AFTER years of failed negotiations, the much-awaited megabout between Filipino Manny Pacquiao and American Floyd Mayweather Jr. will finally push through in Las Vegas. The big day is May 2.
The clamor for Pacquiao and Mayweather to fight started as early as 2008 when both boxers were registering strings of impressive wins over significant opposition. But there were some doubts the megabout would ever materialize after Pacquiao was knocked out cold by archrival Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012. But the Filipino bounced back with three decision wins, the latest of which was over Chris Algieri in November last year. Algieri hit the deck several times in what was Pacquiao’s best showing after Marquez knocked him out.
On the other hand, Mayweather’s last two fights were two decision wins over knockout artist Marcos Maidana.
Although Pacquiao is no longer the fighter who mowed down opponents almost without mercy, Mayweather has yet to score a knockout win after he stopped Ricky Hatton in December 2007. But there is no doubt Pacquiao-Mayweather is still the most anticipated bout in this generation, and it is actually a shame that boxing fans and even analysts do not see a similar marquee fight happening at heavyweight, which used to be boxing’s premiere and glamor division.
The welterweight world title showdown—Mayweather owns the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association titles and Pacquiao the World Boxing Organization crown—is sure to be the richest in boxing history, because it is expected to generate massive pay-per-view revenue.
Each boxer will earn millions from the megabout that would be bigger than any of the top heavyweight boxers of this era has earned over several fights or over their entire careers.
US media reported that Mayweather will receive 60 percent of the purse and stands to make some $120 million, and Pacquiao will take home $80 million.
Admiration for Pacquiao
Although Pacquiao stands to earn megabucks, he is actually taking a big risk because his losses to Marquez and to Timothy Bradley in June 2012 showed very clearly that he can be beaten by a counterpuncher. And Mayweather is the best counterpuncher in boxing today.
The possibility of Pacquiao losing every round of the fight or even getting stopped by Mayweather is very real. The American has a five-inch reach advantage and also has speed in his hands.
But even with the prospect of losing or even endangering his health from the megabout, Pacquiao should be admired for personifying the fighting spirit and courage of the Filipino.
As for Mayweather, his willingness to fight Pacquiao should also be admired because he is also risking his unblemished 47-0 record.
Accept the results
As the fight nears, expect the rabid fans of both camps to exchange insults, slurs and barbs in social media, which will help fuel more interest in the bout.
But even if the megabout is sure to polarize boxing fans, whatever the results should be accepted by the losing camp.
Also, both fighters should demonstrate exemplary sportsmanship after the bout, because in the end, fight fans will surely want the loser to be graceful, and the winner to be humble.
In the end, Pacquiao-Mayweather is also about setting the standards of how sports superstars should behave before the public eye. This may yet be the greatest legacy Pacquiao and Mayweather can give to the sport of boxing – that even amid their heated rivalry, they remain ambassadors of boxing and sportsmanship.