By Ronnie Nathanielsz
FLOYD Mayweather Jr., who will face Manny Pacquiao in a massive showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 2, has already started loosening up before he begins serious training for what is arguably the greatest fight in the history of boxing.
Mayweather’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza told the Manila Standard/Viva Sports that he is scheduled to sit down with the undisputed pound-for-pound king and undefeated WBC/WBA welterweight champion on Tuesday to discuss terms of his conditioning.
Mayweather has already said his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., will handle his training at the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas and the two-division world champion has talked about his training already.
Pacquiao has been training quietly for the past two weeks in the Pacman Wild Card Gym in his hometown of General Santos City and has looked sharp.
He spent Sunday morning preaching at a praise and worship service in the “Word For Everyone” church. He will go running at 6 a.m. on Monday and told Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN that he would play in the PBA game of KIA Carnival on Wednesday.
When asked what he believes his advantage over Mayweather is, Pacquiao replied “speed.”
In what may be considered the beginning of a “psy war” campaign, Mayweather claimed in an interview with his close friend and supporter Ben Thompson of Fight Hype: “We forced them to fight. We gave them no choice. Al (Haymon) and Bob (Arum) and HBO and Showtime were going back and forth, trying to make the fight happen. It was a battle, but everybody is happy now and it’s time to give the people what they want to see.”
Mayweather recalled “ Everyone was saying, ‘Sign the contract! Sign the contract!’ As soon as Arum signed and as soon as Manny signed, Al Haymon brought the contract right to me and I signed the contract with no problem at all.”
In a somewhat surprising twist and change of attitude, Mayweather made it clear: “I’m not here to say anything negative about Bob or say anything negative about Manny. That’s not my job to do. I’m a boxer/entertainer and my job is to go out there and entertain and be the best that I can be. I’m just happy that we were able to make the fight happen. I can’t wait.”
Asked how importantly he viewed the Pacquiao fight, Mayweather replied: “I don’t feel that one fight defines my legacy. To me, it’s just another day. It’s just another fight. I mean, when you just look at the tale of the tape, I have a longer reach, I’m taller, I’m stronger, and I’m more accurate. I think I’ve seen a major change in Pacquiao when Alex Ariza left his training camp. Which is a great thing Alex is working with me now. He’s a strength and conditioning coach and he’s a great guy.”