The showdown is a lock to be the richest in boxing history and will, barring a draw, settle the issue that has been debated for years: Who is the No. 1 fighter in boxing and who is the king of his era?
For more than five years, sports fans have clamored for a summit meeting between the two best fighters in the world, and after various failed negotiations, and a protracted and difficult effort to make the fight in recent months, they will get it on May 2 to unify their welterweight world titles at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather made the announcement Friday afternoon on a social media platform called Shots, of which he is an investor.
Although he announced it Friday, the deal had been done for a couple of days with both sides having signed the paperwork.
Contracts were also signed by broadcasters HBO and Showtime, who will team for a historic joint pay-per-view.
Many involved expected the announcement to come Thursday, but Mayweather was upset because Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter, was leaking word of the impending announcement, and he wanted it to be a surprise.
According to those familiar with the agreement, the contract Mayweather signed for the fight gave him the right to be the one to announce the fight, even though he was obligated to notify Top Rank of when he would do it.
- Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and living in Las Vegas, “Money” Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs), who turns 38 on Tuesday, has won world titles in five weight classes, mainly with his defensive brilliance and speed, while becoming the highest-paid athlete in the world.
- Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), a 36-year-old southpaw known for his speed, power and aggressive style, became the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight weight divisions – flyweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight – while also generating hundreds of millions of dollars and being elected to congress in his native Philippines, where he is a national icon.
In addition to the future Hall of Famers finally hammering out a deal for their welterweight title unification bout, one that will see Mayweather receive the lion’s share of a 60-40 money split in a fight that could gross around $400 million, rival premium cable networks Showtime, which has Mayweather under contract, and HBO, which has a deal with Pacquiao, went through a brutal negotiation and will come together to produce and distribute a joint pay-per-view telecast, which is expected to cost a record-high $89.95 (and probably $10 more for high definition).
The fight is expected to shatter every revenue record in boxing history, including the pay-per-view buy record of 2.4 million generated by Mayweather’s 2007 junior middleweight championship fight against Oscar De La Hoya; the all-time pay-per-view revenue record of $150 million generated by Mayweather’s 2013 junior middleweight championship fight against Canelo Alvarez; and the all-time gate record of $20,003,150.
It is only the second time Showtime and HBO have made such a deal. The first time was for the highly anticipated 2002 fight between then-heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who was with HBO, and former champion Mike Tyson, who was with Showtime.
The MGM Grand’s official booking page showed the hotel is already SOLD OUT for the night of the fight. Minutes after Floyd Mayweather announced fight.