Mayweather vs Pacquiao: a fight to the death
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are set to clash on May 2. It is widely regarded as the most anticipated fight in recent boxing history. Not since the days of Ali vs Foreman, or Hearns vs Leonard, has the public been so keen to see two men go at each other. Indeed, one could argue that the public has not been so keen to see any other sporting contest going back six or seven years.
This fight has been in the making going as far back as 2008. At that time, the ring magazine had Mayweather ranked as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, with Pacquiao No. 2. Mayweather himself had taken a break from the sport in 2009, but did come back to fight Juan Manuel Marquez, whom he defeated easily and again sparked the public's interest in him fighting Pacquiao.
This interest was emphasised when Pacquiao beat Mexican boxer Miguel Cotto way back in 2009. There was a media frenzy then, with fans demanding that they fight each other even before the fight was officially announced.
After all the waiting and postponing, the fight will finally happen. It will be the highest-grossing fight in history, with the possibility that total revenue could go as high as US$300 million. It is already being dubbed 'the fight of the century'.
The reasons behind this fight's many false starts include Mayweather's camp suggesting that Pacquiao was doping, and Pacquiao disagreeing with the Olympic-style testing Mayweather's camp insisted on. Pacquiao's aversion to blood testing was well known, as he felt it would weaken him, but then got so fed up that the fight wouldn't happen that he agreed to do the drug testing even on the night of the bout.
The men have had several disagreements regarding the terms of the contract to which they both supposedly signed. Several times, it was reported that the fight was on, only for one or both parties to say they were not happy with the overall terms.
No love lost
Another bone of contention was how much each would be paid. They could never agree to those terms. At one point, Mayweather promised to pay Pacquiao a flat fee of US$40 million, but without any share of the proceeds. That didn't go down well with Pacquiao's camp.
Pacquiao fired back, saying they should both fight for free. It appeared to most boxing pundits that Mayweather was doing everything possible to stall the fight. There is no love lost between them.
Mayweather once said, "Once I stomp the midget, I will make that queer make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice." In January of last year, Mayweather called Pacquiao a "desperate dog" who was desperate for the big payday fight to help with his tax problems. Pacquaio's response: "Floyd, if you are a real man, fight me. Let's do it for the love of boxing and for the fans. Let's not do it for the sake of money."
Floyd was forced into this fight as much by the insistence of the fans as anything else. It got to the point where Stephen A. Smith on ESPN basically suggested that the world should boycott any fight between Floyd Mayweather and anybody else.
With his pride on the line, Mayweather had to face the man he has taunted for years. He may not have lost a fight ever, but he would 'lose face' and self-respect if he ended his career without fighting the one man the public feels he would have a difficult time with.
Floyd's record is impressive. Forty-seven professional fights and no losses. Rocky Marciano's 49 unbeaten-fights record is on the verge of wipeout. Pacquiao, on the other hand, has lost twice in his 57 fights, but most pundits agree that this one is difficult to call.
There is a lot at stake. They are not only attempting to win the unified WBA, WBC, WBO and the ring welterweight titles. They are fighting for the right to be considered the greatest of all time. I'm going with Mayweather. What say you?
- Orville Higgins is a sports journalist at KLAS ESPN Sports FM. Email feedback to email@example.com.