Pacquiao continues charm offensive

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Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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Manny Pacquiao continued to charm his way into his seismic showdown with Floyd Mayweather by using the weigh-in to thank his rival for the chance to fight.

A crowd of 11,500 paying fans gathered at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the eve of a bout billed as “good versus evil” to watch the two finest fighters of their generation step on to the scales.

Pacquiao was first up and registered 145lbs, 2lbs under the welterweight limit, and was followed by Mayweather who came in at 146lbs.

When they then faced off on the centre of the stage, Pacquiao looked up at the taller Mayweather, smiled, nodded and expressed his gratitude for enabling a fight that has been five years in the making to finally happen.

The Filipino southpaw was the obvious crowd favourite throughout an entertaining event complete with ring-walk style entrances and his promise to put on a spectacle will only have increased his popularity.

“I said thank you. I said thank you from the fans that the fight will happen. All the fans deserve this fight,” Pacquiao said.

“It’s a great responsibility for me to give enjoyment to the fans. The fans deserve to have a good fight, whether they are a fan of Mayweather or Pacquiao.

“The Lord will always be with me and strengthen me and deliver him into my hands.”

It has long been the perception that Mayweather has waited for Pacquiao’s powers to wane before accepting the fight, although the Filipino’s coach Freddie Roach has claimed that even now his hand was forced by his television paymasters Showtime.

Once Pacquiao, a born again Christian, had arrived on stage he stripped off his red hoodie and turned around to reveal the words ‘All Glory and Honour Belongs to God’ on the back of a white T-shirt.

Boxing’s only eight-weight world champion was then asked for his response to Mayweather’s comments that when the two met at a Miami Heat basketball game in February, he was shocked by the American’s size advantage.

“I’ve been fighting bigger guys – Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margarito. It doesn’t matter to me,” Pacquiao said.

Both fighters’ procession to the stage was preceded by a minute-long video clip but while Pacquiao’s footage focused on training and his exploits in the ring, Mayweather was predictably pictured alongside his private jet and Bugatti sportscars.

The unbeaten 38-year-old, dressed in a navy blue ‘The Money Team’ tracksuit and a large black TMT baseball cap, was subjected to booing when he stepped on to the scales..

“I’ve dedicated myself to the sport of boxing for over 20 years and I’m ready. I’m ready to fight,” Mayweather said.

“Who is ever watching, buy pay per view. Now it’s time for us to go out there and do what we do best.

“My frame of mind is to be smart and to listen to this man right here (Floyd Mayweather) because without my father I wouldn’t be here.”

Tickets for the event went on sale at $10 (£6.60) with the proceeds going to two charities nominated by the fighters – Susan G. Komen and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Doors opened three hours before the event started with the appearance of a Mayweather lookalike – clad in a white tracksuit and red ‘The Money Team’ cap – causing a mini stampede among camera-phone wielding fans.

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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