A 2-1 underdog, the Filipino southpaw told reporters at the MGM Grand on Wednesday that he had regained the sense of anticipation he had for fights a decade ago, though he was reluctant to give a prediction about the outcome.
“I don’t have a prediction,” Pacquiao smiled as he spoke in a small interview room before joining Mayweather and their respective camps at the MGM Grand for their final pre-fight news conference.
“I am excited and confident. It’s the first time I have felt like this before a fight in a long time. The killer instinct, the feeling and the focus I have is like 10 years ago.
“For some of my previous fights I never feel this, but now it is different. I am 100 percent relaxed and confident. It’s a good feeling.”
Pacquiao, who has a 57-5-2 record with 38 knockouts, is expected to earn over $100 million from a bout predicted to be the biggest-grossing prize fight of all time but hoped he would make a much bigger impact through his own life story.
The 36-year-old boxer, an adored figure in the Philippines, left home at 14 to help support his mother and her six children and, for a while, he lived on the streets.
“I can’t imagine the boy who was starving and sleeping on the street has become what I am now. It is beyond my imagination,” said the eight-time world champion.
“The most important thing is … to give inspiration to people around the world that there is a god who can make someone like me from nothing into something.”
The long awaited megabout has been over five years in the making and several obstacles had to be overcome before it became a reality.
Negotiations for a 2010 fight collapsed over the American’s demand for random drug testing and Mayweather has often hinted at illegal methods by questioning how Pacquiao could have won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight classes.
“I feel like I am the one who really wants this fight to happen,” said the Filipino. “For me, it’s about how we can make the fans happy. They are paying big money … so they deserve to have a good fight.”
(Editing by Frank Pingue)