#MayPac 'Fight of Century': 5 things to watch for when boxing begins - Emirates24|7

#MayPac 'Fight of Century': 5 things to watch for when boxing begins

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The winner of the richest fight in boxing history will be awarded $1 million worth 'Emerald Belt' by the World Boxing Council (WBC).

The emerald green, diamond encrusted belt was unveiled by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman who was joined by former world heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in Mexico City on Tuesday.

Killer instinct

Manny Pacquiao said Wednesday his "killer instinct" and will to win is as strong as ever, rejecting suggestions he is past his prime for the May 2 blockbuster bout with Floyd Mayweather.



The Filipino was speaking in Hollywood at the final news conference he will give before he heads to Las Vegas for the eagerly anticipated welterweight unification showdown with the unbeaten Mayweather, set to be the most lucrative in boxing history.

Boxing fans say the two men are getting it on five years too late, with Pacquiao now 36 and Mayweather two years older, and both showing tentative signs of slowing down in recent fights.

Pacquiao, who has also faced accusations that he has neglected his boxing and concentrated too much on his political career, hit back, saying: "I feel very motivated.

"The inspiration and determination is back and the killer instinct is there. I love it. I like it."

Show

Manny Pacquiao intends to put on a show when he faces Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2 1/2 weeks.

He really hopes Mayweather is also coming to fight, for the fans' sake - and maybe for his own strategic purposes as well.

Pacquiao radiated confidence and excitement Wednesday at the Wild Card gym in Hollywood before his latest workout in preparation for their bout May 2 in Las Vegas.

With the most anticipated fight in recent years looming ever closer, both boxers kept their public comments civil and mostly respectful this week.

But Pacquiao laughed when told that the defence-minded Mayweather had called him "a very reckless fighter" on Tuesday.

"Reckless fighter? That's how people like me and love me, because they like an exciting fight," Pacquiao said. "We call this boxing, (and) boxing is more punching. We talk about punching."

Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) has rarely skimped on excitement during his remarkable career as an eight-division champion, but the Filipino congressman realises he is facing the greatest defensive fighter of their era.

Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) has been nearly unhittable for most of his opponents during his perfect career.

But Pacquiao hopes 'Money' realises that the best way to get paid is to put on a fight worth seeing. After all, they're counting on fans to pay a record $99.95 for the pay-per-view, a figure described by no less than Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum as "ostentatious consumerism" if a fan bought it to watch all by himself.

And if Pacquiao is trying a bit of psychological trickery, it isn't very subtle: He didn't even try to hide the fact that a brawl would be his best chance to win.

"If he (does) that, that's good for me," Pacquiao said. "I like that. We'll see. That's what I want, and that's definitely what the fans want - action."

Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao knows what it's like to be knocked out and to get back up. Pacquiao lost both of his bouts in 2012 and ended his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez face-down on the canvas in the sixth round.

Pacquiao took time off after that bout, but returned to the ring and won three more fights before Mayweather finally agreed to get in the ring with him, five years after fans first called for the matchup.

Yet the former knockout machine hasn't stopped an opponent since November 2009, when he finished Miguel Cotto in arguably the greatest performance of his career.

This fight has captured the full attention of Pacquiao, who has found time to actually study film of Mayweather during his chaotic life among his entourage, his large family and his congressional duties.

Trainer Freddie Roach hasn't seen Pacquiao watching film of his opponents in years, yet Pacquiao came to him with ideas and plans for the fight.

Pacquiao is clearly a student of Mayweather's techniques, even doing a serviceable impersonation of Mayweather's famed shoulder roll to entertain Roach.

"I haven't really seen him have this much speed and power in a long time," Roach said. "My chest hurts really bad right now. You can see how much it means to him. He lives for these huge moments, and he knows what this fight means. Floyd is in trouble."

Pacquiao confirmed his eagerness to make the fight happen, pointing out that he agreed to every term proposed by Mayweather over the past several years of intermittent negotiations. Pacquiao also agreed to a 60-40 split of the proceeds.

"If my concern is myself alone, I don't (think of) the fans," Pacquiao said. "Then the fight, it's hard to make happen. Because of course, I don't want to take 60-40, a disadvantage and everything. I agreed with that for the sake of the fans. I agreed to make the fight happen."

Pacquiao also said he felt a virtual duty to make a possible nine-figure payday resulting from this bout to further his charitable work in the Philippines, where he plans to give away a significant portion of his cut.

