Downtown Los Angeles trembled a bit, but it wasn’t an earthquake.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao arrived in suits, entourage and strolled through a red carpet to meet with more than 400 reporters from all ends of the world at the Nokia Theater in LA Live on Wednesday.
The mega hype machine to officially announce their long-awaited showdown noisily began to rumble.
It was all rather surreal to finally see the two mega stars on the same platform speak about their coming confrontation. Many, including myself, did not think this fight would happen. At least not this year. Too many obstacles seemed strewn about like so many hidden bombs. But here they were in the flesh.
Unlike so many press conferences I’ve attended in the past, this was well organized and planned to accommodate the over-abundance of journalists. Usually a Pacman press conference is a chaotic mess where it’s near impossible to get close to the Filipino superstar to hear what he’s saying.
Not this time.
Mayweather and Pacquiao took turns talking to the boxing beat writers for about 45 minutes each in a lounge before meeting the rest of the media waiting in the large theater.
First in the lounge was Mayweather, who seemed subdued and hesitant as he spoke about how the fight happened, Pacman’s style and what it means to be “Money.”
“It’s been a long road but we’re here now,” said Mayweather with a contained smile. “If not for Al Haymon, and my father, I wouldn’t be here.”
Pacquiao seemed to be containing shock that the fight of his dreams was finally here as he talked to the media.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for since five years ago,” said Pacquiao. “We will do our best on May 2.”
Pacquiao earlier explained how a missed plane flight in Miami resulted in a chance meeting with Mayweather at a Miami Heat basketball game. When he spotted Mayweather he decided to send his advisor Michael Koncz to see if the Las Vegas prizefighter was open to chat a second. Mayweather invited Pacquiao over, they talked, and later met in Pacquiao’s room to discuss the fight.
“He said you have to understand there’s an A side and there’s a B side,” said Pacquiao of Mayweather’s comments in the hotel room.
Pacquiao added that the longer wait has “resulted in more people that know about the fight. If they know boxing they know about this fight.”
The southpaw slugger said he is paying people to take videos “in the streets” throughout the Philippines to record the reaction of the people during the mega fight.
Pacman’s trainer Freddie Roach spoke about why he tossed Alex Ariza from his camp and of the irony of the former conditioning coach now in Mayweather’s camp.
“He doesn’t know a thing about boxing,” Roach said of Ariza.
Mayweather explained that his lifelong experience in the boxing ring allows him to surmise an opponent’s boxing strengths and weaknesses.
“When I face different opponents I can figure a guy out instantly,” said Mayweather. “I know what he do and what he don’t do good.”
The Las Vegas fighter said that being undefeated has given him a supreme advantage every time he gets in the ring against any opponent with a loss on his record.
“Because losing is on the back of his mind,” explained Mayweather. “Because all I’ve done throughout my career is win, winning is always in the back of my mind.”
Both fighters are confident that they will emerge victorious. Pacquiao especially seems eager to prove his superiority.
“God raised me from nothing to something and that’s why I want to save all praise to God,” Pacquiao said.
Mayweather is equally confident and anxious.
“Pacquiao is one of the best fighters of this era,” said Mayweather. “I never wanted to win so bad in my life.”
The Rumble in Las Vegas on May 2, can’t come too fast.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME®
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