LAS VEGAS – On the eve of Friday’s official weigh-in, Manny Pacquiao had a full meal, enjoyed his favorite dishes, played gospel music, watched an NBA game and retired for the night, confident of making the weight.
“Ready to go,” said Pacquiao, who also welcomed a throng of visitors to his sprawling suite at Mandalay Bay.
Saturday’s fight is set at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds and Pacquiao is out to regain the WBO title he lost to Tim Bradley in 2012.
Pacquiao said he doesn’t have any problem with his weight.
At 147, he can eat all he wants.
“No problem sa timbang (weight),” he said after working out Friday afternoon at the Top Rank Gym on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
“No need to diet,” Pacquiao added.
“He has nothing more to do,” said his conditioning coach Justine Fortune.
The former heavyweight contender said Pacquiao weighed 149 pounds before he went to the gym – with his clothes on and a mobile phone in his hand.
“He was 149 dressed this morning,” said Fortune, adding that by the time Pacquiao leaves the gym after the two-hour workout he should be down to 146.
Fortune said Pacquiao might tip the scales for the official weigh-in, scheduled at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Grand Garden Arena, just a shade under the limit.
“He’s happy to walk into a fight not needing to dehydrate,” said the conditioning coach and now boxing gym owner in Los Angeles.
Pacquiao will climb the ring on Saturday just under 150 pounds.
On the other side, Bradley may need an extra push or one meal less to make the weight, according to Fortune.
“He has to make weight for this fight, he has to suck it up a little bit,” said Fortune, who must have received some intel on the matter.
At the gym, Pacquiao worked the mitts with coach Freddie Roach.
It was a very light workout, and while there were times when they seriously talked about landing the right combinations, they had fun moments inside the ring.
Meanwhile, it was past 8 p.m. when Pacquiao emerged from his bedroom to have dinner, which consisted of salmon, chicken tinola, smoked fish, steamed rice and fruits.
Visitors steadily went in and out of the suite on the 61st floor of the majestic hotel, including a couple of congressmen and a senator.
They all came just to have a glimpse of or a chat with the boxing icon.
A tandem played and sang gospel music at the main living room. At around 7 p.m. the crowd got so thick hotel security had to be called in to persuade some of them the leave.
Even if Pacquiao likes it that way, his handlers felt the room was too crowded for everybody’s comfort.
Pacquiao sang a couple of songs for his fans and a little past 9 p.m. the suite was cleared of visitors. Then the boxer retreated to his room, caught some NBA action between Golden State and Denver.
He read the Bible before finally calling it a day.
Miguel Cotto, now fighting as a middleweight and gearing up for a title fight against Sergio Martinez on June 7, was at the same gym.
Cotto came in as Pacquiao was wrapping up his training. Also in the gym working out were Chinese Olympic champion Zou Shiming and reigning light-welterweight champ Ruslan Provodnikov.
Before Pacquiao got out of the ring, he called in his stablemates and they all stood at the center of the ring for some photos.
Pacquiao spoke to scribes inside the dressing room and recalled some moments during his staredown with Bradley during Wednesday’s press conference.
“We just told each other that we will make the fans happy. He asked if I’m ready and I said I am. He also said, ‘It’s two days to go.’ It was a good conversation,” said Pacquiao.
“I told him, ‘The fans will enjoy it and let’s do it,’” Pacquiao added.
Word got around that Pacquiao told Bradley face-to-face that he’ll knock the American out. But he denied this.
“Wala naman. Hindi naman (Not at all),” he said. “Nag-pagwapuhan lang kami,” a phrase that would be lost in translation.