TOKYO - A long-anticipated match between boxing champions, characterized by many as the "fight of the century," is at last coming to pass. Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the US, a five-division world champion who has won all 47 of his fights, will meet Manny Pacquiao, a six-division world champion and hero of the Philippines, on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The clash between the most respected boxers of the new century will likely become the biggest show in history, with a total purse reportedly reaching US$200 million (S$271 million).
Mayweather triggered an avalanche of US media reports with his announcement of the fight via social media on the evening of Feb. 20. Later he commented, "This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport." Pacquiao tweeted, "I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years."
The match has been a topic of speculation since around 2009, but has never been scheduled due to conflicts between the fighters' contracted promoters and television deals. Now, with the fighters approaching the last stages of their careers (Mayweather will turn 38 on Feb. 24 and Pacquiao 37 in December), the two camps have reached a compromise agreement.
The key issue of broadcasting rights has been resolved by allowing Showtime Networks, part of Mayweather partner CBS, and Home Box Office (HBO) of the Time Warner group, in the Pacquiao camp, to produce the program jointly. This will be the first time the two cable giants have joined hands since the 2002 heavyweight championship fight between Lennox Lewis (UK) and Mike Tyson (US).
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