McALLEN, Texas (MindaNews/13 March) – George Cortes (not his real name) of Florida plans to go home for a vacation to the Philippines next year. He saved up $3,000 for the flight home. But as soon as Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather walked the rolled out Hollywood carpet, faced off, did the traditional staredown, gave a few statements to some 600 credentialed media persons on Wednesday, George decided he will bet his hard-earned money for the Mindanawon boxer.
“Only two things can happen,” he said. “Either my family will have a grand time with my winnings, or I’ll stay in Florida and work again for the entire year to save up for my next trip home.”
A strong believer of the Pacman, Cortes appears to wholly embrace Pacquiao’s statement during the first and only press conference for the fight: “I believe I will win on May 2.”
Mayweather, 47-0 with 26 knockouts, on the other hand, projected a more subdued tone. Stressing he believes in himself and his skill, the undefeated American boxer explains “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.”
Mayweather is reported to be cashing in $120 million while Pacquiao gets $80 million when they clash for the welterweight unification world championship on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Tickets range from a low of $1,000 to a high of $5,000.
Elsewhere in Los Angeles, a small organization of Mindanawons also planned to piggyback on the forthcoming “epic” fight. It wants to raise funds for the organization by, again, placing a bet on Pacquiao. An officer, who requested not to be named, said they can raise as much as $10,000 from among their membership.
“Manny is going to win,” the officer said citing observations by Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, that the Filipino southpaw has a better chance of winning because Mayweather has slowed down.
“I think Manny knows how to beat him,” Roach said.
Down here in the Rio Grande Valley, on the other hand, it will be the first time Hispanics and Filipinos will be rooting for the same boxer – Manny Pacquiao.
Mary Jameson, a retired math teacher, said Filipinos and Hispanics have been on opposing sides in most of Pacquiao’s fights because the Filipino boxer is often paired with a Hispanic. Restaurants, bars and pub houses here are always packed whenever there is a scheduled Pacquiao bout. “We love Pacquiao, but we love more our Hispanic boxers.”
It’s a different scenario this time, she said, as she has invited Filipino friends to be at her house at the posh Cimarron Subdivision in nearby Mission City. “We will shout only one name – Manny Pacquiao, while we feast on pancit, chicken adobo, taco, tamales and menudo.”
Superstars Mayweather and Pacquiao, whose crossover appeal transcends the sport and has made them household names, will compete in an event that is expected to eclipse any and all pay-per-view, live gate and closed circuit records.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao wil rival legendary and memorable prizefights in the sport’s history such as the “Thrilla in Manila,” the “Rumble in the Jungle,” and Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns, fight promoters said in a statement.
“Since the fight was announced, the response from the public has been unbelievable, and it’s even more clear that this is the fight the fans want to see,” said Mayweather. “I’m grateful that Manny Pacquiao and I were able to make it happen. This will be the biggest event in the history of boxing. I can’t thank my team enough for their support from day one. I’m more motivated than ever to put on an unbelievable show, and I’ll be ready for May 2.”
For his part, Pacquiao said: “I will be ready for my date with destiny on May 2. I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years. They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is their mandate. It is an honor to be part of this historic event. I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen and, as always, to bring glory to the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world.”
Meanwhile, American rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson announced he was placing a $1.6 million bet on Mayweather to win against Pacquiao. (Merpu Roa/MindaNews, with reports from Balt Quinain Jr., Grace Roa and Julius Valmores)