Manny Pacquiao thanks Floyd Mayweather Jr. at weigh-in
Manny Pacquiao sat in his hotel suite Friday, popped a couple of the chocolate peanut butter snacks he’s endorsing in his mouth and was driven across the Las Vegas Strip.
There, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he weighed in at 145 pounds for his showdown against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday night.
Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) weighed 146 pounds, one pound below the limit for the long-awaited welterweight title unification bout that has tripled boxing’s live-gate record and should became the most lucrative pay-per-view event in history.
“This is a great responsibility for me,” said Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs). “Tomorrow, the fans — whether you’re a fan of Mayweather or a fan of Manny Pacquiao — you deserve to have a good fight.”
Pacquiao’s and Mayweather’s faceoff went smoothly, with Pacquiao smiling at his foe and telling him, “Thank you.”
Pacquiao, long frustrated by failed efforts since 2009 to make the fight between the world’s top two boxers, said he thanked Mayweather “from the fans, that the fight is happening.”
“I don’t know what he exactly said,” a serious Mayweather told Jim Gray on the stage. “My thing is to focus on what I need to do tomorrow.”
Asked by Max Kellerman if he responded to Pacquiao, Mayweather said, “No.”
With his father and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., at his side, Mayweather said, “My frame of mind is to be smart, listen to this man right here, because without my father, I wouldn’t be where I’m at.”
At MGM Resorts’ sports books, Mayweather, 38, is less than a 2-1 favorite to win. But the odds are nearly 3-1 that the bout will go the 12-round distance because Pacquiao, 36, hasn’t scored a knockout in his past nine fights, and Mayweather, 38, most recently decked a foe in 2011, a surprise punch against Victor Ortiz.
The bout is unquestionably the legacy fight for both men, but Mayweather didn’t accept that narrative.
“All 47 fights played a major key,” he said. “I dedicated myself to the sport of boxing for over 20 years and I’m ready … I’m ready to fight.”
Mayweather flashed larger biceps than usual as he weighed in. He said he’ll earn more than $200 million for the fight; Pacquiao could get paid $100 million.
Pacquiao is relying on conditioning and a fight plan scripted by famed trainer Freddie Roach. He shrugged off the fact Mayweather has five more inches of reach and a two-inch height advantage.
In 2008, Pacquiao moved up 12 pounds in weight class and battered Oscar De La Hoya with so many power punches that the Golden Boy never fought again. In 2010, Antonio Margarito weighed 17 pounds more than Pacquiao on fight night, but the bigger man was beaten up badly and suffered a broken orbital bone.
“I’m used to fighting [bigger] guys, like Margarito,” Pacquiao said. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
The weigh-in drew drew 11,500 fans, who spent at least $10 each (some tickets were resold) to watch an event that’s typically free. Mayweather and Pacquiao donated the proceeds to breast-cancer and brain-research charities, respectively.
“Unbelievable turnout,” Mayweather said. “I’m glad all the fans came to support myself and to support Manny, and it’s our job to go out there and do what we do best.”
Two fans traveled from near Mayweather’s birthplace in Grand Rapids, Mich., to watch.
“Mayweather’s the best-skilled fighter I’ve seen since Muhammad Ali and 48-0 is about to go down,” said Chris Dansby of Detroit.
Pacquiao embraced the challenge.
After he peered into Mayweather’s eyes at Wednesday’s news conference, Pacquiao told friends Friday, “I saw a man with a lot of worries.”
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