LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao finally arrived in the ‘lion’s den’ on Monday night (Tuesday, Manila time), five days before facing a proud unbeaten opponent in a fight long awaited by the entire world.
The 36-year-old Filipino world champion checked in at the Mandalay Bay Delano by dinner time after an almost six-hour travel accompanied by a caravan of vehicles from Los Angeles, where he finally broke camp early Monday morning at the Wild Card gym as Fight Week finally arrived.
Four rounds of sparring capped close to seven weeks of training camp for the eight-time world division champion in preparation for his 12-round title fight against American Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Unlike Pacquiao, the 38-year-old Mayweather had his training camp set up under the bright lights of ‘Sin City’ where he has long been based.
The MGM Grand, where the 12-round welterweight unification match with Pacquiao will be held, has also been home to Floyd, whose in the final two bouts of the six-fight contract he signed up with the luxurious hotel.
Mandalay on the one hand, has been Pacquiao’s official residence since 2007, where he usually occupies a lavish suite at the 60th floor.
On the way here, Pacquiao, wearing a red Nike long-sleeved shirt matched with brown pants, rode a 17-seater mini bus complete with kitchen and dining rooms, which he shared with close family members and a friend.
Also part of the convoy which had to brave the long, rush-hour traffic, is the customized 54-seater Pacman bus adorned by Pacquiao’s larger-than-life image on both sides.
A menu selection composed of beef steak, kare-kare, caldereta, pansit, lumpia, and adobong manok welcomed Pacquiao and his huge entourage amid a fiesta-like atmosphere in his elegant suite.
And even after a long day of training and travel, Pacquiao still had time to personally distribute the keys to the rooms to be occupied by friends, relatives, and visitors.
Soon after, it was lights out and rest for the champ as another long grind awaits him on Tuesday.
Fight Week is finally here.