Manny Pacquiao rallies fans, Roach confident of victory
It was a grandiose arrival for Manny Pacquiao at the Mandalay Bay on Tuesday afternoon as fight week officially kicked off for the showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on May 2. Even though Bob Arum initially nixed the idea of Pacquiao participating in the Grand Arrivals at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino due to what he has deemed as unfair treatment by the casino, the Top Rank CEO made an about face and decided to hold a “Las Vegas Fan Rally” at the hotel about two miles down the Las Vegas Strip where Pacquiao would be staying.
It was unlike the usual grand arrival as loads of Pacquiao fans piled into the Mandalay Bay’s South Convention Center and were treated to Filipino dancers and singers who entertained before the main event arrived.
Even though he was 44 minutes late, the crowd roared with their approval when Pacquiao emerged from backstage and posed for pictures. With the crowd chanting “Manny!” the eight-division champion took to the podium to address his fans.
“I’m feeling excited and confident. Are you nervous? Don’t worry, I’m the one who will be in the ring,” Pacquiao said.
After his appearance, Pacquiao retreated to a private area to speak with the media. It would be a make-up round of sorts after the conference call with Pacquiao, Arum and trainer Freddie Roach was abruptly canceled just two minutes into its start last week.
“This is our home hotel and this was our opportunity to do an event with a Filipino flavor,” Arum said when asked why they opted to do a separate engagement from Mayweather’s arrival at the MGM Grand. Arum, who has been filled with venom when speaking on the MGM Grand in the past, took the high road and made this more about the Filipino fans than his feud with the property where the fight will be held.
As for Pacquiao, he made it clear that this fight isn’t so much about him as it is about giving the fans what they have been yearning for.
“It’s not personal to me but it’s personal to boxing fans,” Pacquiao said when asked if he had a vendetta against Mayweather that he’s looking to rectify on May 2. “(Mayweather and I) have to prove something to the fans.”
Pacquiao and Mayweather have both remained cordial when discussing one another to the media. Freddie Roach, on the other hand, has continuously fired verbal jabs at Team Mayweather whenever he has the opportunity. However, the Hall of Fame trainer relented from his usual tirade of barbs and expressed that it was personal to him as he is looking to avenge his loss to Mayweather when he cornered Oscar De La Hoya eight years ago.
Roach told RingTV that he caught on to a lot of Mayweather’s tricks while cornering De La Hoya in their fight and has been working tirelessly with Pacquiao in an effort to ensure that Pacquiao doesn’t get caught up in similar situations on Saturday night.
“I honestly thought Oscar could have won that fight but he lost track of his strategy in the last six rounds,” Roach said. “We have prepared to not fall into Mayweather’s traps and what to do in those situations. Oscar would have beat him easily if he made those adjustments and I think Pacquiao can do what Oscar didn’t.
“We will catch him at some point in the fight.”
Pacquiao agreed with his trainer.
“I think I’m faster than anyone he’s fought and this will be the moment that he will experience a loss.”