Freddie Roach pulled his own luggage crossing the MGM Grand lobby Monday evening while Manny Pacquiao was hosting dinner for close to a hundred guests at his luxurious, two-storey suite on the 29th floor.
Roach took the 269-mile, five-hour road trip from Los Angeles in his own car. Pacquiao and his family rode a customized van. The bulk of his friends and supporters packed an all-black bus with leather interior.
Keith Thurman, who will defend his WBA “super” welterweight crown on Saturday, arrived just hours ahead, on board a private jet, from St. Petersburg in Florida with just a handful of companions.
A Team Pacquiao insider said the Filipino ring icon is expecting a total of 600 guests that would require 120 rooms at the MGM.
It’s fight week here in Vegas.
Pacquiao, the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions, capped his training in Los Angeles just past 2 p.m., and has indicated his readiness for summer’s biggest boxing event in Vegas.
Roach watched from his corner as the 40-year-old Pacquiao sparred four rounds against Abraham Lopez, and another six rounds pounding the mitts and shadow-boxing.
The American boxing guru said Pacquiao is all set. Asked to rate his boxer’s condition, on a scale of 1 to 10, he said, “Ten.”
“He’s ready,” said Roach, whispering.
Pacquiao had wanted a couple more rounds in training at the Wild Card Gym but was prevailed upon.
“Kulang pa (I want more),” he said. One of his Filipino trainers, Roger Fernandez, said, “Reserve it. Tama na (That’s enough).”
Pacquiao started out as the underdog when the fight was formally announced last May. Thurman, the younger fighter, then was at -140, meaning it would take $140 to win a hundred.
The Filipino senator was at +115, meaning $100 wins $115. But the tide has turned, and as of Monday, Pacquiao stood as the heavy favorite at -155, and Thurman at +125.
“Ako na ba? (Am I?),” said Pacquiao when asked to comment on his familiar role as the favorite.
The formal arrival ceremony for the two boxers will take place Tuesday afternoon at the MGM to be followed by the final press conference on Wednesday and the official weigh-in on Friday.
Pacquiao can’t wait for the fight.
“I’m ready,” said the fighter, who wants to prove that at 40, he can still dominate the sport as much as he did a decade ago.
“Yes, that’s what I’m trying to prove this time because we know that a lot of our fans and people in boxing were doubting my capability at the age of 40,” he told the press.—Source: Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star)