Calm before the storm

Ed C. Tolentino

Ed C. Tolentino

At least three things merited the attention of this deadline-beater in the recent press conference that officially launched the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd May-weather Jr. mega clash.

First, Mayweather Jr. conducted himself in a surprisingly cordial manner. The undefeated American looked and sounded prim and proper, judiciously selecting his words and acknowledging the importance of just about everyone in the podium. When trainer Freddie Roach talked about kicking his ass, Mayweather Jr. remained calm and refused to get his feathers ruffled.

Going into the press conference, just about everyone was on the lookout for uncalled for and possibly even profanity-laced rants from Mayweather Jr. and his entourage. But knowing that the sporting world was tuned in on the event, Mayweather Jr. showed up in his best behavior. He did pounce on the fact that he has never been beaten and that Pacquiao has suffered losses. When he averred that losing stays in the mind, he was obviously referring to the harrowing knockout loss of Pacquiao to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and how its effects might manifest and affect the Filipino’s focus come their showdown.

Truth be told, there was no need for theatrics in the press conference because the fight was already a guaranteed box-office success from the moment it was signed and sealed. As a safety precaution though, Floyd’s father Floyd May-weather Sr. was no longer allowed to talk. Promoter Bob Arum diplomatically kept Mayweather Sr. in check, even occasionally referring to them as good friends.

Second, both Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao were in agreement that their fight is destined to elevate the sport of pro boxing. Mayweather Jr. shrugged off the delay in making of the fight and claimed that it was all about timing. He had previously said that it was never his intention to dodge Pacquiao and that he only wanted to sweeten the pot. In terms of dollars, the statement makes a lot of cents, err sense. The fighters would not be on the verge of bankrolling gazillion dollars today if the match was held five years ago as originally planned. The delay that attended the negotiations only whetted the fans’ appetite.

Mayweather Jr. acknowledged Pacquiao as a worthy adversary and mused that it is only right for the best to fight the best. Pacquiao was more humble in his approach, even sounding more like he was about to preach words from the Bible. Ultimately, Pacquiao expressed his gratitude at being part of such a historic event. As the eight-division champion stressed, he came from having nothing to be being something.

Lastly, Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao talked about the kind of pressure they will carry in the ring. Pacquiao talked about fighting for his people and faith while May-weather Jr. zeroed in on  his intention to stay undefeated. On the surface, the pressure Pacquiao carries on his shoulders make for a Hercu-lean load, but it is a burden he has been carrying from the time he became a boxing star. For Maywea-ther, Jr., the pressure is more confined  to boxing, particularly on his intention to keep his  ledger immaculate.

Overall, the press conference went according to its storyline. No untoward incident took place because the organizers made it a point to keep everybody in check. Of course, this is only the proverbial calm before the storm. The situation may take a drastic turn at the official weigh-in when the anticipation of the fans is at fever pitch and the boxers are in full combat mode. One can only hope that the ride will remain smooth and that the boxers will save all their pent-up emotions for that moment when the bell finally rings.

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