According to Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti, filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has agreed to the terms of the proposed May 2 fight against unbeaten Pound for Pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Clearing A Major Hurdle
The talks of a Mayweather-Pacquiao clash have never been this close since 2009 when all items in the contract were agreed upon except the random drug testing which caused the talks to fall apart. In his previous fights, Pacquiao has subjected himself and his foes to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s random drug testing but Mayweather has been very particular about using the Olympic-style drug testing and has insisted on using USADA in all his fights. So this time around, the Pacquiao camp says that their fighter has agreed to be tested by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to show his”genuine willingness” to make the fight happen.
Other Major Items
Sources also say that Pacquiao has agreed to a 40% share of the revenues, giving Mayweather the huge chunk of what is expected to be the richest bout in boxing history. Although the fight may no longer be as big as what it could have been five years ago when they first attempted to negotiate the bout, it is still expected to break the All-time records for pay per view buy record of 2.4M set by Mayweather-De La Hoya, PPV revenue record of $150M (Mayweather-Alvarez) and total gate receipts of $20M (Mayweather-Alvarez).
Aside from the drug testing and purse share, Moretti also said that both fighters have agreed to use their own choice of 8-ounce gloves. Mayweather is accustomed to using the boxer’s Grant gloves while Pacquiao has always been a user of the puncher’s Cleto Reyes Gloves. If the fight is finalized, it will be held at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada where Mayweather has fought his last 10 fights and where Pacquiao has fought 5 of his last 7 bouts. The date will be May 2, which Mayweather publicly declared despite earlier protest from Top Rank who wanted to save the date for a possible clash between Miguel Cotto and Golden Boy’s top Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez.
Battle of the Networks
Another possible obstacle avoided was the clash of networks because Pacquiao is under HBO/Time Warner while Mayweather signed a 6 fight deal with CBS/Showtime in 2013. But both networks have expressed their willingness to work with each other to co-promote the bout in a joint pay-per-view telecast, similar to what happened during the 2002 heavyweight championship showdown between Lennox Lewis, who worked with HBO and Mike Tyson who was under contract with Showtime. Top Rank President Bob Arum has been in talks with CBS President Leslie Moonves. Moonves has reportedly been acting as the middleman between Arum and Mayweather adviser Al Haymon. With the networks not an impediment to a deal, the fate of the fight lies solely on both fighters.
With the fight in serious talks after years, The Vegas oddsmakers have started to open their lines. According to The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, Mayweather opened as the favorite at -275 while Pacquiao the underdog at +235. But these odds were expected, especially after Pacquiao’s twin losses in 2012. Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley in June 2012 and suffered a stunning knockout loss to rival Juan Manuel Marquez in December of that same year. On the other hand, Mayweather continues to be unbeaten and has reclaimed the top spot in boxing’s pound for pound rankings since his comeback in 2009 after a brief hiatus from the sport. He outpointed Marcos Maidana twice in 2014 in his most recent bouts.
Pacquiao’s acceptance of the proposed terms and conditions of the bout speaks of his sincerity to make the fight happen, regardless of his true motives. So now that it’s halfway done, the ball is now in Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s court. There is no questioning his right to dictate the negotiations because he is the alpha dog of boxing. But if he is truly sincere about fighting Pacquiao on May 2, he should put the pen on the paper because the other side has already submitted to his demands. Unless of course he’s really scared, not necessarily of Pacman but of losing the “O” in his record.