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Friday 30 September 2016

Mayweather on Pacquiao fight: 'Fists will be key - not faith'

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Picture: Al Bello/Getty
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Picture: Al Bello/Getty
Manny Pacquiao

FLOYD MAYWEATHER insists his superfight against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on May 2 will be decided by the rivals' fists and not divine intervention.

Born-again Christian Pacquiao has drawn on his faith to enlist the aid of God by claiming the Lord is willing him to inflict the first defeat of Mayweather's career, stating "I believe God will deliver him to my hands".

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach has been keen to cast the Filipino as the hero in a battle of "good versus evil" and the underdog would undoubtedly be the popular victor at the MGM Grand.

Mayweather, self-anointed as 'The Best Ever', has embraced the role of villain for the majority of his flawless 47-fight career, glorying in a lavish lifestyle of excess that often draws attention away from his technical brilliance and work ethic. The 38-year-old, however, highlights his own faith to counter Pacquiao's belief that God is present in his corner.

BLESSED

"God loves us all. I'm a professional prizefighter, that's what I do. I believe in God, I love God. I've been blessed all my life. I don't think God takes sides," Mayweather said.

"Whether you're American, Filipino, African, Dominican, Asian, we're all God's children. I don't think he roots for which of us he wants to win.

"People are going to root for who they want to root for, it's plain and simple. I'm pretty sure I have Filipino fans who like me and I'm pretty sure there are black American fans who like Pacquiao. I never try to focus on anything like that. I just try to focus on the best fighting the best."

The most lucrative clash in boxing history is expected to generate £332million with Mayweather taking £100m, a sum that will translate to the highest annual earnings for any athlete barely five months into the year.

The figures reflect a bout that has been five years in the making with the two greatest boxers of their generation finally meeting in a welterweight unification match.

More important to Mayweather than the WBA, WBC and WBO titles the rivals are risking is the unblemished record that provides the foundation for his self-belief and fuels his bravado.

The stakes are high, but the long-term pound-for-pound king is remaining calm.

"My team is grounded, I'm not really going crazy. It's just a fight to me. I know it's the biggest fight in boxing history, but I can't approach it like that," Mayweather said.

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