"I cannot see them being hungry and not helping them," Pacquiao said. "I'm not materialistic. ... I have to use it for the glory of the Lord, and also for my family and for helping people."

Fighting form

Floyd Mayweather Jr. flashed a glimpse of the fighting form he will show next month as the undefeated champion put on an open training session on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Flanked by his own camp and the media, the 38-year-old went through a workout at his Mayweather Boxing Club in what was the last scheduled public appearance in advance of his fight against Manny Pacquiao on May 2.



The welterweight bout, which has been five years in the making, is the richest in boxing history.

Mayweather and Pacquiao faced off for a press conference last month but have since retreated to their separate camps to prepare for the highly anticipated clash.

Pacquiao will hold his own public workout on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Mayweather's showing was a light effort built for show and he did not do much talking as he worked the speed bag but occasionally offered words to his camp.

Surrounded by photographers, Mayweather delivered body shots to a sparring partner who wore body armour but did not throw any punches back. He then worked a body bag and seamlessly went through a series of light exercises.

"I've seen (Mayweather) do things (in the ring) without looking. He just knows, and he has a sense and a feel for things," said Mayweather's strength coach Alex Ariza.

Ariza formerly worked with Pacquiao and cannot see the Filipino beating Mayweather.

"Unless (Pacquiao) has a dramatic difference in how (he has prepared himself in the past) I can't see anything different. I see the same routine."

Knockout blow

Trainer Freddie Roach believes Manny Pacquiao has the power to deliver a knockout blow during the 'Fight of the Century' against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.

Roach drew comparisons to Pacquiao’s emphatic victory over another ring legend Oscar De La Hoya where he forced the 'Golden Boy' to quit after the eighth round.

"I look at this the same as I did when Manny fought Oscar De La Hoya. I have all the confidence in the world that Manny is going to knock Floyd out on May 2," Roach told boxingscene.com.

The Hall of Fame trainer also feels 'Pacman' has everything going in his favour despite being an underdog against Mayweather.

Roach has told boxingscene.com: "Back in 2010, Manny was still growing into a welterweight. His first two welterweight fights were against Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 and Miguel Cotto in 2009 where he only weighed 142 and 144 pounds respectively, and in between he dropped down to 138 to fight Ricky Hatton.

"Floyd has been campaigning as a welterweight since 2005 and weighed 150 in his fight against De La Hoya, so that might have given Floyd an advantage. I still like Manny's chances in that fight, but I think the Manny of today has a lot more in his favour.

"In 2010, the two-year age difference between the fighters was not significant to either, but that’s not true today. Floyd at 38 is doing things he didn’t do in the past. Floyd is a defensive genius, but he has always depended on his legs to perform and you can see now that his legs do not have the same spring or fluidness of his early years.

"The 2015 version of Manny is more mature, smarter and less reckless than the 2010 version. He will be treating the ring like a chess board, anticipating Floyd's moves - ready to cut him off and attack every time he creates an opening."

The only concern, if any, is whether Pacquiao is overtraining for the ultimate boxing showdown.

"He is in top condition,” Freddie Roach told ESPN.com. "He'll never lose a fight because he's too tired. It just doesn't happen. It's impossible.”

Pacquiao’s physical condition has never been an issue.

"You don't have to motivate Pacquiao," Roach said in 2008 before Pacquiao defeated Juan Manuel Marquez. "But the thing is, right now I'm having trouble holding him back. I'm worried he might over-train."

All-time record

Floyd Mayweather's blockbuster May 2 bout with Manny Pacquiao will help make the American fighter's 2015 earnings shatter the all-time record for a sportsman's annual pay, according to Forbes.com.

Forbes noted that Mayweather will likely to earn at least $150 million and Pacquiao more than $100 million for the welterweight world title showdown in Las Vegas.

The financial news website said payouts could be higher still if more than three million pay-per-views are sold.

Mayweather's haul would represent the highest yearly earnings ever by an athlete, surpassing Tiger Woods' inflation-adjusted record of $125 million in 2008, Forbes said.

Woods currently occupies both first and second place on Forbes' list of all-time highest paid athletes in a given year, adjusted for inflation, his adjusted earnings of $120 million in 2009 number two on the list.

NBA legend Michael Jordan is next, with inflation-adjusted earnings of $115 million in both 1997 and 1998. Woods' $113 million in 2007 and 2010 are next.

The highest boxer on the list is former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson, with inflation adjusted earnings of $112 million in 1996.

