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It?s like going to a party


PhilBoxing.com


LAS VEGAS. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said there?s no doubt in his mind that Manny Pacquiao will beat Floyd Mayweather in their scheduled 12-round WBC/WBA/WBO unified welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here this morning (Manila time).

?I was with Floyd for 10 1/2 years (as his promoter),? said Arum. ?I know his weaknesses and I can?t see him winning over Manny. Floyd struggles with southpaws and Manny will be the fastest and hardest-hitting southpaw he?s faced.?

Arum said the pressure to win weighs heavily on Mayweather?s shoulders. Mayweather is out to preserve his unbeaten 47-0 record and re-establish himself as the world?s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. He?s staking both his WBC and WBA crowns. Pacquiao is putting his WBO belt on the line and stands to gain a lot more than Mayweather with a victory.

?Manny?s feeling no pressure,? said Arum. ?It?s like he?s going to a party. I think his spirituality has made him a better fighter and more importantly, a better person. I?m kind of a spiritual person myself so I know the transformation that Manny went through. There?s no pressure at all for Manny.?

Arum said when all is said and done, the better man will win. ?I know that Mayweather is a skilled fighter but Manny brings a lot more to the table,? he said. Arum added that it?s not about boxing IQ or even heart. What will determine the outcome is what each fighter is able to show in the ring, he said.

Arum said Pacquiao?s conditioning will propel him to victory. ?I?ve spent more time watching Manny train for this fight than any other fight and I haven?t seen him in better condition,? he continued. ?Mayweather?s legs aren?t what they used to be. Still, I think it?ll be a great fight. Mayweather won?t be able to run away from Manny because he?s slowed down a bit. I just hope this won?t be an old man?s fantasy.?

Although the fight should?ve happened five or six years ago, Arum said it?s better late than never. ?I?ve never seen anything like it in terms of global interest,? he said. ?Even those who aren?t boxing fans are tuned in to the fight. I was involved in the first Ali-Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden and at that time, it had a lot of political implications because Ali opposed the US involvement in the Vietnam war. But that was years ago. There was no social media, no domestic satellite. Now, it?s a new era where communication is instantaneous. Anything that happens, there?s a tweet or an instagram. I could never have envisaged something like this to be so huge. I don?t think there?s a sporting event that is as exciting. It?s a tribute to both fighters that sponsors are pouring in money for this fight like Tecate of Mexico and Smart of the Philippines. Manny is being supported by Nestle, Butterfinger cups, Foot Locker, Nike and so on. The support has been tremendous for Manny in this respect and for Mayweather, it?s zero. It doesn?t look like sponsors want to be associated with him.?

Arum said Pacquiao will be faster against Mayweather than he was against Oscar de la Hoya. ?He seems to be stronger now than he was for De la Hoya,? said Arum. ?Manny?s condition is a lot better Am I nervous? I think we all are. We?re all rooting for Manny but it?s Manny who?s relaxed. It?s like he has no care in the world. He tells me don?t be nervous because I?ll be doing the fighting, not me.?

As for the possibility of a rematch or even a third bout, Arum said he?s not thinking that far ahead. ?Let?s get this fight over with then we?ll meet,? he said. ?After one or two months, I?ll talk with Manny and start planning for his next fight. My message to all the fans is like Manny says, don?t be nervous. Let?s be as confident as Manny. I?ll be at ringside cheering for our guy. We?ll win decisively.?


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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