BANGKOK, Thailand -- Fighting legends Manny Pacquiao and Buakaw Banchamek met for the first time on stage at the Icon Siam Park in downtown Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand on Friday, to promote their exhibition match set for the first quarter of 2024.
Pacquiao, 44, a world champion in eight different weight-classes and Buakaw, 41, a retired Muay Thai star have agreed to trade blows in a six round boxing match at a catch-weight of 70 kilos (about 154 pounds), in clash billed by the show promoter Vinij Lertratanachai as "The Match of Legend."
The rounds will have 3 minutes each with a rest time of two minutes, instead of one minute as it is in a sanctioned boxing match.
Since the clash will be under boxing rules, Buakaw will only be allowed to use his hands, a new modality for him as the Thai star has been a combatant in Muay Thai, the ancient martial art form in which strikes with elbows, knees and kicks are perfectly normal and permitted.
During the press conference, Pacquiao expressed his excitement to be back in Thailand, the Kingdom where he captured his first world title.
"I'm happy to be back here. My last fight here was in 1998," said the smiling Pacquiao.
The "Pacman" added that he will go on to get in shape for the exhibition, sharing his belief that his "opponent" Buakaw might have trouble adjusting to boxing, a sport he has never practiced.
"I need to prepare, knowing I will need at least 90% to deal with Buakaw," thinks the 44-year-old veteran, living in General Santos City in Southern Philippines.
"Muay Thai, I like. But I think it must be difficult using all those elbows and kicks and knees. Probably Muay Thai is harder than boxing."
The fight is "real" said Pacquiao, adding that fans will be advised by the promoter about the exact date, venue, ticket prices and info on the PPV.
It was not disclosed exactly how much each fighter will earn, although the promoter assured the audience that the total investment for the show is about $25 million.
Also present during the open-air press conference was the president of MP Promotions Sean Gibbons of Las Vegas, as well as Pacquiao's wife, Jinky.
The Filipino global icon will stay in Thailand for two more days, planning to return to his home in the Philippines on Sunday.
The author, boxing reporter Carlos Costa, was in attendance at the Pacquiao-Buakaw presser. Carlos can be reached at email@example.com and whatsapp +639184538152.