Finally! Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao superfight is on
Boxing’s most talked about event in more than 30 years was finally announced on Friday when Floyd Mayweather Jr. let the world know that he will face Manny Pacquiao. The fight between the sport’s two biggest stars will go down on May 2 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather announced the fight around 3:15 p.m. PT/ 6:15 p.m. ET on his account with @shots, a new social media app that he has reportedly invested in along with pop star friend Justin Bieber. Minutes before the announcement the App Store Tweeted: “.
@floydmayweather is making a big announcement today inside @shots #MayweatherPacquiao see it here first:”
Maywether’s @shots post read:
“What the world has been waiting for has arrived. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao on May 2, 2015, is a done deal. I promised the fans we would get this done, and we did. We will make history on May 2nd. Don’t miss it! This is the signed contract… (photo included).”
The welterweight showdown, which will air live via a joint Showtime and HBO pay-per-view broadcast in the U.S., is arguably the most significant and anticipated 147-pound championship since the first bout between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns in 1981. And though many fans and members of the sports media believe the fight is happening five years too late, most agree that it has the potential to be the highest-grossing boxing event ever.
Momentum has built toward the showdown since September 2009 when Mayweather returned to the sport after a brief retirement to outclass and outpoint Pacquiao’s rival Juan Manuel Marquez in a welterweight bout. During the year that Mayweather was retired, 2008, Pacquiao earned a split decision over Marquez to claim the 130-pound championship, then won a lightweight title with a ninth-round TKO of David Diaz and capped the year with an eighth-round stoppage of Oscar De La Hoya in a welterweight bout. In 2009, Pacquiao scored a chilling second round KO of Ricky Hatton to earn THE RING’s junior welterweight championship and then returned to welterweight where he stopped Miguel Cotto in Round 12 to claim a 147-pound belt.
Pacquiao was named THE RING’s Fighter of the Year in 2008 and 2009. The Filipino icon was named the Fighter of the Decade by the Boxing Writers Association of America, narrowly outpointing Mayweather for the honor. Thus, the stage was set for the welterweights settle who the best boxer, pound for pound, truly was in 2010. However, bad blood between the promoters and advisers involved in the negotiations (Top Rank, which promotes Pacquiao, and Golden Boy Promotions, which represented Mayweather, and Al Haymon, Mayweather’s de facto manager), plus Pacquiao’s unwillingness to acquiesce to the undefeated American boxer’s demands of extra drug testing quashed negotiations at least twice in 2010.
The sides involved in making the Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight only became more bitter by the end of 2010 and throughout 2011 as boxing’s Cold War (an impasse between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions) became a harsh reality for fans. Mayweather fought Shane Mosley and Victor Ortiz. Pacquiao fought Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Mosley and Marquez during this time period. In 2012, Mayweather outpointed Miguel Cotto to claim a junior middleweight title. That year, Pacquiao lost a controversial split decision to Tim Bradley and then suffered a lights-out sixth-round knockout to Marquez, which temporarily ended talks of an eventual Mayweather showdown.
In 2013 Pacquiao returned to outclass Brandon Rios over 12 rounds. Mayweather, who had fought most of his career on HBO, signed an exclusive six-bout deal with Showtime in 2013, and outpointed Robert Guerrero and Canelo Alvarez in his first two bouts of the multi-million dollar contract. Last year, Mayweather twice outpointed Marcos Maidana in rough, tougher-than-expected bouts while Pacquiao outpointed Bradley in their rematch and then outclassed Chris Algieri, thus renewing the public’s interest in their showdown.
Mayweather stoked the flames of anticipation by announcing that he wanted to fight Pacquiao during a Showtime broadcast last December. Pacquiao reportedly agreed to all of Mayweather’s terms by early January but there were still many points that needed to be worked out between the rival U.S. subscription cable giants, Showtime and HBO, which carried negotiations into February as the boxing world obsessively watched and waited for Mayweather to officially announce the fight on his social media platforms.
And now the wait is finally over.