LAS VEGAS – The Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight is all about records. Why should the weigh-in be any different?
A reported 11,500 fans paid $10 each (or a possibly a lot more if they went through a broker) for the privilege of watching Mayweather and Pacquiao step onto a scale at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the site of tomorrow’s fight. 11,500? For a weigh-in? That has to be a new standard. And those present, pumped with enthusiasm, seemed to love every minute of it.
Entertainer Doug E. Fresh did an excellent job as MC, keeping the energy level higher than most actual fights. Chants of “Manny! Manny! Manny!” rocked the arena numerous times and Mayweather had his supporters too.
It was akin to a college pep rally, only both teams were present for the festivities.
“I think the fans really enjoyed it. It was like a big party,” said Mikko Marttinen, a Finnish writer who had never seen anything like it. None of us had.
Pacquiao made his way to the ring first, grinning from ear to ear from the time we could see him. He basked in the moment as his many fans expressed their love for him. Mayweather, too, embraced the scene. He seemed looser at the weigh-in than he had in the preceding days, when he seemed burdened.
It was the perfect time to let one’s guard down.
“The fans deserve this fight,” said Pacquiao, who weighed a pound less than Mayweather – 145 to 146. The welterweight limit is 147.
The only time when the event became serious at all was during the obligatory face off, when Mayweather and Pacquaio stood nose to nose and stared into one another’s eyes.
Pacquiao actually had a smirk on his face, perhaps an indication of how relaxed he is. Mayweather was dead serious, as he apparently shifted back into fight mode in an instant.
They won’t meet again until they step into the ring Saturday evening, when the MGM Grand Garden Arena will rock again.