Earlier today, at around 4 a.m. (Manila Time), the final press conference for the Super Bowl of Boxing was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The event, one of the last important gatherings for Mayweather-Pacquiao, served as another reminder that, in case you're still thinking it's too good to be true, THIS FIGHT IS REALLY HAPPENING!
We caught the final presser live to bring you all the juiciest quotes, passive-aggressive statements, and epal moments from the people who made this fight possible, including of course Manny and Floyd.
Prepare to raise your hype tolerance meter, fellow eager fans, this one's really mouthy! #SanaSundayNa
- CEO, Mayweather Promotions
- Aka The Panchito To Floyd's Dolphy
The the first speaker at the podium, Mr. Ellebre came in with a chill yet confident look. He and Money go back a long way, first acting as the boxer's advisor starting in 1997 until becoming the head honcho of Mayweather Promotions. So, you know, it's kinda obvious to whom his loyalty lies, hence, quotes like these:
- "This next man to the podium, he doesn't need an introduction..."
Witty, right? Well, not really. Leonard follwed that up with this:
- He's an 11-time world champion in five different weight classes. He's originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He fights out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He's the current WBC and WBA Welterweight World Champion. He's won five ESPY Fighter of the Year awards over the past seven years, one of which was in 2013. Over the course of his career, the Boxing Writers Association of America, the Ring Magazine, B.E.T. and Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame have all honored him as Fighter of the Year. He's been named the world's highest-paid athlete by Forbes Magazine, ESPN, [and] Sports Illustrated which is truly a testament to his incredible popularity around the world. On May 2nd, he faces a great challenge in Manny Pacquiao. This [is] the fight that the world has been waiting for. So without further ado, it gives me great pride to introduce the best fighter in the world, none other than Floyd Mayweather."
Yep, Floyd really "doesn't need an introduction."
- Commissioner, Nevada Athletic Commission
- Aka Chief of Police
Second to the stand was Aguilar who, with a reassuring tone, said that the Nevada Athletic Commission's officials are in tip-top condition to manage the fight. We sure hope so, we don't want a controversial end to (probably) the biggest boxing match we'll witness in our lifetime.
- "The officials [for the fight] have worked their entire career to ensure they're prepared for any fight. They've studied, they've trained, and they've proven they can do the job."
- "Let me be clear, we are ready [for the fight]."
- Chairman, Top Rank, Inc.
- Aka Manny's guardian
We look at Mr. Arum as Manny's guardian because he always seems to have our Pambansang Kamao's back. With a grandfatherly tone, he continuously thanked everyone who helped make the megabout possible and made it clear how important this fight is for boxing. He also heaped countless praises to Team Pacquiao because #LoveYourOwn.
He was third to speak and actually acted as the proceedings' host, together with Ellerbe. As a result, he had the most airtime of all the speakers.
- "I also want to thank Lucia [McKelvey, Marketing Director for Top Rank] for securing great sponsorships for our hero Manny Pacquiao namely Footlocker, Nike, Wonderful Pistachio, Nestle, Butterfinger Cup, and a surprise sponsor that will be revealed in the next two days and will knock everybody's socks off."
We're pretty sure BIR Commissioner Kim Henares took this down word-for-word.
- "When people say Freddie Roach is the greatest [boxing] trainer of all time, I second that."
- "It's wonderful for the sport of boxing to have a man [Manny Pacquiao] who is not only devoted to charity but is [also] an official congressman in his own country, a man who believes it is his obligation to enter politics to help the people of his country."
Love you, Lolo Bob!
FRANCISCO "PACO" VALCARCEL
- President, World Boxing Organization
- Aka Man of Few Words
The WBO president spoke with a mild tone and kept it short and simple; opting to go with only a short story (read it below) that perfectly embodies everything he wanted to let people know.
- "A young boxing fan asked me in Spanish. 'Mr. Paco, Mr. Paco, who's gonna win this fight?' My answer was boxing is uncertain. In boxing, anything can happen. And at the end, the winner will be the boxing world and the boxing fan."
Slow clap, everyone!
