With about six weeks still left to go before Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao touch gloves at the MGM Grand, people are already getting passionate about their boxing picks. Maybe too passionate.
Last Wednesday, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao held a press conference to promote their Welterweight title fight on May 2. Unless they decide to go for coffee or shoot some hoops at the gym, that conference was the only time the two boxing greats will meet before the week of the fight. No fewer than 700 media members showed up at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. It looked more like the press conferences at the Oscars.
It was about as tame, too. No chairs were thrown, no ears were bitten off. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao had nothing but good things to say about each other. So did their rival camps. Aside from Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach taking a dig or two at Mayweather, it was all sunshine and roses. Even the television executives from HBO and Showtime were all smiles. But how long will this last? Not long, judging by the way other people are jumping on the hype train with their Boxing Picks.
The Passion Flares Again
Right off the bat, when the Boxing Odds for the Fight of the Century opened with Mayweather in the –330 range, we saw tons of early action on Pacquiao. He’s treated like a demigod in his native Philippines; Pacquiao is in their House of Representatives, where he was re-elected in 2013. He carried their Olympic flag in 2008, even though he wasn’t competing. And yes, he covered Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch.” It was glorious.
Count Ronda Rousey among Pacquiao’s legion of supporters. The undefeated UFC women’s Bantamweight champion told TMZ Sports that she’ll be rooting for Pacquiao when he enters the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. So will former WEC Featherweight champ Urijah Faber. Even now, as Pacquiao trains in Los Angeles, fans are gathering outside to watch him do his road work.
Kennedy Kennedy Kennedy
On the other side of the coin, you have 50 Cent. We’ve already told you about Fiddy’s claim that he’s going to bet $1.6 million on Mayweather. This was a very interesting development, considering the barbs the two have traded in the past. Just last month, Mr. Cent was in the Sports Illustrated offices, saying that Mayweather was “scared to death” of Pacquiao and wouldn’t fight him.
Now tennis star Andy Murray is climbing aboard the Money Train. The World’s No. 4 player told Yahoo Sports that he thinks Mayweather will have the hometown advantage in Vegas, which could make it difficult for Pacquiao to get a decision on the judges’ scorecards. He knows a thing or two about the sweet science; Murray has been a huge boxing fan for a while now, attending live events and cheering on people like Joe Calzaghe and David Haye.
This Looks Shopped
As the Fight of the Century approaches and the two rival fanbases continue to gather numbers, it seems inevitable that things will turn ugly. People are already trying to stir things up; earlier this month, several American newspapers had to apologize to Pacquiao, after printing a photo that appeared to show him training while wearing an anti-Mayweather T-shirt. It turned out to be a Photoshop job by the company that made the shirt, which featured the Pac-Man videogame character about to gobble up a dollar sign.
And just to stir things up a little more, on Sunday, Mayweather exercised his right to have an anti-doping examiner pay a surprise visit to Pacquiao. This was part of the deal the two fighters signed. Pacquiao has the right to do the same to Mayweather, under the auspices of the U.S. Anti-Doping Association. Pacquiao allowed a Filipino camera crew to film his drug test, so expect a fresh wave of anti-Mayweather sentiment to hit these shores very soon.