Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao faced off for only the third time Wednesday during the final press conference.
The last time the boxing superstars met face-to-face was at the Los Angeles press conference to formally announce the mega-fight on March 11. The first time they were photographed up close and personal came at a Miami Heat basketball game in January.
In the most eagerly awaited showdown in years – and the richest fight in boxing history — the undefeated and universally recognized No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs), an 11-time world champion in five weight divisions, will take on the fighting pride of the Philippines, Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), the only boxer to capture world titles in eight weight classes.
Here is what the fighters and executives said Wednesday at the KÀ Theatre at the MGM Grand:
“The only thing I can do is take it one day at a time. When the fight gets here I will go out there and do what I do best and that’s go out and fight.
“From the beginning of my career, I’ve always had a game plan. It’s just like chess. We make calculated moves in the ring and outside the ring. I got with the right team and surrounded myself with the right chess pieces.
“I’m a lot wiser than I once was. This fight sells itself. Our ultimate goal was to get to this point, whether it was Manny or another fighter.
“I don’t take anything away from Manny Pacquiao. He’s a solid fighter; a solid competitor and it will be an intriguing matchup come Saturday.
“Everything takes time, it’s all about timing. I’m glad that we had patience and didn’t rush. The time is now, this is the right time for this fight.
“I want to thank all the writers for being here. Some have been around since I was 10-years-old, some have been here for my 19 years in this sport. I’m thankful for all the writers, whether the stories were good stories or bad, you guys kept me relevant for 19 years.
“This fight is about one fighter who is at the top fighting another fighter who is at the top. It’s about giving you guys excitement. We don’t know how this fight is going to play out, but I believe in my skills. I believe I am going to be victorious.
“When I went to training camp I worked extremely hard to win this fight and I’m pretty sure Manny did the same. That’s why this is an intriguing matchup.”
“I don’t have a prediction, but I’m excited. I’m confident and I feel for the first time that I’m ready for the fight.
“I’m so happy because that feeling and that focus that I had many years ago, is back. I’m confident and relaxed.
“My love and eagerness for this fight has made me especially interested.
“I would like to invite everyone to witness the great fight between Floyd and I this Saturday.
“I want to be an example and inspiration to people.
“Before I became a boxer, I used to sleep on the street. I can’t believe that I am in this position. The boy who didn’t have food and slept on the street can have this life.
“On Saturday our goal is to make the fans happy with our performance. Both of us will work very hard to entertain the fans and give a good fight.
“I hope that both Floyd and I do our best on Saturday and to put our name in boxing history.
“The most important thing I hope for is that after the fight I can talk with Floyd about being an inspiration to people all around the world.”
FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR., Mayweather’s Father & Trainer
“Whatever happens on Saturday, it’s going to be one-sided. Pacquiao is going to sleep.
“I’m a trainer, I know what’s going on with fighters. Pacquiao doesn’t have it.
“Everybody can say what they want to say. I’ve said it before, Pacquiao can’t punch. I’m not worried about it. I’m going to have Floyd walk him down.”
FREDDIE ROACH, Pacquiao’s Trainer
“When this fight was announced, Manny’s training level went way up. He’s really excited about this fight.
“I think we will win a decision and outpoint this guy. If the knockout comes then that will be a bonus.
“I think Manny likes to be the underdog. We like pulling upsets and doing things we’re not supposed to do. Manny is going to be that guy.
“We will put a lot of pressure on Floyd. Manny likes to exchange and with his hand speed, this fight will go in our favor.
“Manny is reckless, but that’s his style. He tries to win fights and people enjoy his fights. He gives it his all and sometimes you get knocked out, that’s part of boxing.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“The worldwide attention and interest in this event has been unbelievable and Floyd and Manny deserve it.
“Las Vegas has a rich history of hosting the biggest and best fights in the sport. Over the years Floyd Mayweather has made the MGM his home. This will be his 11th consecutive fight at MGM Grand and the 14th in his career.
“There are two great fighters that will be fighting on Saturday night and the focus needs to be on the fighters, no one else. The focus is on the fighters on Saturday night.
“On May 2, Floyd faces another huge challenge in fellow world champion Manny Pacquiao, in a fight that the whole world is waiting to see. Once again Floyd is out to prove that he is The Best Ever and I know he will on Saturday night.”
BOB ARUM, Hall of Fame Promoter, Top Rank
“This is a great promotion with two great fighters. I hope that this fight will help elevate the rest of boxing. I think based on the interest in this fight, there has been increased interest in boxing as well, and that’s great.
“People have spent a lot of time during this event watching Manny train, but more importantly, watching Freddie teach. It’s great to see two guys on the same wavelength, working on the strategy and then working it out in the ring.”
KEN HERSHMAN, President, HBO Sports
“The journey to this fight has been a remarkable one. In addition to the great writing and reporting that all the media has been doing, HBO has been putting on terrific programs for fight fans to enjoy and bring them closer to the sport.
“One important note for everyone, please order the pay-per-view Saturday night early, or if possible today or tomorrow. We expect that the ordering systems will be overwhelmed. Also, there will be two undercard events starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and those events can end at any time. We want to make sure that no one misses any of the main event. Tune-in and tune-in early.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“This event is about two world-class athletes, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who have been working for weeks and weeks, all of their lives really, to get to this precise moment.
“These two fighters have worked their entire lives to get to this moment.
“Floyd and Manny have great teams. Floyd will be the first one to tell you that his team deserves a lot of the credit for his success and I’ve heard Manny say very similar things.
“What makes this event so special and so historic, is that we have two once-in-a-generation athletes who will be meeting in the ring in about 72 hours. We are so proud to have been given the opportunity to be a part of such a highly anticipated event.”
RICHARD STURM, President of Entertainment & Sports for MGM Resorts International
“It is an honor for the MGM Resorts to house this highly anticipated event. Sports fans around the world will have the unique opportunity to watch two of boxing’s top champions, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, as they go toe-to-toe at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Excitement for this event has resonated throughout our MGM Resorts properties and the entire Las Vegas community.
“We have created additional programming at the resorts including closed circuit viewing that gives fans the chance to experience MGM’s great championship fights.
“We just want to thank everybody involved in this great event. We’re excited, we’re proud and we can’t wait for Saturday night.”