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April 20, 2014

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All talked out

Pacquiao, Hatton have little left to say at final news conference

Image

Steve Marcus

Junior welterweight boxer Manny Pacquiao, left, of Philippines laughs as he tries a face-to-face pose with Ricky Hatton of England pose during a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada April 29, 2009. The boxers will meet for a 12-round bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.

Pacquiao vs. Hatton Press Conference

Boxers Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton exchanged pleasantries and predictions Wednesday at the last press conference before their Saturday fight at the MGM Grand.

East and West Meet in Vegas

With the megafight scheduled for Saturday, Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton made their official arrivals to Las Vegas Tuesday. Pacquiao was instantly mobbed when reaching his superstitious stay at Mandalay Bay, while Hatton was able to address the crowd at fight-site MGM Grand.

Pacquiao-Hatton Press Conference

Junior welterweight boxer Manny Pacquiao, right, of Philippines talks with his trainer Freddie Roach during a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada April 29, 2009. Pacquiao will face Ricky Hatton of England for a 12-round bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday. STEVE MARCUS / LAS VEGAS SUN Launch slideshow »

FIGHT FACTS

Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) vs. Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs)

When: Saturday

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena

Tickets: Sold out

Closed-circuit viewing: $50; Mandalay Bay, Mirage, TI, Monte Carlo, Circus Circus, Luxor, New York-New York.

TV: HBO Pay-Per-View, $49.95

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So what’s the top-ranked pugilist on the planet do when he has answered practically every question that can be thrown at him?

Grab the microphone and talk some more, of course.

During the end of an hour-plus news conference at the MGM Grand Wednesday, Manny Pacquiao sheepishly grinned as the majority of reporters filed away from him at the media center, then pulled a mic out of its stand and yelled: “Make some noise,” in his best DJ voice.

After two months of publicity tour stops, in-your-face question and answer sessions from print and online reporters, nonstop video interviews, and photographers’ flashes going off faster than 1-2 punch combinations, neither the pound-for-pound champ Pacquiao, nor his opponent Saturday night, Ricky Hatton, made any revelations Wednesday afternoon at their final news conference.

But both seemed to take the last media event before Friday’s weigh-in in stride and offered up a few laughs. True to his form, Hatton’s trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., threw out some last minute one-liners. Eventually the production got back to the task of promoting “The Battle of East and West,” and event organizers gushed over the popularity this international affair has drawn.

"Ricky Hatton against Manny Pacquiao; I know for a fact this fight is going to exceed all expectations,” said recently retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who is the president of Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Hatton.

"I have talked to people all over the country and the fact is that people want to watch this fight not because of the fighters' abilities, not because they can fight and have come to give fans an exciting fight, but because of respect. People respect what Pacquiao and Hatton can do in the ring.

"That's why people are going to watch this fight, because they respect both of these fighters and they know they are going to see a great, great match.”

Pacquiao’s promoter and Top Rank chief Bob Arum said despite the lack of an American attraction in the May 2 megafight, U.S. fight fans are clamoring to see the matchup.

"Americans aren't just focused on Americans fighting. They will be entertained to see great fighters from each ends of the Earth,” said Arum, who says he’s expecting big pay-per-view buys in the United States and United Kingdom.

“People wonder why this fight is becoming the success that it is. I think there is one reason that has made this the event that it is and that is that people have learned about Manny Pacquiao.”

Media members didn’t uncover any new news items Wednesday, sans the fact that HBO announcer Jim Lampley will be hosting an overtime edition to the popular “24/7” all-access program on Friday night on hbo.com when he interviews both fighters’ outspoken trainers in Mayweather Sr. and Freddie Roach.

Also, Pacquiao’s mother, Dionisia, who touched down in the United States for the first time on Monday to watch her son, was introduced to the press corps.

"She is scared to watch it live," Pacquiao said of his mother, who will be watching on television in her hotel room.

“To have her here, it's going to give me more inspiration to do my best and win. It's going to be one of the best times I've had in my life."

Despite being a plus-230 underdog at the MGM sports book, Hatton — the IBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight champ — said he just doesn’t see how everyone can favor the southpaw by such a significant margin.

"I think you have all made your mind up already. I have been reading what you have been saying and what everyone has been saying. That doesn't scare me,” said Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs). “I have been here before. I have been the underdog before. I hear what you say. 'He is an over-hyped, over-protected, fat beer drinking Englishman. Guess what ... "he" is going to shock the world again.

"It doesn't scare me being in this position. This is my weight division, but I understand that I am the underdog. I understand why people are picking on me especially since Manny Pacquiao is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world who just had an exceptional win over Oscar.

"They call this the Battle of East and West. And our worlds will collide in the ring on Saturday night."

Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) responded with respectful comments for Hatton, but said he’s prepared to give the Manchester, England, native his first setback in the 140-pound weight class.

"I am ready for the fight on Saturday. I know Ricky Hatton has trained hard for this fight. I have seen it on ‘24/7,’” Pacquiao said.

"I respect Ricky Hatton. He is a good person. He is a nice guy and I would like to remind everyone that there is nothing personal for this fight and we are just doing our job to give a good fight to the people and make them happy.”

But the event wouldn’t have been official until Mayweather Sr. fired a few verbal barbs at Roach, which happened midway through when he addressed the reigning trainer of the year by his patented “Freddie ‘The Joke Coach' Roach."

“Hey what’s up Manny,” Mayweather said with a playful head nod to Pacquiao before re-reciting a poem about Roach he unveiled earlier in the training camp.

“It ain’t no diggity, it ain't no doubt, Pac's gonna find out what it’s all about. When he beat the ol’ legend Oscar De La Hoya, he was over the hill,” recited Mayweather, who instantly received an animated nudging from De La Hoya, who was sitting directly beside him.

“Now it’s time for you to swallow the same damn pill. … It ain’t no secret and I hope you know, The Hitman Hatton by KO!”

All Pacquiao and his trainer could do was exchange half-hearted laughs and Roach succinctly wrapped up the show.

“We’ve had a great training camp. Manny is in the best shape I think I’ve ever seen him in. I know we have a tough fight ahead of us.

“I would like to wish Ricky and his camp good luck and we’ll see you all on the (May) 2nd.”

Andy Samuelson can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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