The biggest fight that never was may still be.
Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao has a date (May 2), a venue (MGM Grand Garden Arena), and a purse split (60/40). It just lacks the approval of one of the combatants.
“I’m not trying to force anybody’s hand, I’m just saying, ‘Hey, we’ve agreed to everything, period,'” Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum explained to Yahoo Sports. “The people we have talked to on Mayweather’s side have agreed to everything. Now we need Mayweather to step up and say, ‘Yeah, I’m on board. I agree.'”
The superfight figures to pay Mayweather $120 million and Manny Pacquiao $80 million. Yahoo Sports reports that to pay the fighters their enormous purses the MGM Grand would need to snare a live-gate take of $40 million, double the current record held by Mayweather-Alvarez. That means putting a $5,000 price tag on ringside tickets. Tickets for Mayweather-Alvarez topped out at $2000.
The promoters seek to eclipse two million television subscriptions, the gold standard in pay-per views. De La Hoya-Mayweather holds the record at 2.4 million buys, followed by Mayweather-Alvarez at 2.2 million, Tyson-Lewis at just under 2 million, and Tyson-Holyfield II at just under 2 million as well.
Though the pair still fight as the undisputed top two marquee names in boxing, neither Mayweather, 38 by fight night, nor Pacquiao, 36, appear in their prime. Pac Man, likened to a mini-Mike Tyson when he stopped the likes of Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, hasn’t scored a knockout in more than five years when he threw a perfect punch on Ricky Hatton’s off button. Mayweather, nearly unhittable in his heyday, occasionally got tagged by Marcos Maidana and Miguel Cotto in recent outings. Still, Mayweather tops most pound-for-pound lists and Pacquiao falls not far behind.
The slight erosion in reflexes may strangely mean good news for fight fans. Ali-Frazier III and Hearns-Leonard II, to cite two examples of fights between aging pugilists, entertained precisely because the diminishing defenses of the combatants guaranteed slugfests and not chess matches.