Pacquiao back in site of biggest victories
LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao’s eyes glistened as he disembarked from his shiny black Mercedes Benz van right in front of the MGM Grand lobby.
On a cold and rainy Monday evening, Pacquiao stepped right back to the site of some of his spectacular conquests after fighting elsewhere the past two years due to tax problems.
And no one is more excited than the eight-division champion, whose face once again adorned the gigantic, bright billboards that greeted Team Pacquiao as it descended into The Strip.
“I’m very excited,” exclaimed Pacquiao. “It feels good to be back.”
He will fight Adrien Broner on Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) to defend his WBA welterweight crown.
The odds continued to favor Pacquiao. The lines didn’t change from when the bout was announced: A $280 bet on Pacquiao wins $100. A $100 wager on the 29-year-old Broner, a four-division champ, will win $230.
But it’s going to be more than that for Pacquiao, whose career enjoyed a revival since last scoring his first knockout in almost a decade last year.
“It’s very important for me (KO win) because I want to prove something, this being my first fight since I turned 40,” said Pacquiao in Filipino.
His performance against Broner could also affect the prospects of his rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is partly promoting the 12-round bout.
Pacquiao and Broner will meet face-to-face here in Tuesday’s Grand Arrival festivities.
“I can’t wait to be on the ring,” said Pacquiao, who is fighting for the first time in the United States since his triumph over Jessie Vargas in 2016.
The MGM Grand is especially close to Pacquiao’s heart because it was the venue of his watershed moment in 2001, when he stopped Lehlo Ledwaba and formally announced to the boxing world that he had arrived.
It also bore witness to his crushing victories over the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya.
The last time Pacquiao fought here was in 2016, when he soundly beat Tim Bradley.