© Chris Farina - Top Rank
All the questions posed by the members of the Las Vegas media had been answered by global superstar and Philippine Congressman Manny Pacquiao and three-division world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
Now it was time for fans to have their say.
One by one they came to the microphone, poised and confident in front of two of the world’s greatest fighters on Saturday as the Pacquiao-Mosley bi-coastal press tour made a stop-over in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the same site where Pacquiao and Mosley will battle for the WBO Welterweight world title as Showtime Networks Inc. and CBS have joined forces with Top Rank, Inc. to promote, produce and distribute the biggest boxing event of the year on May 7 on Showtime PPV.
Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter and Top Rank CEO, hosted the raucous affair attended by more than a thousand enthusiastic fans with a select few standing to ask questions.
Like this one posed to Pacquiao from a boy who looked to be around 12 or 13 years old: “Are you ready for Mosley’s body punishment?” he asked shyly. “Nice, kid. Thanks for that,” responded Pacquiao. “I have two months to prepare for this so I know I will get stronger. I’ll be ready on May 7.”
A question was asked by another fan who wondered what the difference will be fighting now on Showtime as opposed to a competing network where their careers were made. “It’s an honor to fight on Showtime and be covered by CBS,” answered Pacquiao. “A lot of people can watch the fight on TV. It’s just a big privilege.”
Said Mosley. “I’ve never fought on Showtime. There have been a lot of big fights in the past on Showtime like with Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez. A lot of guys have fought on that channel and I’m excited to make an impact on Showtime. The Fight Camp 360 series is going to be great.”
And then the inevitable question came about Pacquiao’s new hairstyle, which he referred earlier in the day to looking somewhat like a Beatle. “Do you like Justin Bieber because of your new hairstyle?” a young female fan asked to a roar of laughter from the audience. “I like him, but Bruce Lee is my idol,” was Pacquiao’s response.
Showtime expert analyst and commentator Al Bernstein took his turn at the microphone and praised both fighters. “This event is so extraordinary,” he said. “Any event that has an international icon who transcends the sport of boxing like Manny Pacquiao clearly has the chance and probably will be the event of the year in this sport.
"And then you toss into the mix a man I’ve known for so many years and a future Hall of Famer and, equally as important, one of the best known names in all of boxing like Shane Mosley. When you put that together clearly it makes for a great event and Showtime is gratified to be a part of it.”
He continued. “Showtime has a track record in the pay-per-view arena that is well documented. The 1990s brought a lot of great pay-per-views. In fact, the second Tyson-Holyfield fight was for 10 years the most viewed with the most buys of any pay-per-view.
"We take pride at Showtime with providing a nuanced, informational approach that’s fan-friendly and follows the evolving story-line wherever it leads us. Showtime always makes the fighters the stars and we will certainly take that approach once again on May 7.”
It was a day full of goodwill and complimentary talk, even between the fighters. Mosley told the Las Vegas press corps that, “Manny and are I are a lot alike. We don’t like to trash talk. Manny’s a warrior but he wants to take your heart out.”
And then this: “I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to land some shots on Manny. I think size will be the big difference in the fight. I’m too fast and too big and I have the height and reach advantage and I’m going to use it.”
Added Pacquiao: “That’s what I love about this fight because we don’t talk trash. I think Mosley is a different man (than Margarito) and a good man.”
The Pacquiao-Mosley U.S. media tour will continue on to New York at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers - Pier 61 with another open to the public news conference on Monday, Feb. 14.
The fight is being promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions, Tecate and MGM Grand, Pacquiao vs. Mosley will be produced and distributed live by Showtime PPV.