key assets include his speed, stamina, power, ring intelligence, rigid training and resoluteness, among others, according to the lawmakers.

Deputy Speaker and Isabela Fourth District Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said once again the gentleman from Sarangani honors the country in this fight for the ages.

“I wish Manny speed and strength, and luck. And however this fight may come out, I hope Filipinos would remain united and proud,” said Aggabao.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo “Rodito” Albano III, a member of the 12-man House contingent to the Commission on Appointments, said there is no doubt that Pacquiao will emerge as the winner because of his rigid training, speed, power and indomitable spirit to prevail over any challenge.

“We, the Filipino people, will always be behind you, Manny. You have all the qualities and endowments of a true champion. Remain humble and magnanimous in victory or in defeat,” said Albano.

House Deputy Speaker and Nueva Vizcaya Lone District Rep. Carlos Padilla said the country would be united in rooting and praying for the safe and convincing win of Pacquiao as they have done in the past.|

“We are praying not only for the victory but also the safety of our Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao. May the Lord protect him during the entire duration of the highly- anticipated megafight,” said Padilla.

Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia likewise wished Pacquiao well and assured his fellow Visayan of her all-out support.

“My sincerest prayers and wishes for a decisive victory for Manny and the entire Filipino nation. Mabuhay!,” said Garcia, a vice chairperson of the Committee on Basic Education and Culture.


PHILSTAR

Pinoys roar: We’re ready to rumble By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 3, 2015 - 12:00am


Residents of Parola in Tondo show their tickets to the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight distributed by the local government of Manila yesterday. ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO

LAS VEGAS – People’s champion Manny Pacquiao knows that the presence of God and the prayers of an entire nation are with him as he wages the biggest battle of his career against undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. Saturday here (Sunday noon in the Philippines).

The overly hyped Fight of the Century will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena before an expected record crowd of 17,000 fans – and millions more around the world – for the biggest, richest fight in boxing history that has a $400-million price tag.

The fight will surely unite the 100 million Filipinos, led by President Aquino, who expressed confidence that Pacquiao would do his countrymen proud.

Everything is at stake in the megabuck fight where Mayweather stands to earn as much as $180 million and Pacquiao $120 million.

Mayweather, now 38 and 47-0 inside the ring, will defend his WBC and WBA welterweight titles while Pacquiao, 36 and with a record of 57-5-2, puts his WBO crown on the line.

The winner becomes the undisputed welterweight champion.

But there’s more to the fight than those shining belts, including the one encrusted with emeralds that reportedly costs $1 million – the reputation as the best boxer of this generation and pound-for-pound king.

READ MORE...
Both fighters easily made the weight before 11,500 boisterous fans who paid their way to the Grand Garden Arena Friday with Pacquiao, who was introduced first, stepping on the scale at 145 pounds or two pounds under the welterweight limit.

After he made weight, in his blue trunks, Pacquiao flexed his muscles. He was in his best shape. Then he raised both hands and faced the crowd.

Then Mayweather, head bowed as he was booed on his way to the stage, weighed in at 146. He flashed the No. 1 sign with his right hand across his chest.

The customary staredown followed, and the biggest crowd ever to pay for and witness a weigh-in went wild. The weigh-in was like fight night.

Pacquiao, smaller by an inch or two, had to look up Mayweather’s face. He wore a confident smile. Mayweather did not smile back.

Speaking to Max Kellerman of HBO, Pacquiao said he doesn’t mind if Mayweather stood taller than him because he’s been in similar situations in the past.

“I’m used to fighting bigger guys like (Antonio) Margarito and (Oscar) dela Hoya. It doesn’t matter to me. The Lord is always with me,” said Pacquiao.

As his fans roared, Pacquiao told Kellerman that this fight is for the fans.

“I know it’s a great responsibility for me to give enjoyment to the fans. But the fans deserve a good fight. If you’re a fan of Mayweather or a fan of Pacquiao, you deserve a good fight,” Pacquiao said.

Mayweather also spoke before the huge crowd that included past champions like Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard.

“I’m ready to fight. Now is the time to go out there and do what we do best,” said the sport’s best defensive fighter.

It was only the fourth time they came face to face.

The first was in Miami where the fight was sealed, then in a Hollywood press conference two months ago and in Wednesday’s final press conference at the MGM.

In all these meetings, the two boxers were cordial to each other, even if they barely spoke.

Saturday evening they will meet again – inside the ring. This time, punches will be thrown. Each will try to knock the other out.

Pacquiao whispered something to Mayweather as they stood in front of each other.

“I said thank you,” said Pacquiao. “I thanked him for making this fight possible.”

Mayweather said he didn’t exactly hear what Pacquiao said so he did not respond.

The Filipino congressman came to fight and he’s hoping that Mayweather would cooperate.

“If he fights, then it’s good. If he runs, then we’re ready for that,” Pacquiao said.

On the eve of the fight, the 11-time world champion in five weight classes remained the favorite at minus 200. Pacquiao was at plus 170.

“I just need to be smart,” said Mayweather.

Fans are hoping, however, that being smart does not mean running away from the action and just trying to steal rounds one after the other.

Mayweather was asked if he expects Pacquiao to be reckless during the fight.

“I can’t really say,” he replied.

They sold tickets to the weigh-in and thousands bought them even for a higher price, with proceeds going to charities chosen by the two fighters.

The crowd had warmed their seats when Pacquiao and Mayweather were introduced. It was a long walk from their holding area to the stage.

Unbelievably, Pacquiao fans outnumbered Mayweather fans. They were definitely louder, to say the least. Pacquiao greeted them with a smile as he walked in a blanket of security men.

When Showtime ring announcer Jimmy Lennon called Mayweather in, Pacquiao was taking selfies with his team members on stage.

Now and then, he faced the fans, raising his fists and flashing the victory sign.

Mayweather got up the stage, subdued as he had been the past days.

It was not the Mayweather everybody knew.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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