In just over twelve hours’ time, we’ll know who’s the world’s best boxer at welterweight and more importantly who’s the best pound for pound boxer alive today.
Floyd Mayweather Jnr is a 38 year old black American. His mother was a drug addict. His father was a good welterweight who once fought Sugar Ray Leonard, but also a drug dealer who spent 5 years in prison. Last year he earnt in excess of $100m and was the highest paid athlete on the planet. He has an ego the size of Europe. He’s been arrested for beating up his girlfriend and knocking a bouncer senseless, yet he’s appeared on the USA equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing. His net worth is estimated at around $400m. He’s had 47 professional fights and never lost. He’s the undisputed master of his craft. He’s Floyd (The Money) Mayweather.
Manny Pacquiao is 36 and from the Philippines. He was born into poverty. He left home at 14 because his mother couldn’t afford to feed him and his five brothers and sisters. Now he’s a Politician, a singer, an actor and a professional basketball player. He’s accused of not paying over $50m in income tax in the Philippines, yet he’s been elected to the Philippines House Of Representatives for the Province of Sarangani. He is the head coach of Kia Sorento basketball team. He’s made seven albums. He’s graced the cover of Times magazine. He holds the Guinness World Record for most World Titles in different weight divisions. He was voted Fighter of the decade in 2010. He’s Manny (Pac-Man) Pacquiao.
That’s the introduction over with. Now let’s look at the fight itself.
It’s the fight that should have happened 5 years ago. Some would say when both men were at their peak.
In 2009, the American Sports Channel ESPN announced that contracts had been signed and the fight would take place on March 13, 2010. They’d jumped the gun. Contracts had been sent from one camp to another but not signed. Things had to be sorted.
These two fighters each believed that they were the best on the planet. They were both World Champions. So how the fight would be billed. Would it be Mayweather v Pacquiao, or Pacquiao v Mayweather? It’s important because it’s usually the better fighter (The Champ) whose name comes first. Who would be first to enter the ring? The Champion is usually last to enter the ring meaning the challenger has to wait for him. Who would be the first to step on the scales at the weigh in? Who would have the better locker room? Two men with big egos. No one wanted to be seen as the challenger. Most importantly how would the purse be split? The Champ usually gets more than the challenger.
It was rumoured that these things were sorted out amicably with some compromise. It would be Mayweather v Pacquiao. Mayweather would be first in the ring and wait for Pacquiao. The purse would be split 50-50. But the real obstacle was blood testing. The Mayweather camp asked for “Olympic Style” drug testing. Team Pacquiao agreed.
Then it all became silly.
“Would the tests be Urine or blood, or a combination of the two? Would there be set days for the tests to take place or would they be random? Who would do the tests? What organisation? Who would oversee it?
Pacquiao agreed to Urine tests at any time and 3 blood tests. One in January, another 30 days before the fight and another immediately after the fight. It seemed fair.
But Mayweather wanted something different. He wanted random blood tests (anytime) during the build up to the fight. Pacquiao’s team refused. The fight was off.
Mayweather accused Pacquiao of running scarred. Pacquiao said that he hated giving blood as he felt it weakened him (Religious beliefs). Also random blood testing would mess up his training schedule. Pacquiao said that Mayweather knew all this and knew that Pacquiao would never agree to it and therefore it was Mayweather that was running scared.
Various counter offers were made by both teams but an agreement couldn’t be made. The fight was off.
For the past five years the fight has been on and off more times than a whores knickers.
So why now?
The contracts were signed just a few days ago (23rd April) which meant that tickets could finally go on sale. The venue (MGM Grand) holds just under 17000. Yet only 500 tickets went on sale to the public. They sold out in minutes. Priced between $1500 and $10,000. The other 16000 tickets were allocated to VIP’s, Relatives of the fighters, Sponsors, Sports Teams and associations.
It would seem that Mayweather got what he wanted as far as the contract is concerned.
