LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao is back to where it all began 15 years ago.
The boxing sensation arrived in the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ on Monday night (Tuesday, Manila time) six days ahead of his 12-round showdown with Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand.
Pacquiao came over with his entire family and a big entourage which checked in at the Mandalay Hotel Delano here following a six-hour drive from Los Angeles.
And he can’t help but look back at the time when he first came to the U.S. in 2001 accompanied by a group composed of less than 10 people led by his former business manager, the late Rod Nazario.
“Way back 15 years ago I never expect na maaabot ko kung ano ang naabot ko (ngayon),” said the 37-year-old ring superstar, a last-minute replacement to fight then reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-bantamweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba, who he stopped in the sixth-round of their fight to win the 122-lb. belt.
“Happy ako sa blessings ng Panginoon. Happy ako na hindi ako nasa masamang daan, hindi nasa masamang gawain. May Panginoon sa buhay ko, yun ang importante.”
Pacquiao, a -250 favorite to beat Bradley, is scheduled to make his grand arrival at the lobby of the MGM on Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday, Manila time) on board the customized bus bearing his large image.
Bradley, 32, will come ahead of Pacquiao during the proceedings – to be held in a makeshift ring - that formally ushers fight week in the latest chapter of their storied trilogy.