- President, HBO Sports
- Aka Chief Cable Guy
He spoke with a scowl on his face, which underlined the serious tone of the press conference. Hershman also thanked his HBO team for covering and making fights like this available to the viewing public.
- "Since the moment the fight was announced our talented team has been working tirelessly with everyone associated with this marquee event to give this the look and feel of the biggest Super Bowl in boxing history and I think we've succeeded."
- "To Manny and Floyd, thank you. For the world and the sport of boxing, we really owe a deep debt of gratitude to both of you for taking this challenge."
- General Manager, Showtime Sports
- Aka Bob Arum's Favorite Person
Espinoza came to the stand with confidence and the stage swag of someone's who knows what he's talking about. His speech on the true value of an event like this put everything into perspective.
- "With all the hoopla, the crowds, the big business, the promotion, sometimes we forget why we're here, sometimes we forget what this event is all about. This isn't about networks, this isn't about a bunch of guys in suits in New York City. This isn't about promoters. This is about two world-class athletes, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who have been working for weeks and weeks, all of their lives really, to get to this precise moment."
In reaction to that, his "best friend" Lolo Bob had this to say:
- "I usually don't agree with much of what Stephen Espinoza says, as you know, but when he says that this event is not about promoters, not about networks, it's about the two fighters, that is absolutely the case."
- Former Ilocos Sur Governor
- Aka Manny's BFF/This Press Conference's Justin Bieber
It was already surprising to see Governor Chavit sitting on the panel together with Team Pacquiao, but to hear him speak as part of the press conference as well? Expect a shitload of #Epal memes targeted at him from local netizens! (Actually, here are some of 'em!)
Bob Arum called him and it was obvious that he was nervous. Money can't buy confidence, it seems.
- "Distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Bob, for this opportunity to thank each and every one of you, especially the media, MGM, and Mr. Mayweather, Bob Arum, Showtime and HBO, and everybody. Without all of you, we won't be here today. Thank you so much."
- Trainer, Manny Pacquiao
- Aka The Master
Coach Freddie kept it simple and didn't hurl any verbal jabs at anyone from the Mayweather camp.
- "We have a good team, we've put together a great strategy and we're ready for the biggest fight of our life."
- "This is big, I've never seen anything like this in my life."
The last one is still about the fight, in case you're wondering. #GreenMinded
- First and only 8-division world champion
- Aka Fighting Pride of the Philippines
Image via Toprank.com
Manny's speech felt a bit like a religious sermon. Delivered with his trademark smiley face, he shared how much he owes to God and how thankful he is for the life he's living now. Not that we didn't expect it; Pac-Man is among the most religious fighters we've ever seen.
- "I used to sleep in the streets, you know, starving, hungry, and now I cannot imagine the Lord raised me in this position and gave me these blessings. I cannot imagine that the boy that didn't have food or slippers and sleeping in the streets, He raised me [to] this level of life."
- "I'm hoping that, after the fight we can have a conversation with Floyd, you know, sharing my faith about God. There's nothing [wrong] about that, you know, sharing my faith about God, how we need to believe we can inspire more people."
FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
- Undefeated pound-for-pound king
- The Philippines' Public Enemy No. 1 on Sunday
The last man to speak at the podium was Mayweather. Those who expected him to be his "normal" self were again disappointed. Like in the first press conference, he acted disciplined and had none of the pre-fight antics he's notorious for. But that's understandable. He needs to be serious for this one since this is definitely the biggest fight of his career.
- "This has been a truly amazing event, amazing turn out. Training camp has [been] remarkable. My dad has done a tremendous job working with my uncle Roger Mayweather. We had great chemistry throughout training camp."
- "Freddie Roach, you guys have done a tremendous job."
- "To all the Filipino fans who have supported Manny Pacquiao, you know, thus far, I wanna thank you guys."
- "That's what both competitors bring to the table, excitement. The biggest fight in boxing history, and I'm a part of this so, that's a great thing."
- "I feel good, I feel strong, and I'll see you guys Saturday."
We bet you're as pumped up for this fight as we are right now!
Here's the full video of the press conference (WARNING: It's an hour long, something your boss might not appreciate you watching at company time. But screw him, right?)
Video via HBO Boxing
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