The weigh-in for the upcoming ‘fight of the century’ between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. has ended with the two fighters engaging in their first stare down and a verbal exchange. It has been reported that Pacquiao thanked Mayweather Jr. after the two got their weight checked at the venue before their welterweight title bout scheduled for Saturday, May 2.
Pacquiao popped a chocolate peanut butter snack that he endorses, in his mouth as he was driven across the Vegas strip. He reached the MGM Grand Garden Arena and weighed in at 145 pounds. Mayweather Jr. weighed 146 pounds for the upcoming bout which is one pound less than the limit for the most widely followed fight in recent times. The long-awaited and highly anticipated welterweight title unification fight has already multiplied the live-gate record for boxing by over three times. It is also expected to become the most lucrative pay-per-view event in history.
Pacquiao, whose record is 57-5-2 with 38 KOs, said that the fans of both the fighters around the world deserve to have a good fight. This was a huge responsibility for him. The faceoff between the two fighters, both regarded as two of the greatest ever, went smoothly. Pacquiao, who looked calm and composed, smiled at his opponent and thanked him. The present WBO welterweight champion later said that he thanked Mayweather Jr. on behalf of fans, that the fight between the two boxing champions in the world is finally taking place after five long years. Before this, many efforts failed due to various reasons.
Mayweather Jr., whose record is unblemished at 47-0 with 26 KOs, looked focused and full of intensity, later said that he did not know what Pacquiao exactly told him during the faceoff. He said that he wanted to focus on what he needs to do for winning the fight. He denied replying to Pacquiao when he was asked by Max Kellerman if he did respond. He emphasized the presence of his father, the first trainer and mentor in his life, and said that he was at this position because of him. He said that without his father, he would never have tasted success in boxing. Thus the weigh-in between Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao has ended in their first stare down and exchange.
Though the odds look in favor of Mayweather Jr. at this point, nothing can be certain. The 38-year-old, 11-time champion is favored at less than a 2-1 to win the bout. Mayweather Jr. last scored a KO against Victor Ortiz, with a surprise punch in 2011. The 36-year-old Pacquiao has not scored a knockout in his last nine fights. This is why the odds that the fight will go its entire distance of 12 rounds are nearly 3-1. This bout is definitely a fight for their legacy. However, Mayweather Jr. denied that narrative. He said that all his 47 fights have been equally important for him. He said that he has dedicated himself to the sport of boxing for over two decades and he is once again, ready to fight. He also mentioned that Pacquiao will earn around $100 million, whereas he will be earning more than $200 million for the fight.
Pacquiao is depending on the fight plan and the conditioning by his trainer Freddie Roach. He chose to shrug off the two-inch height advantage and five more inches of reach that Mayweather Jr. has over him. Pacquiao said that it did not matter to him as he is used to fighting bigger guys like Antonio Margarito, who weighed 17 pounds more than him on the night of his fight in 2010. It must be reported that Margarito was beaten up badly in the fight and also suffered a broken orbital bone. Oscar De La Hoya, who was nicknamed Golden Boy, had suffered a similar fate in 2008, when Pacquiao moved up 12 pounds in weight class for the fight. He battered the Golden Boy so bad and unloaded so many power punches, that he never fought again.
Close to 11,500 fans showed up for only the weigh-in. The tickets were sold at $10 each, though the event is generally free. Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr. donated the proceeds to brain-research and breast-cancer charities respectively. Mayweather Jr. further said that it was an unbelievable turnout and he was glad to see that the fans had come to support Pacquiao and himself. He stressed that it is their job now, to go out there and do what they do best. Pacquiao embraced the challenge as the weigh-in between Mayweather Jr. and himself ended in their first stare down and exchange. He later told his friends that after he peered into the eyes of Mayweather Jr., he saw a man with a lot of worries.
By Ankur Sinha