LAS VEGAS, USA – It’s not even fight night yet but the air was electric.
Fans from the world over descended here in Sin City one day before the fight of the century, a unification title bout between undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr and Flipino superstar Manny Pacquiao.
They come from everywhere – from all over the country and the world.
On Friday, May 1, fans fill the rafters of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which Mayweather called an “incredible turnout.”
Weigh-ins are usually free, but this time, organizers charged $10 each for a ticket to control the expected crowd. All proceeds will go to charity.
Many in the audience paid much more than the cost of the ticket, admitting it was their only chance to see the two boxers. Tickets for the fight itself are being sold anywhere between $5,000 to $250,000.
At the arena, fans started coming in as early as 3 hours before the 3 pm event. The crowd was mostly pro-Pacquiao. Chants of “Manny! Manny! Manny!” filled the air. Cheers broke out when the fighter’s face was flashed on the screen, while Mayweather’s videos were met with boos.
Mayweather fans worked hard to get their voices heard however, but were often drowned out.
A group of friends flew all the way from Florida and Michigan to support Mayweather. Mayweather is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
One Mayweather fan from Florida said he was picking the undefeated champion because “he’s the best around, best defense game, best offense game, best pound-for-pound.”
He also admitted he bought the ticket to the weigh-in for $150 – 15 times its face value.
“Someone owes me $140 but I ain’t complaining about it,” he said.
He and his group, who were donned in TMT (The Money Team) gear – Mayweather’s slogan – and said they would watch the fight on closed circuit, which cost them another $150 a piece.
“We’re going to show as much support as we can. We can’t be here (in the arena) tomorrow night so we’ll be here tonight,” he said.
Meanwhile, another group of friends who flew all the way from Manchester in the United Kingdom said they are also cheering for the American fighter.
“We’re from Manchester here and we’re coming out. There are 5 ways to beat Pacquiao, but no way to beat Mayweather,” said one fan.
Rooting for Manny
But the Filipino fans did not hold back either. Filipinos from all around the United States held Philippine flags and donned T-shirts with the video game character Pacman eating a dollar sign. Pacman is Pacquiao’s nickname.
They also put their own twist to TMT, spelling it out on posters as “The Manny Team.”
Still another group of Filipino men came from Orange County in California to show support to their countryman.
They said they bought their tickets to the weigh-in at $75 each – $60 more than its real price.
But not all fans had to pay an exorbitant amount to get into the event.
One Filipino fan from Hawaii said he lined up at the box office from 8 am to noon just to get the $10 tickets, adding it was well worth it.
Asked where he was watching the fight, he said he got “front row seats.”
“At my house,” he added. – Rappler.com