Mayweather, Pacquiao start long build-up

Standing on a red carpet almost as long as what’s rolled out at the Oscars, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were expected to add hype to their mega fight.


Mayweather is expected to pocket $US240 million ($A316.58 million), win or lose, from the long-awaited welterweight world-title showdown in Las Vegas in May.

Pacquiao will take around $US140 million ($A184.67 million).

But, at Wednesday’s “official kickoff” press conference in Los Angeles, the boxers’ words appeared aimed at dousing the hype.

“It’s just another fight,” Mayweather, the undefeated welterweight champion, shrugging his shoulders on the red carpet, said.

“I was more worried about my fights with Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto,” Pacquiao, who destroyed both fighters, said.

Mayweather and Pacquiao, followed by entourages bigger than what trail heads of state, made their way from the red carpet into the theatre and then to the stage where the boxers stood toe-to-toe and locked eyes.

The smaller Pacquiao tilted his neck up to reduce the height difference.

“It’s great to be part of an event that so elevates the sport of boxing,” Paqcuiao’s manager, Bob Arum, who compared the fight to the Olympics and Super Bowl, said.

Talk of a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown has existed for almost a decade, but despite being among the top two boxers in the world in comparable weight divisions, animosity between their camps, bickering over drug tests and contracts with rival US TV networks meant it was unlikely a super fight would happen.

An apparent chance meeting at a Miami Heat NBA game on January 27 led to the fighters, without their handlers present, working out a path to follow.

While Mayweather and Pacquiao were on their best behaviour, it was Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach who tossed petrol on the fire.

“We’re going to kick his ass,” Roach told the press conference attended by 600 reporters.

Soon after, Mayweather took his turn at the microphone.

He was full of praise for Pacquiao, but the well-behaved Mayweather, with the clock running down on the press event, politely played some mental warfare.

Mayweather has a 47-0 professional record.

The biggest knock on Pacquiao is the 36-year-old Filipino is past his prime and lost five, drawn two of his 64 fights.

“One thing I do know about any sport, when you lose it’s in your mind,” Mayweather, 38, said.

“If you lost once, it’s in your mind.

“If you lost twice, it’s in your mind.”