The fight is billed as Mayweather v Pacquiao. Mayweather will be last to enter the ring. He also has the choice of ring corner and locker room. He will take 60% of the purse.
Pacquiao wanted Texas (Dallas Cowboys Stadium) for the fight. Mayweather had no interest in fighting in Texas and demanded Las Vegas. So the fight was set up for the MGM Grand.
The drug testing that was the stumbling block last time has been resolved. Mayweather won. Pacquiao has agreed to United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Olympic-style drug testing. This drug-testing program consists of both random blood and urine testing, with the fighters agreeing to let their whereabouts be known at all times during training so that random pre-fight testing can be administered. Both fighters will also be tested directly after the fight.
Mayweather Promotions will be the lead promoter over Top Rank (Pacquiao) Promotions. Mayweather will have the final say in event planning, from the press conferences to the in-arena entertainment.
So why would Pacquiao agree to ALL of Mayweather’s demands? Quite simple really. Money.
Win lose or draw he’ll earn more money from this fight than he could from facing ten other opponents. He’s 36 and this maybe his last fight.
Mayweather is the favourite. He’s unbeaten in 47 fights. Pacquiao has had 64 fights but has lost on five occasions.
This will give you an example of the difference between the two men.
Mayweather will be wearing a $25,000 mouthguard for the fight, incorporated with diamond dust, gold flakes, and a $100 bill cut-out. The mouthguard is designed and created by Dr. Lee Gause of New York.
Pacquiao’s mouthguard is given to him as a gift from his Filipino dentist. It will incorporate the Filipino flag’s colours: red, blue, yellow, and white.
It’s being billed at Good Guy v Bad Guy. Floyd Money Mayweather the multi-million dollar, cocky, arrogant, bully boy American against little Manny Pacquiao the quiet well- mannered Filipino.
Not quite the truth. That’s what the promoters want us to believe because it all adds to the hype. When Mayweather takes over a restaurant and buys dinner for 200 of his entourage it’s seen as brash and cocky. When Pacquiao does the same thing everyone says what a nice kind hearted person he is. Pacquiao spent somewhere between $3m and $4m on 900 tickets for his family and hangers on but the headline was “Generous Pacqiao treats his friends”.
Mayweather is telling everyone that this fight is only worth the $400m revenue because of him. Not true. He needed Pacquiao. No other fighter could have given him the purse that he’s expected to get (win, lose or draw).
So who will win?
Smart money is on Mayweather to win on points. He’s without doubt the bookies favourite because he is so hard to hit. His defence is unequalled. He can “spoil” a fight by using his ring craft so well that a fighter can only seem to land blows on his shoulders and upper arms. Fighters get frustrated and begin to take chances. Mayweather then picks them off in the second half of the fight with hard hitting combinations that soon take their toll. That’s the way he wins most of his fights.
Pacquiao hits hard. He’s also got lightening quick hands. Shane Mosley who has fought both fighters said about Pacquiao “I looked at this little guy and thought no way is he going to beat me. The next thing I knew I was getting up off the floor and feeling dizzy.” Ricky Hatton, who Pacquiao beat in two rounds, said “Even when he punched me on the arms, it hurt!”
It’s simple physics. Speed and velocity equal power. That’s what Pacquiao has. Not only does he hit hard, he hits with speed. If and it’s a big if, he can catch Mayweather then it could be all over. But 47 other fighters have tried to find the answer and have failed. Mayweather wins every time. He’s NEVER been beaten as a professional.
So…it’s easy. If Pacquiao can get in quick, land punches and then move away before Mayweather has a chance to counter punch, he wins. If, like every other fighter he can’t hit Mayweather due to his fantastic defensive skills then Mayweather wins on points.
Me? I’m on Pacquiao.
The one thing that I want more than anything, is that it’s a great fight. I’ll be watching it in a boozer in London with about 30 mates. Can’t wait….