LAS VEGAS—Slouched on the sofa of his palatial suite on the 61st floor of Mandalay Bay’s Thehotel, Manny Pacquiao looked sleepy and tired.
He was, having trained for two hours in Hollywood before traveling about 370 kilometers to this glitzy city Monday night.
At the same time, though, Pacquiao was happy and excited to be back at the scene of his most memorable triumphs—and of his two shocking defeats to Timothy Bradley Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.
“I’m really excited to be back,” Pacquiao said. “I feel as if it’s my first time here, hoping to become a world champion.” Of course, Pacquiao has surpassed that dream.
He is boxing’s first and only eight-division titlist, a three-time Fighter of the Year and Fighter of the Decade.
All this before the fight judges stole his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown and handed it over to Bradley.
Against Marquez, Pacquiao was coming in for the kill when the Mexican caught him with a wicked right that knocked him out cold with a second to go in the sixth round of their fourth duel.
After regaining some of his reputation with a lopsided decision over Brandon Rios last November in Macau, Pacquiao now wants to prove that he’s still on top of the world at 35.
And he can do that with a decisive victory over the 30-year-old Bradley in their April 12 showdown at MGM Grand Arena here.
This will be Pacquiao’s 24th fight in the United States, 15th in this entertainment and gambling haven and 10th at MGM Grand.
It was also at MGM Grand that Pacquiao made Oscar De La Hoya 2008 hang up his gloves for good after eight rounds, sent Ricky Hatton to retirement after two rounds in 2009, and pounded Miguel Cotto into submission in the 12th round, also in 2009.
Riding on an Cadillac Escalade, Pacquiao showed the way for a convoy of 41 vehicles, including a full 56-seater bus bearing his image that ferried his parents, Dionesia and Rosalio, and brother Roel.
The grudge rematch happens Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) with the Las Vegas oddsmakers favoring Pacquiao at minus-270 and Bradley at plus-220.
It means that a $270 bet on Pacquiao will win $100 and a $100 bet on Bradley will win $220.