Pound-for-pound greats in Vegas: Who needs all that hype? | Inquirer Sports

Pound-for-pound greats in Vegas: Who needs all that hype?

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 04:49 AM April 30, 2015

LAS VEGAS—There was singing, dancing, cheering and beat-box mimicking. Heck, there was even a marching band. The only thing missing on Tuesday was that certain vibe to match the magnitude and importance of this Saturday’s mammoth showdown between pound-for-pound greats Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Manny Pacquiao arrives at the fan rally at the Convention Center of Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

Manny Pacquiao arrives at the fan rally at the Convention Center of Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER/ See more at FRAME

The two held separate welcome events at separate venues — that Pacquiao staged his at the Mandalay Bay was expected because of the growing rift between MGM Grand, which will host the May 2 fight between the two elite welterweights, and Top Rank chief Bob Arum, the Filipino star’s promoter.

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Mayweather held his own Vegas coming out party at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena. And while Pacquiao stuck to the narrative he has been riding in the last few days of his Los Angeles training camp, Mayweather applied a different tack in a bid to massage an image that has been taking hits recently in the media.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. during his grand arrival at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

Floyd Mayweather Jr. during his grand arrival at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER/ See more at FRAME

“I ask you all not to be nervous,” Pacquiao joked in front of a huge crowd that found their way to Mandalay Bay’s Convention Center Bayside C auditorium. “I’m the one who’s going to fight on the ring, so don’t be nervous.”

READ: Pacquiao: Relax, I’m going to beat Floyd Mayweather

Bible verses, beauties’ parade

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Pacquiao then went to quoting his favorite Bible verses, telling the crowd that handing Mayweather his first loss was a strong possibility because “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

Mayweather took a different approach in his welcome event.

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The unbeaten American superstar, after about an hour of festivities, rolled into the venue in a black SUV and walked to stage behind a parade of beauties and serenaded by a marching band that proclaimed “nobody does it better…” than Pretty Boy Floyd and the cheers of his fans.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. during his grand arrival at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA /

Floyd Mayweather Jr. during his grand arrival at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA /INQUIRER/ See more at FRAME

After thanking fans that came for the welcome event, his team and the fight sponsors, the first spoon-fed question Mayweather confronted had little to do with his fight against Pacquiao. Instead, he was asked about a charity event he held earlier.

And after talking about how he was all about “giving back,” he was asked how his children were.


Q&A with Mayweather

The boxing questions came when the festivities over when select television outlets were allowed to interview him on the stage. Later, he held a private Q and A with handpicked journalists.

Mayweather talked about the fight in general terms, telling journalists Pacquiao can be “reckless at times” and vowed to “fight a smart fight.”

“Every move I make will be a smart move,” Mayweather vowed.

READ: Mayweather makes Grand entrance with verbal jab for Pacquiao

Official welcome events are normally held by MGM Grand for fights held in its arena. It’s an event that allows fans access to the boxers and journalists to chase ambush interviews with the fighters and their team. But it was clear early on that this match wasn’t going to have the usual welcome party.

Skipping MGM events

Arum has already said Team Pacquiao was skipping all events hosted by MGM Grand over concerns that the hotel was favoring Mayweather. Arum had run-ins with MGM over tickets, hotel reservations and other details in the days leading up to the fight.

Besides, it’s not like this fight needed any more hype.

“There’s not a person in the world who doesn’t know these guys [Mayweather and Pacquiao] are fighting each other,” said Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach. “I don’t think we need a welcome but if Manny wants it then I’m going with what Manny wants.”

Mandalay’s pep rally

It looks as though Pacquiao, or someone in his team, did want a welcome event. Mandalay Bay hosted some sort of a pep rally for the eight-division champion attended by a horde of fans close to noon. Almost three hours later, it was Mayweather’s turn to spend time with his fans. In both instances, the fighters stayed on stage briefly—the wait for their appearance was much longer.

Las Vegas-based Filipinos welcome Manny Pacquiao during the fan rally at the Convention Center of Mandalay Bay hotel in LAs Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

Las Vegas-based Filipinos welcome Manny Pacquiao during the fan rally at the Convention Center of Mandalay Bay hotel in LAs Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER/ See more at FRAME


‘Tinikling’

The turnout both boxers drew wasn’t as huge as expected. While waiting for the People’s Champ, Pacquiao fans were entertained by budding singers and a Filipiniana dance troupe that performed the tinikling. Mayweather’s event had a hip-hop flavor interrupted by a marching band from a Louisiana school.

Mayweather’s only words to the crowd centered on a charity event he hosted and an update on his children, an apparent attempt to iron out an image that has taken a hit from critics who point out the irony that an athlete known for beating women is being allowed to earn upwards of $100 million in this fight.

Both fighters will face the media Wednesday where they will have the chance to talk more extensively about the fight that many billed will be among the more important bout in sporting history.
Originally posted: 5:39 PM | Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

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