Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao is going down May 2. It’s being argued that when they were at their physical pinnacles, roughly five years ago, obstacles upon obstacles were erected that gave the appearance that the odds of these two meeting in the ring were insurmountable. With their last few performances, however, the fighters were faced with a reality check, with an emphasis on the check.
Between the two, they drained the pool of marketable opponents in the weight classes of welterweight and junior middleweight. So between being the best fighters, the biggest stars and the best financial options, the fight was inevitable.
Said Mayweather, “This fight could’ve happened a long time ago, but it’s the right time now. It’s an unbelievable matchup, and I know the fans can’t wait for this. The timing is right and the timing is now. Pacquiao added, “I believe that this fight has been well worth the wait. More people are familiar with us as fighters. Even people who aren’t fans of boxing know about this fight.”
To augment the statements of the fighters, check the stats: Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) is an 11-time world champion in five weight divisions and is universally recognized as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. While many question the quality of his opposition, he has amassed wins over 20 world champions over the course of his 19-year career.
In addition to his in-ring accomplishments, Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated have named Mayweather the world’s highest-paid athlete multiple times. His events average more than 1 million pay-per-view buys per fight, which is the highest average of any boxer in history. Mayweather holds the all-time record in gross pay-per-view receipts and has participated in three of the top six highest grossing pay-per-view events of all-time. Thus far, Mayweather is the only fighter to have participated in two events that generated more than 2 million pay-per-view buys each. Mayweather has been decorated with awards for “Best Male Athlete” and “Fighter of the Year” by various organizations, including five ESPN ESPY Awards and two Boxing Writers Association of America awards.
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) is the only fighter to win eight world titles in as many different weight divisions. From 2008 to 2010, five of his seven victories were world title victories in five different weight classes, from 130 pounds to 154 pounds, and his work has been rewarded. He’s a three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade.” Additionally, no active boxer has sold more live tickets in the U.S. than Pacquiao, who is also credited with more than 13 million domestic pay-per-view buys.
Reading and hearing the reports is one thing, though. To certify that it’s real, we had to see Team Mayweather and Team Pacquiao in the same place at the same time. Enter March 11 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. An estimated 700 credentialed media were posted on the red carpet awaiting the arrival of the key principles. Yeah, red carpet.
Intermingling with the usual boxing media were entertainment and hardcore news outlets indicating that this is an event! But honestly, at least that day in that venue, the electricity wasn’t quite there. Given the venom that was spewed over the years as to why the fight hadn’t occurred, you’d expect a little more intensity. The only real shot that was fired came from the Pacquiao camp, as his head trainer, Freddie Roach, said, “We are in the toughest fight of our life, we’re fighting the best fighter in the world, and we’re gonna kick his a—.” Ironically, Mayweather’s trainer, his rambunctious father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., didn’t grace the podium.
On the flip side, when the press conference was wrapped and we exited the venue, some real fight fans had gathered outside, hoping to get a glimpse of the fighters and their camps. Factions for both pugilists were loud and proud as to why their man would have their hand raised in victory come fight night. Now that felt right and also lent credence to the closing statement of Mayweather: “May 2—that’s when the world stops! Mayweather-Pacquiao. The biggest fight in boxing history.”
We’re strapped in and ready to ride. Let’s go!
Over and out. Holla next week. Until then, enjoy the nightlife.