By Ari Gilberg
In advance of what is the most highly anticipated fight in recent memory, here are five things you need to know about Mayweather – Pacquiao…
1. This fight will make history…and a lot of money:
Mayweather – Pacquiao won’t go down as the greatest boxing match of all-time, the first of three bouts between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier will forever hold that title, but it is shaping up to be the richest bout in boxing history.
The purse is estimated to range from $200 million to upwards of $400 million, which would make it the richest in boxing history. With a 60 to 40 split, favoring Mayweather, “Money” could make as much as $240 million, when he steps into the ring come May 2nd. To put this in perspective, out of all MLB teams, only the Los Angeles Dodgers had a total payroll higher than Mayweather’s possible take. And the Dodgers were paying a total of 26 players.Embed from Getty Images
Mayweather – Pacquiao is also believed to shatter every pay-per-view and ticket sales record imaginable. Pay-per-view for the fight will cost a record $89.95, with a HD surcharge of up to $10 ranging from network provider.
2. Well It’s About Damn Time:
While Mayweather – Pacquiao is one of the most anticipated fights in history, it’s also a fight that’s been in the works for over five years now.
The first wave of negotiations took place in 2009. After Mayweather returned from his brief retirement to easily dominate Juan Manuel Marquez in a 12-round unanimous decision, fans clamored for him to fight Pacquio—who reached superstar status after knocking out Ricky Hatton in the second round in early May and then recording a technical knockout against Miguel Cotto later that year.
Negotiations went all the way as far as to who would weigh in first—Pacquiao, who would be introduced first—Mayweather, and even as to who would have first choice on which locker room to use—Mayweather.Embed from Getty Images
However, negotiations broke down when it came to drug testing policy. ESPN’s Brian Kenny reported that after all aspects of the fight were agreed upon Mayweather requested Olympic-styled random drug testing up to the day of the fight. Pacquio countered with a proposal of three random drug tests, two up to two weeks before the fight, and one immediately after.
The two sides failed to reach an agreement and both went on to fight other opponents.
A second wave of negotiations reportedly took place during the summer of 2010. Bob Arum, head of Top Rank—the promotion company who Pacquiao is signed with, announced that Pacquiao agreed to Mayweather’s drug testing terms and only thing left was Mayweather’s signature on the contract.
Arum gave Mayweather a 14-day window that window came and passed and both fighters moved on to facing someone else.
Mayweather’s greed in 2012—offering Pacquiao a flat sum of $40 million and no shares of the revenue from the purse and pay-per-view, and Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Timothy Bradley and sixth-round knockout by the hands of Marquez later that same year, prevented any real negotiations to take place until these past few months.
3. Clash of Fighting Styles:
What’s supposedly going to make this mega fight so interesting, and the reason why many believe Mayweather’s undefeated record may be at stake, is the distinctive difference in fighting styles between Mayweather and Pacquiao.
While Mayweather is known as the slow and methodical defensive-minded fighter, usually sitting back and picking and choosing his punches, Pacquiao is much more aggressive, unloading on his opponent typically hovering around the 700 punches thrown range.Embed from Getty Images
Pacquiao’s unique combination of speed and power is what has helped lead to his 38 recording knockouts. And even though he hasn’t knocked an opponent out since Miguel Cotto in 2009, the ability to is still evident after knocking down Chris Aligieri an incredible six times in his last fight.Boxing legend Mike Tyson believes if Mayweather doesn’t account for this and change his usual passive fighting style he may suffer the first loss of his career.
“Manny is going to feint Floyd out of position a lot and make him throw more punches than he is used to, and that will open Floyd up,” Tyson told The Wall Street Journal. “[Mayweather] has never been tested, whatever happens in the fight, I think he’s going to get hit and hurt more than he has ever before; we’re going to see how tough he is.”
4. HBO? Showtime? Doesn’t Matter:
In a surprising move, being as how there is no love lost between the two, HBO and Showtime have agreed to jointly air the upcoming title fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao—something that hasn’t been done since the two agreed to jointly air the heavyweight title bout between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis in 2002.
The decision will make it easier for fans willing to fork over $90 to see the fight as they can use whichever television network they prefer or are already subscribed to.Embed from Getty Images
The joint broadcast will also lead to a mix of both HBO and Showtime announcers. Blow-by-blow announcer Jim Lampley (HBO) and analysts Al Bernstein (Showtime) and Roy Jones Jr. (HBO) are expected to call the fight. Max Kellerman (HBO) and Jim Gray (Showtime) are expected to handle all reporting and interviewing roles for the bout.
5. It’s the Best of the Best, Literally:
Now this won’t rank as the greatest fight of all time, but it may very well crack the top-10—especially when you consider the résumés of both fighters, and everything that is on the line.
For starters, these aren’t simply the top two fighters in the welterweight division. Ranked as first and second pound for pounder by ESPN, Mayweather and Pacquiao are widely considered the top two fighters in the world.
Mayweather and Pacquiao have a combined record of 104-5-2, with Pacquiao accounting for all five losses and both draws.Embed from Getty Images
Three, of the four, major Welterweight championship belts will be on the line. Mayweather is the current World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) champion, and Pacquiao is the current World Boxing Organization champion.
Most importantly this will finally settle the debate in regards as to who really is the best fighter of this generation: Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao?
And no matter the outcome, both are guaranteed to make the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Facts and figures from: ESPN, BoxRec, Spotrac, TIME magazine, and NPR.