LAS VEGAS – Boxing has never seen a weigh-in like this. Maybe because people expect never to see a fight like the one that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will have on Saturday.
Thus, an ordinary activity where one boxer strips to his shorts, flexes his muscle, gets on the scale and then have his weight announced, has become a spectacle because of The Fight.
Nearly 12,000 boxing fans turned up at the MGM Grand Arena, site of Saturday’s 12-rounder, leaving boxing experts stunned and dumbfounded.
They were shouting and waving in expressing their choice of fighter. On this occasion, Pacquiao appeared to have the more passionate following as some boos were directed at Mayweather when he was called to the weighing scale.
Both fighters spoke briefly, and the common thread was they were ready.
Pacquiao was asked what he told Mayweather in their “stare down” and the Filipino said he it was to thank him.
“Thank him for what?” the interviewer said.
“I thanked him for making this fight possible.”
Pacquiao wore a T-shirt that bore the inscription “All glory and honor belongs to God,” on the back and “Jesus is the name of the Lord” in front.
The promoters had correctly predicted that the usually free weigh in ceremony would be crushed by spectators and a $10 entry fee was charged to limit the number. But the $10 ticket quickly ballooned to $100 in the black market. Proceeds have been earmarked for charity groups.
Even the working media had to undergo some control. Each needed a ticket issued hours before the weigh in before he or she could get in.
But there was no stopping the crowd.
The weigh in was to start at 3 p.m. Las Vegas time, but as early as 12 noon massive crowds were already forming at the entrances, creating a security nightmare.
And by the time Pacquiao and Mayweather strode to the stage, only very few seats were unoccupied.
Pacquiao’s wife, Jinky, his five children, and his mother Dionisia, were in attendance.
The crowd was a happy mix, too, with the well-dressed co-mingling with the informally-attired.
The affair had the vibe and feel of a big fight night with gorgeous women clad in super-sexy tight shorts and skirts and plunging necklines making a lot of heads turn.
Security was tight with K9 units scattered all around and police officers and security personnel were out in full force. Just imagine how it would be on fight night.
Ring announcer Michael Buffer, he with the booming voice, tried to pump up the crowd by shouting the name of Mayweather but the response was anemic. When Buffer mentioned Pacquiao’s name, the crowd went wild.
Before Pacquiao started his walk to the stage, he took a selfie with his entire team behind him. There were reports that Pacquiao will soon be an endorser of a company that produces smart phones and other gadgets and the reason why he has been shown taking photos.
Mayweather, unbeaten in 47 fights, came shortly with boos drowning the cheers after Jimmy Lennon made a rousing introduction.
The reaction and expression on boxers’ faces delivered different messages.