If it were Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan or Floyd May-weather, Jr. and Miguel Cotto striking a pose during the halftime break of a National Basketball Association game, the response of the crowd and the rest of the sporting community would have been lukewarm. However, it was Pacquiao and Mayweather coming within spitting distance of each other after six years of playing cat-and-mouse and for this fleeting moment the world stood still and took cognisance.
Pacquiao and Mayweather were spotted at the American Airlines Arena in Florida Wednesday (Manila time) watching the Miami Heat and Milwau- kee Bucks basketball game. At halftime, Mayweather approached Pac-quiao and the two prizefighters chatted briefly. They exchanged phone numbers and Mayweather asked Pacquiao to discuss the big fight among themselves. Pacquiao promptly replied, “No problem.”
The landscape minutes leading to the face-to-face meeting was quite intense. As Mayweather approached Pacquiao, the Filipino directly stared at the cocky American and gave him that scowl many boxing fans have not seen for a long time. Perhaps Pacquiao was anticipating an underhanded move from Mayweather, a fighter whose definition of good manners is lifted from Brutus’ dictionary. It’s a good thing that no trash talking ensued and the fighters returned to their respective seat after the brief chitchat.
While the encounter lasted just about as long as it takes to finish one round in boxing, it was enough to light up the social network. Boxing fans picked up the news and drew their own conclusion. Some averred that the meeting might have been choreographed while others used such terms as serendipity.
The buzz created by the incident went into overdrive after it was later reported that Mayweather and Pacquiao chatted privately for more than an hour in a hotel suite after the game. Insiders claimed that Mayweather raised some broadcasting issues. For the record, the pay-per-view fights of Mayweather are carried by Showtime while it is HBO for Pacquiao. The executives of the two cable giants appear amenable to the idea of joining forces if only to bring about the dream fight. Pacquiao, for his part, has nothing much to say considering that he has already agreed in principle to the terms of the mega fight. Pacquiao, though, has given Mayweather’s camp until January 31 to ink a deal.
Boxing fans can only hope that all these positive developments will lead into major announcement. A bout between Pacquiao and Pacquiao is almost guaranteed to be the richest in pro boxing, with many expecting it to gross as much as $250 million. Mayweather is on course to realizing a take home pay of over $100 million.
As things stand, Pacquiao and Mayweather are also exploring other options if negotiations fail to get off the ground. Pacquiao is mulling on a showdown with Briton Amir Khan on May 30 while Mayweather is considering a rematch with Puerto Rican Miguel Angel Cotto.
Of course, judging from the media frenzy that attended their brief encounter, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is the only fight that matters.
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