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Mayweather vs Pacquiao superfight may happen

Published:Tuesday | December 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer

It has been five years since talk of a superfight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao started, but for one reason or another, it just has not happened. This has been so because Mayweather, who is boxing's No 1 money-maker, has been setting up all sorts of roadblocks.

For example, he has demanded that Pacquiao undergo particular pre-fight drug tests; has made demands re the purse money and broadcast rights; and has had numerous verbal confrontations with Bob Arum and Top Rank, who promote Pacquiao.

Mayweather shocked the boxing world recently, however, when in an interview on Showtime a little over a week ago, he sent a message to Pacquiao to make the fight happen on May 2, next year. "Let's do it!" he declared.

bad business

There was, however, a sting in the tail of the announcement. May 2 is the Saturday in the May 5 Cinco de Mayo weekend, which is a period of celebration in Mexico each year, and Arum and promoter Oscar de la Hoya have already announced that they would be promoting a major fight card on that date featuring Mexican Canelo Alvarez and Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto. In the boxing firmament, two major fight cards like these just do not clash as it would be extremely bad business for everyone. It would also be HBO versus Showtime.

Arum and De la Hoya saw the statement by Mayweather as disrespectful of Mexicans and to them and said so loudly. The Canelo versus Cotto fight is planned for that date so as to coincide with the holiday since Alvarez is very popular in Mexico and will draw a large following for the live gate and the pay-per-view audience. This was, however, vintage Mayweather at work as he thrives on controversy.

Showtime pressure

There is also a feeling that Mayweather announced that he is now ready to fight Pacquiao because he is being pressured by Showtime to do so. In 2013, he signed a deal with them that guaranteed him six fights at US$30-40million per fight. So far, he has had four of those contracted fights, beating Roberto Guerrero, Canelo Alvarez, and Marcos Maidana twice. Reports are, however, that these fights have not generated the pay-per-view revenue for Showtime that would justify the amounts being paid to Mayweather.

Since Mayweather only has two fights left on the deal, and there are no other really attractive opponents for him to fight, this is, therefore, the time to make the fight with Pacquiao happen.

The pity is that although both fighters are still very fierce combatants, they are past their peak. Meeting five years ago would have produced a much more attractive and competitive battle, so Mayweather, with his delaying tactics, may have done a disservice to the boxing public. He has stated, however, that the main focus for him in boxing is the money he earns, and his legacy, so his goals have been achieved. We will just have to wait patiently to see what happens next.