Boxing: TV exec made Mayweather-Pacquiao bout possible

Boxing: TV exec made Mayweather-Pacquiao bout possible
From left to right: Floyd Mayweather, Leslie Moonves and Manny Pacquiao

LAS VEGAS - Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao meet Saturday in a fight many thought would never happen - but which came together thanks to the determination of US entertainment power player Leslie Moonves.

After years of false starts and finger-pointing, the twisting road to the spectacle set to shatter all boxing records for viewership and revenue wound through many locales, from the exclusive reaches of Beverly Hills to NBA courtside seats in Miami.

According to Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, Moonves - the chief executive of CBS Corporation - kept the train on the rails.

"It started when Les Moonves came to my house," said Arum, the founder of Top Rank Promotions.

"He visited me on a couple of occasions to tell me that he wanted to make this fight happen."

Obstacles and conflicts

A fight between two of the most talented fighters of their generation - unbeaten American Mayweather and Filipino icon Pacquiao - seemed a no-brainer.

But despite the clamour of fans worldwide and the potential financial bonanza, contractual obstacles and personality conflicts long prevented the match-up from becoming a reality.

Talks for a 2010 clash between the two foundered amid acrimony.

Fingers were pointed as to which fighter might be ducking the other as the parties squabbled over various issues - the last unresolvable difference a mutually acceptable pre-fight drug-testing protocol.

In the intervening years, the chances of scheduling the fight didn't seem to improve.

At least back then, both fighters had a loose deal with telecaster HBO, but in 2013, Mayweather inked a six-fight, 30-month deal worth more than $200 million with Showtime - meaning the two fighters were now contracted to rival networks.

Arum has denied that lingering animosity between himself and Mayweather - who bought himself out of a Top Rank contract and now fights under the banner of his own Mayweather Promotions - played a role.

"I have no animosity with Floyd Mayweather," Arum says. "Floyd has always remained a good friend. I have nothing whatsoever bad to say about Floyd as a person." Nevertheless, the two have often traded barbs in the media, and in 2013, Mayweather declared he would never work with Arum.

Between Pacquiao and Mayweather themselves, the scars of prior disputes remained, even after a 2012 out-of-court settlement put to rest Pacquiao's lawsuit over Mayweather's accusation that he doped on his way to his unprecedented eight world titles in eight weight divisions.

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