HOLLYWOOD, California (Reuters) - Appearing relaxed and confident, Manny Pacquaio embraced suggestions he was “a reckless fighter” when he held a workout for the media on Wednesday ahead of his heavily anticipated fight against Floyd Mayweather.
The May 2 showdown in Las Vegas between the two biggest drawcards of their generation has been more than five years in the making and Pacquiao also expressed hope that the defense-minded Mayweather would show more aggression in the ring.
On Tuesday at his boxing club in Las Vegas, American Mayweather described Pacquiao as “a very, very reckless fighter” who left himself open to punches, and the Filipino southpaw was happy to agree.
“A reckless fighter, that’s why people like me and love me because they like exciting fights,” Pacquiao smiled as he spoke to reporters at the Wild Card Boxing Club.
“My first concern every fight that I have is: how can I entertain people and give them enjoyment and make them happy?
“Boxing is my passion. I am enjoying this and giving all of them in my country an exciting fight for my fans. Of course, for doing that there is a price.”
Mayweather has a perfect record of 47-0 with 26 knockouts and Pacquiao would love to see his opponent abandon his usually cautious boxing style early on in the fight.
“If he does that, it’s good for me,” said the Filipino, an eight-division world champion. “I like that, and that’s definitely the plan I want — action.”
Pacquiao’s shrewd trainer, Freddie Roach, rejected the allegations by Mayweather that his fighter was reckless.
“Manny is not reckless at all,” said Roach, who has worked with 31 world champions in his Wild Card gym. “Everything we do is planned out and it’s part of the game plan.
“Mayweather is a counter puncher and we have to attack really quick and get out really quick. We can’t stay in the pocket too long. We know the game plan, we know how to beat this guy.
“We’ve had a very good training camp. I’ve never seen Manny at this level. He’s really motivated for this fight. It has really escalated his performance. I think he’s faster than ever and he’s definitely hitting harder than ever.”
While many boxing pundits regret that Mayweather, 37, and Pacquiao, 36, are in the twilight of their respective careers and have lost some of their skills in the ring, the Filipino felt the timing of the welterweight bout was perfect.
“Style-wise it’s all still there,” said Pacquiao, who has a 57-5-2 record with 38 knockouts. “This is good for both of us to feel what we felt five years ago, eight years ago.
“What I feel right now is motivation and inspiration and determination ... and the killer instinct is there, I love it.
“It’s a good thing this fight is happening now and not five years ago because more people are informed (about it) than before.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury