‘Big fight not good vs evil’

LAS VEGAS. — Floyd Mayweather said on Wednesday his long-awaited boxing showdown with Manny Pacquiao isn’t a battle of good and evil as the two rivals went eyeball-to-eyeball at their final pre-fight Press conference. “I am a realist,” said Mayweather, the 38-year-old American who has parlayed a perfect 47-0 ring record into a reign as the highest paid sportsman on the planet.

“This fight is not good versus evil. It is one fighter who is at the top and another.”

Pacquiao, a two-term congressman touted as a potential future president of the Philippines, is beloved as a humanitarian in his native land.

A devout Christian who has put womanising and gambling days behind him, Pacquiao said on Wednesday that his main aim in taking on Mayweather in what will be the richest fight in boxing history was to inspire the weak and glorify God.

Mayweather, an energetic trash-talker in his younger days, hasn’t been afraid to compare himself favourably to Muhammad Ali, or to flaunt the perks his wealth has brought – houses, cars, even an airplane.

Nor is Mayweather a stranger to violence out of the ring, serving jail time for one of several incidents of domestic violence.

None of that will matter tomorrow night, when the two climb into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“I believe in my skills. I believe I will be victorious,” said Mayweather, who puts his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight belts on the line against Pacquiao, the World Boxing Organisation champ who boasts a record of 57-5-2.

For more than five years, contractual hurdles and animosity between the camps kept the top pound-for-pound fighters of their generation from meeting in the ring. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Promotions is partnering with Mayweather Promotions to produce the event just as television rivals HBO and Showtime have come together in a rare partnership, said the experience had been “hellish”.

But now the long-awaited bout is set to break all of boxing’s revenue records, capturing the imaginations of fight fans and casual observers around the world.

“I don’t take nothing away from Pacquiao, he is going to be an intriguing match-up on Saturday,” Mayweather said. “He didn’t get to where he got by not beating tough opponents.”

It’s that kind of measured respect that has Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach doubting that Mayweather’s heart is in a fight from which he stands to make $200 million. — AFP.