Manny Pacquiao '100% confident' of beating Floyd Mayweather

By Ben DirsBBC Sport in Las Vegas
Pacquiao and Mayweather talk to the press ahead of the big fight weekend
Mayweather v Pacquiao
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Date: 2/3 May: 21:00 local time/05:00 Sunday BST
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were greeted by thousands of fans in Las Vegas as they arrived ahead of the weekend's super-fight at MGM Grand.

American legend Mayweather, 38, and Filipino great Pacquiao, 36, are meeting for the WBC, WBA and WBO welterweight titles.

It will be the richest fight in history, with the two protagonists set to split in the region of £150m.

"Don't get nervous," Pacquiao told his fans. "I'm the one fighting, so relax."

Mayweather has never been beaten in 47 fights since turning pro in 1996, whereas Pacquiao has lost five of his 64 bouts.

Pacquiao added: "I'm very excited and my confidence is 100%.

"Any time I am the underdog, I like that. It means my killer instinct and focus is fully there. This is the moment I believe he will experience his first loss."

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Five-weight world champion Mayfeather responded: "I'm more calculated, I'm the smarter fighter. He would be a better fighter if he wasn't so reckless.

"He's won a lot of fights by being reckless but you can be reckless and get knocked out. Just compare our fights against Juan Manuel Marquez - I beat Marquez and Marquez knocked him out."

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Owing to promotional differences - Pacquiao is handled by the veteran Bob Arum, Mayweather by himself - Pacquiao snubbed the scheduled 'grand arrival' at the MGM Grand in favour of his own alternative.

A bizarre spectacle was staged at the Mandalay Bay Hotel for the benefit of Pacquiao's loyal supporters, many of whom have flown in from the Philippines especially for the fight.

The hour-long show cut between hip-hop and traditional Philippine singing and dancing, before Pacquiao took to the stage to assuage their pre-fight nerves.

Mayweather and Pacquiao on their upcoming fight

Six-weight world champion Pacquiao appeared extremely relaxed, taking photographs as he was interviewed by the massed ranks of the world's media.

Mayweather's arrival show took place in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where the fight will take place in the early hours of Sunday morning, UK time.

The venue, which holds 16,000, was roughly a third full and Mayweather's fans were treated to a marching hip-hop band, in full regalia, and dancing girls.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, revealed that Pacquiao had helped devise a strategy for a fight for the first time since they started working together 14 years ago.

"We have a very good game-plan to win this fight," Roach told BBC Sport. "If a knockout comes, we'll be thrilled. But at welterweight, Manny's really not that big a puncher.

"But his speed will overwhelm Floyd, that's what we're counting on. It will be very difficult for Floyd to win this fight just by running and at some point he will have to exchange.

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"We've been working on throwing flurries of punches - because Floyd doesn't throw on the counter until you're done - before getting out of the pocket real quick.

"I've never seen Manny better than this, he's risen to the occasion. He knows the whole world is going to be watching and he knows he has to win this fight."

Mayweather responded: "Everybody's game-plan against me is to throw lots of punches. It hasn't worked in 19 years and 47 fights.

"If that's the game-plan, then we'll just have to see how everything plays out on Saturday."

Mexican great Marquez, who has fought Pacquiao four times and was beaten by Mayweather in 2009, picked the latter to prevail.

"Pacquiao needs to pressurise Mayweather and land punches with speed, power and accuracy," said Marquez, who had lost twice against Pacquiao and drawn once before knocking him out in shocking fashion in 2012.

"But Mayweather uses distance very well, is hard to hit and lands with counter-punches. Mayweather wins because he's got such a difficult style."

Floyd Mayweather
Mayweather thanked his promotional team and his fans
Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao took a selfie in front of his fans
Manny Pacquiao masks
Manny Pacquiao masks were held up at Floyd Mayweather's fan rally


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