Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pacquiao: Mayweather Is Not 'Difficult'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pacquiao: Mayweather Is Not 'Difficult'

Article excerpt

LAS VEGAS * Manny Pacquiao worried about the punching power of Miguel Cotto. He knew Juan Manuel Marquez was a slick counterpuncher, and wondered how he'd fare against a fighter the caliber of Oscar De La Hoya.

He's got no such worries about Floyd Mayweather Jr., on the eve of boxing's richest fight ever.

"I cannot say he is that difficult an opponent," Pacquiao said Tuesday. "My confidence right now is different than the other fights I had. I feel excited, this is it. I have to prove something."

Just hours after arriving in this boxing capital in a motor home from Los Angeles, Pacquiao oozed confidence at a rally attended by about 1,000 people at the Mandalay Bay hotel. The mostly Filipino crowd watched Pacquiao's latest music video and was entertained by dancers and singers before the fighter himself made a brief appearance.

"I know I'm going to win the fight in the ring," Pacquiao told the crowd. "So relax."

Oddsmakers aren't so convinced, with Pacquiao remaining about a 2- 1 underdog for a fight expected to earn him more than $100 million. But Pacquiao didn't even have to break a sweat to win over the crowd that came to the hastily arranged pep rally in a convention area at the hotel.

Mayweather was greeted by a much bigger crowd at the MGM Grand hotel, the site of Saturday night's welterweight title fight. The Southern University marching band entertained and a mariachi band played outside before Mayweather arrived 20 minutes early.

For many, it was their only chance to see the two fighters without reaching deep in their pockets. Tickets for the fight itself were being offered online starting at $3,800 and going over $100,000 near ringside.

"Five years ago this was a $50 million fight for me and $20 million for him," said Mayweather, who is expected to make $180 million or more.

With the real work already done, both fighters were going over game plans for a bout that was five years in the making. Pacquiao said he had two or three strategies for the fight, depending on whether Mayweather wants to try to win with his defense or comes out attacking.

"If he wants to fight me, good for me," Pacquiao said. …

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