LOS ANGELES: Floyd Mayweather at 38 could be the perfect target for Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino ring icon’s trainer Freddie Roach said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
As Mayweather and Pacquiao turned out for their only joint press conference in the build-up to their May 2 mega-bout, Roach said the unbeaten Mayweather’s vaunted defensive abilities are waning.
“His legs are little bit shot. He’s slowed down quite a bit,” Roach said, adding that he believes Mayweather would have had a better chance of beating Pacquiao five years ago, when attempts to make the fight fell apart.
“He is going to have to exchange more,” Roach added — with a pithy dismissal of the idea that Mayweather has recently become more willing to go toe-to-toe in an effort to please fans.
“That’s bullshit,” Roach said. “He doesn’t care about the fans. He has to exchange more because his legs won’t take him out of the way . . . if he has to exchange with Manny Pacquiao he is in trouble.”
Mayweather brings a record of 47-0 with 26 knockouts to the bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Although Pacquiao is two years his junior, it was the Filipino whose career appeared to be on the wane after back-to-back defeats in 2012.
Since then, however, the southpaw has won three fights in a row to take his record to 57-5 with two drawn and 38 knockouts.
He’s the underdog, but said Wednesday that just adds fuel to his competitive fire.
“I like that,” Pacquiao said. “It gives me more motivation, more determination to focus on the fight and prove something.”
“It’s been a long road but we’re here now,” said the unbeaten Mayweather, as the countdown began to an eagerly awaited welterweight world title showdown in Las Vegas that has been a long — and at times fraught — five years in the making.
Filipino ring icon Pacquiao countered: “The fight is on and we’re very excited. Both of us will undergo hard training, and we will do our best on May 2 to make you happy.”
The celebrated duo seemed relaxed as they posed and chatted for a phalanx of about 600 media representatives who were recording their every move.
The deal for the fight wasn’t sealed until February 20, leaving little time for the usual pre-bout media blitz, making Wednesday’s event the only joint news conference they will conduct before fight week.
“On May 2 I have a tough test,” Mayweather said. “Manny Pacquiao is a good fighter. I can’t see how it will play out, I am not a psychic. But you best believe I will be in top shape and the best I can be.”
The American, smartly clad in a dove gray suit and pale striped shirt with diamond cufflinks winking, showed only rare glimpses of his “Money” May-weather swagger—he did predict he would emerge with his unblemished record intact.
“I believe in my skill. I believe in myself,” said Mayweather, who puts a record of 47-0 with 26 knockouts on the line.
Tickets to cost up to $7,500
Tickets for Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight will cost between $1,500 and $7,500, organizers said, but it is unclear how many will go on sale to the public.
Seats at the May 2 bout in Las Vegas promise to be one of the hottest tickets of the sporting decade, with the MGM Grand capacity limited to 16,800 people.
Many tickets are expected to be distributed to high-rollers and A-list celebrities desperate to be seen at a fight billed hyperbolically on Wednesday as the biggest bout in boxing history.