By Jackie Kallen
I have been in the boxing game for almost 40 years. I have been to countless weigh-ins. Far too many to count or remember. But the weigh-in for the Manny Pacquaio/Floyd Mayweather fight was like nothing I’ve ever witnessed. It was more than a weigh-in. It was an EVENT.
To begin with, people had to pay to get in. That’s a first. The face value of the tickets was $10. By an hour before the doors opened, they were being scalped for up to $150. The arena filed up and hip hop star Doug E. Fresh controlled the mic for the preliminary action. Every smart phone in the place was held up and in use throughout the two hours.
Before the actual weigh-ins started, a line-up of who’s who in boxing was stretched out across the stage. For a boxing fan, this was nirvana. To name a few of the fighters on hand:
There were very obviously two entities at play here. The Manny team had Michael Buffer announcing. The Money Team had Jimmy Lennon Jr. announcing. They alternated duties. Highlight videos of each fighter was flashed on the huge screens around the arena.
When Mike Tyson walked in, the crowd erupted. He has certainly become a hero. He is beloved and respected.
It would seem that there was an even number of fans for both men, but the Pacquiao followers were ten times more vocal than the Mayweather crowd. They held up signs, hoisted flags and screamed continuously. They made their loyalty seen and heard. They also showed their hatred for Floyd. When his face popped up on the big screen, they booed. When Manny’s face came onto the screen they hooped and hollered loudly.
Manny seemed as happy as I’ve ever seen him. He smiled widely and played to his fans. He was relaxed, cheerful and having fun. Floyd, on the other hand, seemed more serious and focused. He wasn’t as light and playful, When the crowd booed him, he scowled. There was nothing about his demeanor that didn’t scream BUSINESS AS USUAL.
Each man walked to the stage for the weigh-in with their huge entourages, while custom-made theme songs played in the background. The audience gasped as the two men stripped down to get on the scale. Both were ripped, cut, and in amazing shape. The percentage of body fat was pretty slim on that stage.
Manny weighed in first and came in at 145 pounds. Floyd tipped the scale at 146 on the money. Both camps seemed satisfied. Bob Arum looked on, chomping on his chewing gum the whole time. Freddie Roach was calm and controlled. The Mayweather team was animated and verbal. The atmosphere was electric.
This felt like an actual fight. The arena was sold out, the fans were boisterous, and the two boxers were in the building. The ring for the fight was set up in the middle of the floor, though it was eerily empty. Actor Liv Schrieber (Ray Donovan) caused quite a stir when he walked by.
If the weigh-in is a small indication of what tomorrow night will be like, it’s going to be insane. There are women’s groups protesting Mayweather’s treatment of women and the celebs are starting to flock into town. You can’t get into the MGM without a room key and there are hustlers everywhere selling knock-off Tshirts and fake merchandise. Fake tickets are being offered and the hookers are ubiquitous.
It’s an unbelievable scene.