Final presser for Pacquiao-Morales III!
Report by Albert Jimenez Howell
Photos by Chris Cozzone
The final media conference for Saturday night's “Grand Finale!” between Manny Pacquiao (42-3-2, 32 KOs) and Erik Morales (48-4, 34 KOs) occurred today at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The two icons/three-division world champions will meet each other a third time in a highly anticipated 12-round super featherweight rubber match. After dropping a decision in their first encounter, Pacquiao won the second fight by 10th round knockout this past January. Morales ran out of gas in that January encounter as a result of the hardship endured in making the 130-pound weight limit.
To ensure he’d make weight this time around, Morales engaged in personal velocity training before and after his training camp in the Otomi Mountains in Mexico. Morales believes adding personal velocity training to his regimen will enable him to make weight without depleting his strength, giving him the edge he needs to win the rubber match.
“During velocity training, I undertook great physical preparation and I lost a lot of weight,” he said at Thursday’s press conference.
Morales, who will have his father Jose Morales in his corner again for the rubber match, admitted changing trainers for his last bout with Pacquiao was a costly mistake.
“It was an error to not involve my father in the last fight.”
Morales, who guarantees he will make the 130-pound weight limit, criticized Pacquiao trainer Freddy Roach for his constant attention to Morales' weight.
“My friend Freddy Roach continues to speak about my weight,” he said. “It is easier to talk than act. I am ready.”
Morales then said that Roach needed to pay more attention to his own fighters making weight, a reference to Manny’s brother, Bobby, who failed to make the contracted weight limit for his Thursday night fight at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Roach trains both Pacquiao brothers.
If Morales is unable to make the 130-pound weight limit, he is contractually obligated to pay Pacquiao $500,000 for every pound he comes in over the limit.
During the press conference both Erik and Jose Morales referenced recent pay-per-view bouts in which the fans in attendance booed the fighters in the ring due to the lack of action.
The elder Morales stated, “Some fighters lately have not been respecting the public and the audience in the arenas have been booing those fighters. I guarantee you on Saturday night nobody will be booing!”
Morales’ promoter, Bob Arum, added to Morales’ comments:
“The fans want to see a fight. They want to see action. And with Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao you get action. There is value for money. These two warriors come to fight.”
Taking the high-road, Pacquiao addressed the media with:
“I won't say anything bad about my opponent. I know he is in 100% condition and that he can make his weight.”
Both Pacquiao and his trainer Roach assured the media that Manny trained very hard for this bout and guaranteed a very exciting fight.
Also on Saturday night's card will be two championship bouts.
Brian Viloria (19-1-0, 12 KOs) will face off against Omar Nino (24-2-1, 10 KOs) in a much-anticipated rematch. In their August bout at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the underdog Nino convincingly defeated Viloria, capturing the WBO world mini flyweight title—a bout that was supposed to be a tune-up for then-champion Viloria.
About the rematch, Nino said, “I have come to give Viloria the rematch because he gave me the opportunity. I am a man and like a man I want to give the opportunity back to him.”
Ricardo Torres (29-1, 27 KOs) will battle Mike Arnaoutis (17-0-1, 9 KOs) for the vacant WBO world super lightweight title in the second co-feature.
In 2005, Torres engaged in an epic battle against then-WBO champion Miguel Cotto, who had to climb off the canvas to win the hard-fought bout. The fight against Cotto stands as the only blemish on the record of Torres, who will be battling a second time Saturday night for the WBO title that Cotto recently vacated to campaign as a welterweight.
About his second shot at the title, Ricardo Torres stated, “This is my second fight for a world title. The first time against Miguel Cotto, I came very close to winning the title. I look forward to taking the title home this time.”
Promoters expect a sell-out for Saturday night's card at the Thomas & Mack Center with over 15,000 tickets sold already. The card will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.