Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Manny Pacquiao will square off May 2 in Las Vegas/Photo by Associated Press
Finally, after multiple failed attempts beginning as far back as late 2009, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will get it on May 2 in a welterweight title-unification bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Since Mayweather fights for Showtime and Pacquiao for HBO, both cable networks will make the fight available on their respective pay-per-view arms.
Mayweather on Friday afternoon displayed a photo of the signed contract on the social network Shots.
“I am glad my decision to meet with Manny and discuss making this fight happen helped get the deal done,” Mayweather said.
Mayweather and Pacquiao ran into each other at an NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in Miami on Jan. 27. They met later that night in a hotel room to talk about the negotiations.
“Giving the fans what they want to see is my main focus,” said Mayweather, who is 47-0 with 26 knockouts and the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. “This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport. Boxing fans and sports fans around the world will witness greatness on May 2.
“I am the best ever … and this fight will be another opportunity to showcase my skills and do what I do best, which is win. Manny is going to try to do what 47 before him failed to do, but he won’t be successful. He will be number 48.”
This bout is a virtual cinch to break pay-per-view and live gate records. The highest number of pay-per-view buys is 2.4 million for Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
Previous negotiations went awry for a number of reasons, from Pacquiao not agreeing with the type of drug-testing Mayweather wanted he and Pacquiao to undergo, to Mayweather wanting too big a piece of the pie. Mayweather will reportedly receive 60 percent of the monetary split for the bout.
“I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years,” said Pacquiao, who is 57-5-2 with 38 knockouts. “They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is an honor to be part of this historic event.
“I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen and, as always, to bring glory to the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world.”
While Mayweather has never lost, Pacquiao has lost twice since this fight was first talked about more than five years ago. He lost a disputed split-decision to Timothy Bradley in June 2012 at MGM Grand. Then, six months later, he was crushed and knocked cold by Juan Manuel Marquez that December at MGM Grand. Pacquiao fell face first after eating a perfectly timed right cross from Marquez.
No problem, said Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach.
“Floyd should enjoy being the A-side while he can because on May 2 Manny is going to put him on his backside,” Roach said.
Bob Arum promotes Pacquiao. He, too, believes his fighter will come out on the winning end in this sure-to-be epic battle.
“It’s going to be a great fight,” Arum said. “We are confident our fighter, Manny Pacquiao, will emerge victorious.”
The only down side to this is the ages of the fighters. Experts and fans alike no doubt would have loved to see these guys tangle five years ago. As it stands today, Mayweather will be 38 on Tuesday and Pacquiao is 36.