Deontay Wilder, who challenges Bermane Stiverne this Saturday night in Las Vegas for the WBC heavyweight title, is just as hyped as everyone else in the boxing world that the long-awaited megafight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao might finally come to fruition.
“We will make an announcement before the end of the month. I think it will happen,” Pacquiao told the Manila Standard.
The bout would likely take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Wilder, a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, said he’d be first in line to buy tickets.
“Man, I like both them guys,” Wilder told TSS. “They both have great speed, and they definitely bring it when they get into the ring.”
I asked Wilder for his prediction of the fight should Mayweather and Pacquiao meet this year.
“As I’ve always said, and I’m going to stick with what I’ve said in the past, I like Floyd. The one thing I like about Floyd [in that fight] is his defense. This is boxing, and you’re going to get hit–of course you’re going to get hit–but it’s how you get hit, and the thing about it is that when people hit him they don’t really hit him fully flush. So the impact doesn’t really affect him. With that alone, I think that will bring him to a victory.”
Still, Wilder told me he’d expect a close and competitive fight between arguably the two best fighters of their generation.
“It’s definitely not going to be a knockout. I think it will be a decision, and I see Floyd winning a close fight. Manny is great. He looked real nice in his last fight.”
Pacquiao is coming off two impressive wins in 2014. He defeated Timothy Bradley in April by unanimous decision, and followed it up by knocking Chris Algieri down six times on the way to an easy decision win in November.
Meanwhile, Mayweather defeated Marcos Maidana twice by decision over the same timeframe. He took a majority decision over the slugger in May in a closer-than-expected fight and followed it up with a unanimous decision victory over the same fighter in September.
While a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao fight doesn’t quite carry the same luster it would have had if the two had met closer to their primes, it will still likely be the largest grossing prizefight in sports history. And Wilder said he hopes it happens just as much as the rest of us.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it,” said Wilder.