They flirted, danced, dated, split up, engaged in a back and forth spat which raged on, interrupted by periods of hoped for reconciliation…only to see the whole process repeated. Boxing has never and hopefully will never again see a silly saga like the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations…which have come to a close, praise to the heavens, with the word that boxing’s two main drivers will fight each other, on May 2, in Las Vegas.
Even non-believers, concrete atheists, found themselves thanking the Heavens when they saw the news on Mayweathers’ Shots, account where he posted a photo of the signed contract and message, “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 was fifth–or was it five hundredth–round of negotiations, and this round was made that much more ludicrous and nausea inducing because of the ramp-up of social media. Yes, to say that Twitter was catnip for #boxingheads who wanted to see “Money” and Manny glove up is an understatement; Will they? Won’t they? Why don’t they?, was the question posed and re-posed ad nauseum…and finally we come to fruition.
The 2015 Super Fight, pitting the man who labels himself TBE, the Best Ever, and acknowledges the power and allure of money as being central to his being, against the man who shuns such self-appraisal, and more often lauds the power of the Almighty as his driving force, will unfold at the MGM Grand, and on pay-per-view.
Some 3 million buyers could activate the signal to watch the scrap, which will be put together by Pacman’s promoter, Bob Arum and his Top Rank company, along with Mayweather Promotions. Showtime, which is paying Floyd for the fifth of their six fight deal, will produce the event, along with HBO, which televises Pacquiao’s scraps. An all-star squad from each cabler will report the event.
Many folks will say that this tussle should have been put together in 2009, or 2010, and lament that the two hitters have lost some miles off their fastballs.
Floyd, at 5-8 and a walk around weight of 153 pounds or so, turns 38 on Feb. 24, and the Congressman for Sarangani Province, who is 5-7, turns 37 in December, and has to over-eat to make the 147 pound weight class.
Others could offer their amazement that the men and their egos and the egos of their handlers and advisors and such reached common ground.
The well water got poisoned early, in Dec. 2009, when the issue of PED testing mushroomed nastily. Grinches grinned when the fight which was to unfold in March 2010 was left on the runway. More ire was conjured when Manny filed suit, for defamation, against Floyd and some of his crew, for alleging Manny cheated with chemical aids.
They re-started talks, and people were optimistic in June 2010. A month later, Team Mayweather denied that real-deal negotiations had taken place and the second shot at the Super Fight was pulseless. Mayweather showed an ugly side when he used nasty terms to describe Manny in a Ustream tirade, and the fight talk cooled.
Some chatter erupted in summer 2011, but optimism bubbled in January 2012. Floyd called Manny on the phone and they talked terms. Floyd offered Manny a flat fee, $40 mill, and that offer met with a flurry of No Ways. By September, Manny was into the idea again, and said he’d agree to testing 24-7, up to fight night. Floyd had all along demanded he engage in super strict PED testing–his “take the test” refrain was ever-present on his lips–but that goalpost, Mannyiacs said, got moved when Manny gave in.
Hopes rose when in September 2012 the defamation suit was settled. Now maybe the principals could bury the bad blood and get to fighting in the place that made the most sense, a ring? No dice; by December 2013, Floyd was saying that as long as Arum was part of the mix, there would be no fight. They had history; Arum had promoted Floyd from 1996 to 2006, and they parted on harsh terms. Negotiations didn’t really heat up; more so an insult fest did.
This holiday season, Mayweather stirred the pot by pointing to May 2 as a target date for The Super Fight. Twitter blew up when word went out that Pacman agreed to terms. But insults and semantic wordplay popped up again. There is no contract that has been signed, Team Floyd noted.
TMZ got hearts aflutter when they said the deal was all but done, on Jan. 27…but that proved to be a false alarm. Hope came alive when Manny and Floyd met at a Miami heat game, and then chatted for a spell afterwards, but the waltz had to play out for a spell longer. Watchers noted that new players in the negotiation mix, which included CBS chief Les Moonves, pointed to a new degree of seriousness in this round of talks.
Also, industry insiders, some of them, declared that Showtime lost oodles on dough on some of the four Mayweather bouts, which meant that they were seriously inclined to recoup some dough, and help push #MayPac to the finish line.
With so much money at stake, maybe it is no surprise how long it took to get to the finish line. It is assumed that #MayPac will bust the record for PPV sales (2.5 million for Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya), as well PPV revenue ($150 million for Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez; the PPV could go for anywhere from $85 to $99, it is believed) and the live gate ($20 million for Mayweather-Alvarez). Floyd could bank something like $120 million and Manny maybe around $70. The terms of the deal call for a 60-40 split of revenue in favor of Floyd.
Again, some may wonder what took so long. Fair enough. But the fact that on a couple occasions Pacquiao promoter used the “H—-r” word in referring to Floyd, and Floyd referred to the Filipino in harsh and ugly terms…maybe we should celebrate that good things came to those who waited.
Now…we can only hope that the fight, the actual in the ring one, will provide half the drama and back and forth flurrying as the five rounds of negotiation did.
Follow Woods on the Twitter: