A lot of boxing fans are probably still pinching their cheeks to check if they were not daydreaming when Floyd Mayweather Jr. made the huge announcement that he had finally signed the contract for a May 3 (Manila time) duel with Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. You cannot really blame these people because it took Mayweather Jr. roughly five years to sign on the dotted line.
Well, the cat is finally out of the bag, and you can say that the reception that followed was anything but tame. The official confirmation of the dream match occupied the headline of every major newspaper and virtually set the Internet on fire. Hollywood and sports celebrities tweeted about cancelling their personal plans for May 3 just to be at ringside.
Of course, after the merriment comes the proverbial hangover. One thing about the mega fight, it will not come cheap. Ticket prices are hovering in the vicinity of $5,000.00. The pay-per-view subscription is expected to hit $100 and probably more if the feed is in high definition. The all-time pay-per-view “buy” record is 2.4 million (Mayweather Jr. vs. Oscar De La Hoya, 2007) while the pay-per-view “revenue” record is $150 million (Mayweather Jr. vs. Saul Alvarez, 2013). In terms of all-time gate record, the record is $20 million, posted by the Mayweather-Alvarez fight. Observers believe that Pacquiao vs. Mayweather will generate pay-per-view-buys in excess of 3 million. Considering the higher pay-per-view price, the pay-per-view revenue record of $150 million is likely to be surpassed.
Mayweather Jr.’s take has been placed at $120 million while Pacquiao is expected to bankroll $80 million. Pacquiao agreed to a 60-40 split which was one of the demands of Mayweather Jr. Back in 2010, when the match was first hatched, the boxers agreed to a 50-50 revenue split. Times have changed and Mayweather Jr. believes he deserves nothing less than top dollar this time.Pacquiao will put on the line his WBO welterweight (147 pounds) crown while Mayweather Jr. will defend his WBC and WBA versions of the crown. Last we heard, WBA officials are mulling on including in the mix the WBA super welterweight title (154 pounds) which Mayweather Jr. also holds. The WBA is apparently leaning on this because two WBA crowns may amount to a bigger sanctioning fee. Pacquiao captured the WBC super welterweight crown over Antonio Margarito in 2010 but relinquished it thereafter.
Mayweather Jr., 47-0, has emerged as the early betting favorite. The guy is banking on his impenetrable defense and superb counterpunching skills. Boxing experts however believe that Pacquiao’s speed and southpaw stance will test Mayweather Jr. to the hilt.
There is no rematch clause in the contract, but from where this writer sits it is just a marketing ploy to sweeten the pot. The impression that Pacquiao vs. Mayweather Jr. is just a one-time fistic gig is meant to entice the fans to empty their wallets and come all out for the event. It is not that difficult to envision the fighters doing it all over again if the result of their first meeting turns out to be close or controversial.
Boxing fans can only hope that Pacquiao vs. Mayweather Jr. will be worth the wait and the money. The last time pro boxing had a fight of this magnitude was 1988, when Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks battled for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. That fight actually followed a similar storyline; Spinks accused of being a coward for avoiding a fight with Tyson. When the dream fight finally took place, Tyson needed just 91 seconds to knock out a petrified Spinks.
Hopefully, Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr. will live up to the hype.
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