Combating heightened expectations is something the organizers of the May 2 Clash for all the Cash, our Super Bowl, are going to have to contend with. Or not, I suppose…But anyone expecting forewords, or the sort of hijinks which have to be present for boxing press conference footage to usually make “SportsCenter” had to be a bit disappointed by the fact that all involved were on their best behavior in LA today. They came to see the sole presser to hype the clash between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, the braggadociouss unbeaten Mayweather, who loves to flaunt his wealth and hard-won success, and the born-again spirit warrior Pacquiao, who holds a Congressional seat in his native Phillippines, and a permanent place in the heart of his nation.
Save for a bit of humor from co-promoter Bob Arum, who joked that it looked like Floyd Mayweather Sr was shooting dagger eyes at him; and a reference to a PED testing clause which supposedly derailed this fight in the first round of negotiations in 2009, from Sho boxing boss Stephen Espinoza; and Freddie Roach’s promise that his man Manny would kick Floyd’s arse, it was basically boilerplate thank yous, and shoutouts to all the folks who helped put this massive money maker together.
That right there could give you a hint of the imminent tone; this promotion will generate more than some nations’ annual GDP, on a bad year, so yes, these folks sometimes acted more like business partners who basically don’t hate each other, rather than people involved in a prizefight. That said, as a pal on Twitter pointed out, come fight night, warrior instinct should prevail, and the tone should be far more appropriate. The event was attended by a mass of media; 600 applied to attend.
ESPN showed it some love, though their hoops game ran long, and kicked coverage over the ESPN News, something FNF watchers are used to. Overall, anything they missed as they featured talking head stuff was minimal. Arum started out gracious, saying, “Hello Floyd,” and didn’t veer from that. OK, he showed the slightest edge when he said “we all have our opinions, Stephen,” after Espinoza, who said it was no surprise to him this fight got made, made the testing reference. Yep, lot of love in the room, none shown more than by Manny, who gave a shoutout to God, who made this possible for him, and shows that something can come from nothing. I will presume there will be more contentiousness come fight night.
Here is the release sent out by the PR people.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER TO TAKE ON MANNY PACQUIAO
MAY 2 AT THE MGM GRAND GARDEN ARENA IN LAS VEGAS
LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW
LAS VEGAS (March 11, 2015) – Sports fans will be treated to the fight that has captured the attention of the entire world when boxing’s pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather steps into the ring to face eight-division world champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao in an epic welterweight world championship unification bout. The much-anticipated mega-fight will take place Saturday, May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank Inc., the pay-per-view telecast will be co-produced and co-distributed by SHOWTIME PPV® and HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.
Superstars Mayweather and Pacquiao, whose crossover appeal transcends the sport and has made them household names, will compete in an event that is expected to eclipse any and all pay-per-view, live gate and closed circuit records. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will rival legendary and memorable prizefights in the sport’s history such as the “Thrilla in Manila,” the “Rumble in the Jungle” and Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns.
“Since the fight was announced, the response from the public has been unbelievable, and it’s even more clear that this is the fight the fans want to see,” said Mayweather. “I’m grateful that Manny Pacquiao and I were able to make it happen. This will be the biggest event in the history of boxing. I can’t thank my team enough for their support from day one. I’m more motivated than ever to put on an unbelievable show, and I’ll be ready for May 2.”
“I will be ready for my date with destiny on May 2,” said Pacquiao. “I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years. They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is their mandate. It is an honor to be part of this historic event. I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen and, as always, to bring glory to the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world.”
The fighters, promoters and network executives worked in close cooperation to ensure that every detail was agreed upon and set in order to deliver this historic fight.
“This fight is what we’ve all been waiting for,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. We always say that we want to give the fans what they want, and on May 2 they will get just that. “Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is the biggest event in the history of boxing, and we’re confident it will break all pay-per-view, live gate, and closed circuit records. Floyd has worked hard his whole career and controlled his own destiny to get to this point. Mayweather Promotions is excited for him and to be part of this extraordinary opportunity for everybody involved.”
“The whole world is eagerly awaiting this exciting battle,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank “With the help of God, we will be triumphant.”
“Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have been the two most prominent fighters in the sport of boxing for the past decade, and fight fans around the world have been clamoring for them to face each other,” said Ken Hershman, President HBO Sports. “And now, on May 2, in what everyone believes will be the biggest boxing event of all-time, fight fans have been granted their wish. May 2 will be a signature moment for the sport of boxing and HBO Sports is thrilled to be a part of this spectacular event. I know the fighters and their teams will be primed to excel and we plan to work closely with everyone involved to deliver the same level of performance from a broadcast perspective.”
“When Showtime Networks signed Floyd Mayweather we began planning for spectacular events throughout the term of our agreement. For both Floyd and for us, this fight was the top priority,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “The overwhelming anticipation for this fight is driving us to work around the clock on virtually every aspect of the event to deliver a world-class presentation worthy of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.”
“Like boxing fans worldwide, we’re very excited that the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight has come to fruition,” said Richard Sturm, president of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host this championship fight at MGM Grand, home to the sport’s biggest events. This May weekend will prove to be one of the most electric weekends Las Vegas has ever experienced.”
One of the most decorated fighters in the history of the sport, the undefeated Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) is an 11-time world champion in five weight divisions and is universally recognized as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. With his trademark speed, defensive prowess and ability to read his opponents Mayweather has amassed wins over 20 world champions in his already legendary 19-year career. In addition to his in-ring accomplishments, Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated have named Mayweather the world’s highest-paid athlete multiple times. His events
average more than one million pay-per-view buys per fight, which is the highest average of any boxer in history. Mayweather holds the all-time record in gross pay-per-view receipts and has participated in three of the top six highest grossing pay-per-view events of all-time. Thus far, Mayweather is the only fighter to have participated in two events that generated more than 2 million pay-per-view buys each. Mayweather has been decorated with awards for “Best Male Athlete” and “Fighter of the Year” by various organizations including five ESPN ESPY Awards and two Boxing Writers Association of America awards.
Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), the lone congressional representative from the Sarangani province in the Philippines (he was reelected to a second term, running unopposed in 2013), is the only fighter to win eight world titles in as many different weight divisions. A three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade,” Pacquiao’s resumé features victories over present and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Márquez. From 2008 to 2010, five of his seven victories were world title victories in five different weight classes, from 130 to 154 pounds. No active boxer has sold more live tickets in the U.S. than Pacquiao, who is also credited with more than 13 million domestic pay-per-view buys. Pacquiao regained the WBO welterweight title last year, on April 12, via a scintillating unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley Jr., avenging his controversial 2012 split decision loss to the undefeated two-division world champion.
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