Hype Officially Begins For Mayweather-Pacquiano Fight

Mar 12, 2015
Originally published on March 13, 2015 9:45 am
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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's face it; boxing is not what it used to be. The sport hardly captures the imagination the way it did in the days of, say, Muhammad Ali. Now, however, the sport is preparing for a huge matchup. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are considered the two best boxers of their generation. And at last, they're scheduled to fight, May 2. The hype started ramping up yesterday at a joint press conference. NPR's Tom Goldman was there.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: The Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles has had its share of red carpet moments - the Emmys, the American Music Awards. Yesterday, boxing got the glam treatment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Right here, Manny. Manny, up top.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Manny. Manny, right in front please?

GOLDMAN: The boxers stopped along the carpet for photos and interviews. Then, it was into the theater for the main event, their first and only joint press conference that surely would be peppered with fighting words. After all, it's a match more than five years in the making - five years that had built acrimony between the rival boxers and their camps. Yet, here's Pacquiao.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

MANNY PACQUIAO: We're, both of us - we're going to undergo a hard training. And we - we will do our best and - on May 2 - to make you happy.

GOLDMAN: OK, certainly Mayweather, whose mouth runs as fast as a flurry of his dazzling punches - certainly he'd give the proceedings some needed edginess. But...

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

FLOYD MAYWEATHER, JR: I never wanted to win a fight so bad in my life. And I'm pretty sure he's going to push himself to the limit because he just - he wants to win just the same way I want to win.

GOLDMAN: It took Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, to bring a little theater into the theater.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

FREDDIE ROACH: We are in the toughest fight of our life. We're fighting the best fighter in the world. And we're going to kick his [expletive]. I'm sorry, but good luck, Floyd.

(APPLAUSE)

GOLDMAN: Roach scored the only knock-down on hype day number one. Take heart, fight fans, 52 days left to ramp things up. It's sure to happen. It's boxing, a sport, one insider told me, where you don't stab your enemies in the back. You do it in the front. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.