Mayweather vs. Pacquiao press conference: The dead calm before the storm
This afternoon, Wednesday, March 11, inside the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California, the best pound for pound fighter in boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and the sport’s only eight division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, finally stood face to face in front of hundreds of credentialed media members.
Although fight fans weren’t allowed to witness the surreal vision of both fighters standing toe-to-toe in person, the public restriction didn’t stop the huddled masses from surrounding the LA media center.
Thousands showed up at the multi-event facility just to get a glimpse of their favorite fighters. Even if only for a few seconds, fans wanted to feel like they were part of the most historic boxing event in decades.
While the lack of fan participation seemed to suck the energy out of the highly anticipated pre-fight event, all parties involved had a chance to express their “media friendly” comments during the ostensibly “anti-climactic” press conference.
To begin the presser, representatives of both networks took turns taking small verbal shots to seemingly set the table for the main course.
“In 1997, Floyd Mayweather made his HBO debut,” stated President of HBO Sports ken Hershman. “Since then, Floyd has fought on HBO or HBO PPV 26 times. While Mayweather and Pacquiao haven’t shared an HBO card since 2001, they’ve each gone on to have Hall of Fame careers and have become the two biggest fighters of their generation.”
“Floyd has headlined 9 HBO PPV events, and Manny 17."
"Those 26 events have compiled a total of 21 million PPV buys and over a billion dollars in revenue. And now on May 2nd, these two superstars will participate in what we know will be the single largest boxing event of all time.”
“HBO is synonymous with boxing’s most thrilling and momentous events. May 2nd promises to be another electrifying chapter added to our portfolio, and we’re proud to be involved in making history yet again.”
After Team HBO got off first, Showtime Sports was able to land a couple of healthy jabs.
“For the second time in just five fights, since working with Showtime Sports, Floyd will be fighting an opponent many thought he would never fight,” stated Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza. “We know that Floyd is the consensus number one fighter in boxing. We know that Floyd is the most talked about athlete in all of sports. We know that Floyd is by far the number one PPV draw. And together with Floyd, Showtime has become the number one PPV distributor in boxing as well.”
“And now with everyone working together, we look forward to breaking more records, and making history on May 2nd.”
Of course, Bob Arum had to interject.
“Well Stephen, everyone has their own opinions,” stated the Hall of Fame promoter. “You missed me, right Floyd?”
Freddie Roach didn’t restrain from landing a sharp, verbal cross to the reigning pound for pound champion’s ego.
“I love challenges,” stated the Hall of Fame fight trainer. “This is the biggest challenge of my entire career. We’re in the toughest fight of our life, but we’re going to kick his ass…sorry. Good luck, Floyd.”
Though Manny’s trainer had some parting shots for his May 2nd adversary, the future Hall of Fame fighter chose to give all glory and honor to his personal savior.
“I want to thank HBO and Showtime for helping to make this fight happen,” stated Manny Pacquiao. “I know everyone is very excited and it’s what everyone has wanted for a very long time. We’ll work very hard to make everyone happy on May 2nd.”
“The most important thing for me is the name of the Lord. On May 2nd, the name of the Lord will be glorified. I want everyone to know that God can raise up anyone from nothing to something. That’s me…I came from nothing to something. And I owe everything to God. He gave me this blessing, so all credit to the Lord.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr. also chose to acknowledge those who he felt was responsible for his success.
“First off, I have to thank my father,” stated the biggest name in boxing. “Unbelievable trainer and person. I need to thank Showtime, MGM Grand, the fans, Al Haymon…remarkable guy. If it weren’t for Al Haymon, my father, Leonard, and my team, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”
“It’s been a long road, but we’re here now. May 2nd, the fight of the century. Everything is about timing, and we couldn’t have chosen a better timing for this fight. Pacquiao is one of the best fighters of this era. This is a fight that no one can miss. This is an unbelievable fight. I’ve been in the gym, pushing myself to the limit. Because I’ve never wanted to win a fight so bad in my life. I know he‘s pushing himself to the limit, because I know he wants to win just as bad as I do.”
“But one thing I do know about any sport, is that once you lose, it’s in your mind. If you lose once, it’s in your mind. If you lost twice, it’s in your mind. From day one, I was always taught to be a winner no matter what. Push yourself to the limit. Stay focused and be the best that you can be.”
“On May 2nd, expect us to have a brilliant gameplan and to be the best that we can be. May 2nd…that’s when the world stops. I want everyone to tune in to the biggest fight in history. Mayweather and Pacquiao on May 2nd.”
And just like that…without the inclusion of the fans, without the drama, without any sign of bad blood, the highly anticipated press conference was concluded.
Because the energy of the fans wasn’t allowed to influence either fighter, the presser seemingly failed to live up to the massive hype created by all parties involved, as well as the thousands of media outlets around the world. Yes, the vision of Floyd and Manny staring each other down after five years of great anticipation was certainly a sight to behold.
But without the energy of the fans, the event didn’t do anything to capture the imagination of anyone who witnessed the spectacle.
On May 2nd, in front of a sold out crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, let’s hope that event plays out a little differently.