LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao weighed in for what has been labeled the ‘Fight of the Century’ on Friday, promising to deliver on the massive hype and give fans the excitement they deserve.
What had been a subdued buildup to the most anticipated fight in decades exploded to life when Pacquiao and then Mayweather entered the MGM Grand Garden Arena to thumping hip hop music and deafening cheers from a seething crowd of 11,500, some of whom had waited three hours for a glimpse of the two boxers.
Pacquiao, 57-5-2 (38 knockouts) looking relaxed and confident, weighed in one pound lighter than the undefeated Mayweather 47-0 (26 KOs), tipping the scales at 145 pounds for Saturday’s bout.
Their meeting is expected to be the biggest grossing prize fight of all-time.
“I have dedicated myself to the sport of boxing for the last 20 years and I am ready,” declared Mayweather over a roar of boos and cheers.
Asked for a prediction about the fight, the 38-year-old American said, “I can’t really say but I am ready to fight. It’s an unbelievable turnout. I‘m glad all the fans came out to here to support Manny and me.”
Normally free and open to the public, the weigh-in broke from tradition, charging $10 to watch Mayweather and Pacquiao step onto the scales in a move designed to maintain crowd control.
All money raised through ticket sales went to charity, but many of the tickets found their way onto the resale market with some commanding $500.
A smiling Pacquiao, dressed in a bright red track suit, waved and raised his fists into the air as he slowly made his way to the stage, playfully interacting with the crowd.
In stark contrast, Mayweather was serious and focused, rarely looking up from under the brim of his ‘Money Team’ baseball cap to reveal a cheeky smirk.
Once the business of the official weigh-in was complete, the two welterweights moved to the front of the stage for the traditional stare down, the smaller Pacquiao looking up at Mayweather with a challenging smile while the stone-faced American stared straight-ahead unmoved.
”I have been fighting bigger guys like (Antonio) Margarito and (Oscar) De La Hoya,“ said the Filipino southpaw. ”It doesn’t matter to me. I feel tomorrow that the Lord is always with me and gives me strength.
”I know it’s a great, great responsibility for me to give enjoyment to the fans.
“Tomorrow the fans deserve to have a great fight.”
Editing by Gene Cherry