Forbes said its figures were the result of 25 years of tracking athletes' earnings.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has predicted that record-shattering revenue totals for the May 2 mega-fight could surpass $400 million.

That includes $74 million from just over 15,000 tickets at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The foreign rights to the fight sold for a record $35 million, according to Arum.

As Forbes noted, the big X-factor in a final revenue figure is pay-per-view sales.

Boxing's record for pay-per-view purchases is the 2.4 million buys from Mayweather's split-decision win over Oscar de la Hoya.

The record for pay-per-view receipts is the $152 million set by Mayweather's 2013 bout with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

Mayweather-Pacquiao, a fight more than five years in the making between the men considered the best pound-for-pound fighters of their generation, is expected to "crush" both pay-per-view numbers, Forbes noted.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the pay-per-view price for the fight will be a record $99 for the high definition feed, with a standard definition version costing a slightly cheaper $89.

Prediction

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali isn't in the prediction business when it comes to the May 2 mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

A report on celebrity website TMZ this week quoted Ali's daughter, Rasheda, as saying the former heavyweight world champion and civil rights activist "is Team Pacquiao all the way."

"He knows Manny's a great fighter ... but it's more about what he does outside the ring. He's such a charitable person," the website quoted her as saying.

On Thursday, however, a statement from an Ali publicist posted on the Muhammad Ali Center website denied that the champ was backing either fighter.

"Muhammad Ali would like to wish both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao well in their upcoming fight on May 2," the statement said.

"Muhammad never offered to anyone his prediction on the fight. Information that was published earlier this week and picked up by other media is either a misquote or someone else's personal opinion.

"The stories saying that Muhammad Ali has chosen a favorite in the fight are false."

Ali, who turned 73 in January and has battled the effects of Parkinson's disease for decades, hasn't attended a fight in years.

He isn't expected to be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 2 when Pacquiao and Mayweather meet in a welterweight world title fight.

Pacquiao, a two-term congressman from Sarangani province in the Philippines, is 57-5 with two drawn and 38 knockouts while Mayweather is 47-0 with 26 knockouts.

The fight long wanted by fans around the world has been five years in the making, and is expected to shatter revenue records.

"Muhammad has the utmost respect for both fighters who will undoubtedly give boxing fans an incredible match," the statement said.

"He believes the significance of this fight will rival other historic matches. Muhammad Ali will join the rest of the world on May 2 to watch this match-up."

Rooting

Muhammad Ali’s daughter says 'The Greatest' is rooting for Manny Pacquiao in the forthcoming 'Super-Fight' against Floyd Mayweather.

Rasheda Ali told TMZ Sports: “My dad is Team Pacquiao all the way.”

She added: “My dad really likes Manny. He’s a huge fan of his.

“He knows Manny’s a great fighter but it’s more about what he does outside the ring. He’s such a charitable person.”

Rasheda says the Filipino boxing legend and her father have been friends for years - and he even came to Muhammad's 70th birthday party back in 2012.

 

Tyson warning

Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather's usual conservative style might not be enough to hold off Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao, former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson has warned.

Tyson is just the latest big name to weigh in with an opinion on how the long-awaited showdown between the two pound-for-pound greats might go when they step into the ring in Las Vegas on May 2.

"He has to fight," Tyson said this week of Mayweather, in a video posted on YouTube.

"If he's not going to score, he is going to lose the round. Also, if he is laid back, he is going to lose the round."

Tyson says the fighters who have troubled Pacquiao have been prolific punchers.

"Floyd doesn't throw nowhere near 100 punches a round," he said. "He's more, you know, scientific about it. He really plots a lot. And he sits around and he poses. And this guy (Pacquiao) is all over - fading, moving.

"I just don't think (Mayweather) is going to be able to play that plotting, skill ... Floyd's got to fight the first couple of rounds."

Tyson isn't the only former heavyweight world champion who has his eye on Pacquiao-Mayweather.

Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield, speaking at a sponsors' event in New York on Tuesday, said he plans to be at the welterweight unification bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"I don't know who's going to win, that's the reason I'm going to see it," the four-time heavyweight champion told Newsday.

"If I had to pay, I would pay to see that fight, because that's how great that fight will be."

Holyfield said the differing styles of Mayweather and Pacquiao make the fight hard to handicap.

"Pacquiao, the only way he can win is if he corners him off," Holyfield said.

"Can he corner him off? If he corners him off, I think he will win ... I don't think he can. But that's what makes the fight so interesting."

 

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