Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
LAS VEGAS – They started hovering around the make-shift ring in the lobby and the front entrance at MGM Grand an hour before the first of the custom-designed buses were scheduled to arrive.
First, a little after 11 a.m., came the Shane Mosley bus. Then, at a tad after 1, the bus carrying Manny Pacquiao and his team rolled onto the property.
By the time Pacquiao stepped inside the MGM, several hundred vocal, animated fans, most carrying cameras and chanting his name, and media, including dozens of TV crews, had jammed into the area.
This Saturday, May 7, at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena, eight-division world champion Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, will defend his WBO welterweight title against three-division world champion Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), of Pomona, Calif., in the main event of a four-fight telecast produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Those who buy the event online will get features unique to the digital platform through NeuLion’s technology. The enhanced and unique viewing offers a four-shot, multi-angle dynamic player that will allow viewers to interact and feel an enriched experience. The online pay-per-view is exclusive to U.S. viewers. Select cable and satellite TV systems will also be offering the pay-per-view live stream.
Closed circuit tickets, priced at $50, are on sale and available at all Las Vegas MGM Resorts properties.
In other bouts on the telecast, WBO junior featherweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (20-0-1, 17 KOs), of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, will make his Las Vegas debut and third title defense when he faces five-time world champion Jorge Arce (56-6-2, 43 KOs), of Los Mochis, México, former world middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs), of Youngstown, Ohio, meets undefeated WBC Continental Americas super middleweight titleholder Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez (21-0, 16 KOs), of Cut and Shoot, Texas, in a 10-round super middleweight battle; and Mike Alvarado (29-0, 21 KOs), of Denver takes on “Sugar” Ray Narh (25-1, 21 KOs) of Accra, Ghana, in a 10-round super lightweight match.
The mega-event is promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions, Tecate and MGM Grand.
What Pacquiao and Mosley and their trainers said during an informal Q&A session with the media.
“I never thought I could achieve what I have. My dreams before were to help and sacrifice for my mother and family, helping us survive.
“I’m sure some (in the Philippines) are jealous of my success, and I can’t blame them. But I just try and stay humble.
“I don’t try to compare what I’ve achieved in boxing. I’m just happy to contribute to the history of boxing. My best memory is probably knowing that my fights make fans happy,
“I remember watching Shane Mosley when he fought De La Hoya. I’ve always respected his ability and I know I can’t underestimate him. I’m most impressed by his hand- and foot-speed.
Lots of people criticize him but he has trained very hard for this fight and he wants to prove he is still good and is still strong.
“It’s an honor to hear that Mike Tyson says I’m one of his idols because he’s one of my idols, too.’’
“The Diaz fight was the first time (that everything came together), then the Oscar fight was perfect.
“He’s not slowing down yet. You ask me, I’ll be the first to tell him.
(Is that when Manny should stop)?
“I think so – that would be the healthy answer.”
Pacquiao: “Freddie, just tell me and I’ll stop. Freddie is not only my trainer, he’s also like my father, my brother. He’s like family. Freddie and my father are almost the same age.”
“People forget about my punching power and speed. (Actually) They forget a lot. (But) I think one of my main advantages is experience.
“I had a great camp. Pacquiao throws a lot of good punches, gets his power from his strong legs, and can throw punches for 12 rounds. But I’m ready.
“I think the perception is that Pacquiao is a small guy because he once fought at 106, but I fought at that weight, too. I used to spar with Paul Gonzales when I was a teenager.
“(Antonio) Margarito hit him with more shots than I got hit with by Margarito.’’
(on whether it’s impressive that Pacquiao won his first title at 106 pounds)
“No, it’s not impressive. I was 106 pounds at one point. He was a kid. If Shane turned pro at 16 he would have been the champ at 112 pounds.”
“You make adjustments when you get older. Naturally, you get smarter and make the necessary adjustments. Shane doesn’t get the credit that he has a high IQ. I was taken back when I started working with him. He has a high IQ and he can apply it. He can carry out those game plans.”