After years of delays and anticipation, pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. revealed today via his Shots account that he and Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao have agreed to fight on 2 May 2015 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout will be broadcast by both HBO and Showtime Pay Per View.
“I am glad my decision to meet with Manny and discuss making this fight happen helped get the deal done,” said Mayweather. “Giving the fans what they want to see is always my main focus. This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport. Boxing fans and sports fans around the world will witness greatness on May 2. I am the best ever, TBE, and this fight will be another opportunity to showcase my skills and do what I do best, which is win. Manny is going to try to do what 47 before himfailed to do, but he won’t be successful. He will be number 48.”
The announcement of what is expected to be one of the biggest sporting events in recent history comes as sweet music to the ears of fight fans who, barraged by the constant noise of excuses and finger-pointing from the two boxers, had all but given up that the dream match would ever happen.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (47-0, 26 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) established their dominance over boxing’s mid-weight divisions a decade ago and have been skirting and dodging each other for almost as long.
Recently, with rumors circulating of secret negotiations between television networks and promotion companies, and the ‘chance’ meeting of Mayweather and Pacquiao courtside at a Miami Heat game, there appeared signs of hope that the elusive matchup may finally get made.
A publicity stunt? Perhaps. But the seed was planted and in the following days and weeks, the many factions got their ducks in a row and were able to give fans the fight they had eagerly been awaiting.
Pacquiao will enter the ring after easily out-pointing a game but overmatched Chris Algieri in November 2014. Prior to that, Pacquiao had defeated Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios after being flattened in a sixth-round knockout-loss to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.
As the news ripples out through the boxing world, fighters who have been holding their breaths in hopes of being picked next for the big payday can finally get on with making other plans.
Miguel Cotto, expecting to get the nod from Mayweather, passed up a lucrative offer to face Mexican star Saul Alvarez. Amir Khan, who has been waiting by the phone for years, will have to look to a Kell Brooks matchup for the big bucks.
Word of the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout also squelches any plans that Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya had to stage his announced Saul Alvarez-James Kirkland fight on May 2. De La Hoya and Alvarez have repeatedly expressed their desires to wrestle the May 2 date from Floyd Mayweather Jr., who traditionally fights on the Cinco De Mayo weekend.
De La Hoya recently stated that he would not compete with a Mayweather-Pacquiao match and would move his fight to another date if the uber-bout came to fruition.
Come May, both Mayweather and Pacquiao will be looking to further cement their legacies as they near the end of their long and illustrious careers.
Arguably, Mayweather has the most on the line going into the fifth bout of his over-$100 million six-fight deal with Showtime/CBS, as he will be defending his treasured unblemished record– one victory short of Rocky Marciano’s record-setting 49 straight wins.
In recent years, observers have accused the self-proclaimed “The Best Ever” of avoiding today’s top fighters for more sure-win matchups. Without fail, the first name to always be mentioned in such discussions is Manny Pacquiao. Despite both veterans being past their prime, a victory for Mayweather would nonetheless go far in silencing his critics and guaranteeing himself a spot amongst the pantheon of all greats.
A win for Pacquiao would prove that he is the true No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter of our time, and fans would gain an undisputed champion they can root for, instead of hoping to witness him getting knocked out.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.