Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News reported that the much-awaited duel between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will finally take place.
“It’s better late than never,” stressed Abramson.
Abramson wrote that after an avalanche of false reports, flawed updates and overall bedlam and hysteria for a match that probably should have happened five years ago and has paralyzed the sport, the fight everyone still wants to see between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao has finally arrived.
“The undefeated Mayweather Jr. and hyper-aggressive Pacquiao, both welterweight champions and both in their late 30s, will finally meet May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a match-up of two of the greatest fighters of their generation.
“The bout was finally announced on Friday by Mayweather on his Shots social media selfie app, which he has invested a cool million in.”
More than 30 minutes after Mayweather, who turns 38 on Tuesday, directed his over five million followers on Twitter to go download the Shots app, he displayed a photo of what appeared to be a signed contract by both fighters with the caption:
“What the world has been waiting for…is a done deal.”
Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) later released a statement boasting of what he intends to do to Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) on fight night.
“This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport,” he said. “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.”
Not to be outdone, Pacquiao trainer and famed trash talker Freddie Roach released a boast of his own.
Manny Pacquiao brings his 57 career victories into the ring vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. when the two finally meet in Las Vegas in May.
“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 in a statement.
“I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years,” Pacquiao said in another released statement. “They have waited long enough and they deserve it.”
The fight will be televised jointly by HBO (which has Pacquiao) and Showtime (paper on Mayweather) on pay-per-view with announcers splitting duties at a reported price tag to the consumer of $89.95.
It’s the first time since 2002 when Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis tangled that the two networks are working hand-in-hand.
The bout is expected to smash every previous box office record associated with boxing, such as the all-time PPV buy record of 2.4 million (for Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya); the PPV revenue record of $150 million for Mayweather and Saul (Canelo) Alvarez and the all-time gate record of $20 million for Mayweather and Alvarez. The bout is expected to gross more than a quarter of a billion dollars.
Pacquiao agreed to the smaller take of a 60-40 split.
The super fight is reportedly a one-bout deal with no rematch clause built into the contracts.
Because of bad blood between Mayweather and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, Les Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS, worked as an intermediary between the two sides, helping negotiate the bout on behalf of Arum.
The fight was supposed to be announced on Thursday, but Mayweather was frustrated that Top Rank was stealing his thunder and giving hints of the reached agreement and Mayweather wanted that right, according to ESPN.com.
As part of the contract for the fight, Mayweather had the right to make the final announcement.
If the actual fight matches the tense, dramatic negotiations that led to an agreement, it will go down as one of the greatest fights of all time.
Both Mayweather and Pacquiao showed up at a Miami Heat basketball game on Jan. 27 and exchanged numbers, causing even more speculation on the nearness of the bout.
The two even met at a Miami hotel room later that night, stoking even more rumors and gossip.
Then, just days before the Super Bowl, Arum said a deal could be reached on the day of the big game on Feb. 1.
When a deal wasn’t reached, stories began to emerge blaming Arum for causing the talks to stall.
Along the way, more stories surfaced promising the bout had been finalized. Oftentimes the bearer of bad news was Showtime boxing head Stephen Espinoza, tweeting that an agreement had not yet been reached.
On Sunday, Mayweather told a reporter at the NBA All-Star Game at the Garden that rumors both contracts had been signed were pure “speculation.” But he added, “Hopefully we can make the fight happen.”
Meanwhile, talks progressed with a source telling the Daily News over the weekend that both sides were very close and an announcement would be made this week.
On Thursday afternoon, Mayweather was spotted walking through the city with a coterie of lawyers and bodyguards near Grand Central Terminal, not far from the HBO and Showtime offices.
The two nearly signed a deal in 2009 for a fight in 2010 after Mayweather un-retired to win a decision against Juan Manuel Marquez and Pacquiao knocked out Miguel Cotto.
Both sides had agreed to a 50-50 revenue split. However, the issue of drug testing scuttled those talks.
Ever since, there have been fleeting discussions to make the fight happen but nothing has stuck. Until now.