LAS VEGAS – The trainers for Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, Freddie Roach and Naazim Richardson, respectively, and the fighters who will compete on Saturday’s undercard met with the press Thursday at MGM Grand.
This Saturday, May 7, at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena, eight-division world champion Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, will defend his WBO welterweight title against three-division world champion Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), of Pomona, Calif., in the main event of a four-fight telecast produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Those who buy the event online will get features unique to the digital platform through NeuLion’s technology. The enhanced and unique viewing offers a four-shot, multi-angle dynamic player that will allow viewers to interact and feel an enriched experience. The online pay-per-view is exclusive to U.S. viewers. Select cable and satellite TV systems will also be offering the pay-per-view live stream.
Closed circuit tickets, priced at $50, are on sale and available at all Las Vegas MGM Resorts properties.
WBO junior featherweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (20-0-1, 17 KOs), of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, will make his Las Vegas debut and third title defense when he faces five-time world champion Jorge Arce (56-6-2, 43 KOs), of Los Mochis, México, former world middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs), of Youngstown, Ohio, meets undefeated WBC Continental Americas super middleweight titleholder Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez (21-0, 16 KOs), of Cut and Shoot, Texas, in a 10-round super middleweight battle; and Mike Alvarado (29-0, 21 KOs), of Denver takes on “Sugar” Ray Narh (25-1, 21 KOs) of Accra, Ghana, in a 10-round super lightweight match.
The mega-event is promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions, Tecate and MGM Grand.
The trainers discussed Saturday’s main event in a separate roundtable session with the media Thursday while the fighters spoke at a press conference hosted by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.
What the participants said Thursday:
“Manny will be Shane’s toughest opponent. Shane cannot stay on his toes for long and move. From Day 1, Manny’s attitude for this training camp has been spectacular.
“Normally when he runs, we start out on the flats and work our way up to the hills. This time he started with the hills. His attitude has not changed since the first day.
“The key to Manny’s success in a fight is keeping himself in position. We have a gameplan and he will stick with it. Shane is the best fighter with speed and punching combinations that Manny has ever fought, but Manny’s going to beat him down the middle and with overhand rights followed by the left hook.
“I encourage Manny to knock out more of his opponents. I tell him that because there is more money in it for him if he knocks out his opponents. Too many times he makes friends with his opponents during a fight and he avoids knocking them out. He does just enough to win the rounds.
“When he was beating De La Hoya, he came back after a round and I knew De La Hoya was ready to go. I told Manny it was ‘your job to KO him.’ And I still believe that. It’s his job to KO his opponents when he can.
“Manny would have been perfect in the golden era of boxing -- fighting twice a month in 15-round bouts. He’s better now and works harder than he ever has in his career.
“I have a great deal of respect for Naazim Richardson. He knows how to get through to his fighters.
“Manny’s message (of working hard, don’t give up) appeals personally to me. I didn’t give up with all my problems (Parkinson’s disease). You work through it, make the best of it. I chose this profession. I don’t resent what boxing did to me.’’
“You get the opportunity to face Pacquiao, you take advantage of it. Anyone or anything that Shane can hit, he will hurt.
“I grew up in an era in Philadelphia where trainers would talk to each other. But there are only a limited amount of jobs at this level, and the trust level now isn’t what it was years ago.
“If we could get sparring partners like Manny Pacquiao, he wouldn’t be sparring with us, he’d be defending his title. Pacquiao is not just a guy off the streets. He is a legendary athlete. The last fighter I saw like Pacquiao was Aaron Pryor.
“But he’s never been hit by anybody like Shane.
“Shane has to do what he does best. We have a great gameplan. You can’t match what Pacquiao does unless you’ve been doing it your entire career. So Shane has to play to his own strengths. Shane was one of the legendary boxers of his area. He is very smart and knows what he wants to do.
“Shane is a gladiator and will be prepared for everything, and his experience is a great strength. Pacquiao starts fast, almost abnormally fast, but Shane can adapt and will. He’s ready to fight 12 hard rounds.’’
WILFREDO VAZQUEZ JR.
“I’m very happy to be fighting on a big show like this. Arce is talking about a knockout? He is crazy – I’m ready for him.
“Arce is a great fighter, a great champion and he has a lot of guts. But the knockout is not going to happen. I fight for my family and I’m going to win on Saturday night.”
“I know that everyone will be watching on Saturday night because Manny Pacquiao will be fighting. I don’t know what will happen but only one thing is for sure – I’ll win by knockout.”
“The story has been done, everything has been written. But what hasn’t been talked about is how zeroed in I am for this fight. This is a hungry kid, he’s undefeated and he’s looking to make a statement in his career. We didn’t take him lightly. He’s a tough kid with a lot of knockouts and he’s a great opponent to come back to.
“The energy level of this training camp is the best I’ve had in my career. I’m ready to show the boxing world that we’re back and we’re ready to make our stamp in this division.”
“What an amazing event to be a part of. I had a great camp. This is going to be a tough fight. Pavlik is a great champion. He’s very strong and we all know what he can do in the ring. I’m just ready to get in there and fight.”
“I need to win this fight to get to the next level for all the great champions in front of me. Saturday night is going to be a very explosive and intense fight. I’ve had a great camp and I’m ready to go.”
“I’m here to take care of business. I can’t lose. He brings everything to the table and that’s what I like. It will bring the best out of me. I know he’s going to come ready to fight but I’ll be the one with my hand raised at the end.”