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Friday, November 11, 2011
Another calm Fight Week Friday

By Kieran Mulvaney

Fight Week Friday is, for hacks like yours truly, often a surprisingly quiet part of the week. Most of what can be written has been written, and aside from the weigh-in, there's little to do except pick up last-minute news and information and await the start of Saturday's hostilities. The mood in the media room is one of activity but, also, relatively speaking, relaxation. On this Friday afternoon, promoter Bob Arum is working the room, chatting informally with reporters. Somehow the subject of Twitter arises and Arum, chuckling, reveals that his brief relationship with that particular arm of social media has now ended.

"I dictated a few things to Lee [Samuels, Top Rank's ace PR man] and then left it," he said. "I couldn't think of anything to say. I realized it probably isn't a good thing for someone like me. I could get myself in trouble."

And then, above the background buzz inside the room, the sound of singing and cheering erupts from outside as Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao's trainer, walks past the assembled masses en route to a round of radio interviews. I don't know if anyone is certain when the first person stood in line for this afternoon's weigh-in, but there was already a small crowd by 9 a.m. A few hours later, the line stretched from the arena doors, past the media room and along the Studio Walk shops and restaurants. The crowd chants and cheers, but it is good natured and well behaved, and when the doors open to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the thousands in attendance file happily and swiftly inside.

Wandering around, I bump into Emily Pandelakis, the publicist for up-and-coming junior welterweight Jose Benavidez Jr., who is taking in the action with Jose's brother and his father, Jose Sr. The younger Benavidez, who is fighting Samuel Santana on the non-televised portion of Saturday's card, has been sparring with Amir Khan at the Wild Card Gym under the tutelage of Roach, who has been singing the praises of the youngster (who is now 19) for a couple of years now.

"Honestly, we feel blessed," said Jose Sr. "This is the fourth time we've been on a Manny Pacquiao undercard."

Jose Jr. is already inside the arena, filing paperwork before the weigh-in. Then, after he strips off, steps on the scales and makes weight, there will be little left for him to do either, except eat, rehydrate, rest and, like the rest of us, wait for fight night to be upon us.