LAS VEGAS – A warm, raucous welcome greeted Filipino champion Manny Pacquiao and American challenger Tim Bradley in formal arrival ceremonies at the MGM Grand on Tuesday (Wednesday morning, Manila time) ahead of their world welterweight title showdown this weekend.
The challenger was the first to arrive, the chants from supporters drowning out the loud rap music in the background. He wore a black, collarless short over blue denim and was accompanied by his trainer Joel Diaz, wife Monica, father Timothy Sr., and other members of his family.
The American later climbed the makeshift ring put up at the hotel lobby and granted interviews with the media and photo-ops with the fans.
Pandemonium broke loose about thirty minutes later when the champion Pacquiao finally walked in.
Flashing his charismatic smile, Pacquiao waved and blew kisses to a large throng of Filipinos who came to see him. A Filipiniana dance troupe was also at the hotel lobby to provide Filipino atmosphere to the event.
With the crowd adoringly chanting his name, the champion then stepped into the ring with trainer Freddie Roach, his assistant Buboy Fernandez and an entourage that keeps growing by the day.
Once again, Pacquiao, cool in his yellow shirt topped with brown MP jacket over denim pants, smiled and waved to the crowd, granted interviews and photo-ops before being led out of the ring into a waiting private room for more interviews with the media.
Pacquiao and Bradley never got to meet yesterday but will have a chance to do so on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) when the final press conference for the fight is held at the Hollywood Theater of the MGM Grand.