FLOYD MAYWEATHER JNR has confirmed that his next opponent will be Manny Pacquiao on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather holds the WBC welterweight belt while the Filipino superstar has the division’s WBO crown and they are both considered the greatest fighters of this era.
“What the world has been waiting for has arrived,” said Mayweather via the Shots app. “Mayweather versus Pacquiao on May 2015 is a done deal. I promised the fans we would get this done, and we did. We will make history on May 2. Don’t miss it.”
He displayed an image of their signatures – “the signed contract from both fighters,” Mayweather declared.
The announcement had been predicted for several days after rumours about the elusive mega-fight snowballed on social media.
Mayweather, 37, and Pacquiao, 36, have been on a drawn out – and infuriating – collision course since the fighters were at the peak of their powers in 2009.
Despite their advancing ages this blockbuster is almost certain to be the richest fight in history with the fighters reportedly splitting a $250 million bounty. Pay-per-view prices could be as high as $100 to watch from home in the US – Showtime and HBO are set to collaborate on the broadcast like they did in 2002 with Lennox Lewis–Mike Tyson – while ticket prices could start as high as $5,000.
Many fans and insiders gave up on this fight years ago as negotiations repeatedly broke down, and any lingering hopes about Floyd and Manny disappeared completely in 2012 when the latter lost two consecutive outings.
However, the rivalry returned to prominence last year due to Pacquiao confirming a return to form in November against Chris Algieri – his third impressive win in a row – and Mayweather appearing to run out of (lucrative) opponents after twice defeating Marcos Maidana.
It is believed the two parties have been thrashing out a deal since December and hit a crucial peak when the two fighters came together at a basketball game in Miami this month, and then met in a hotel room afterwards. Since then, both appeared united in their desire to let battle commence although fans and insiders were understandably concerned – given the pair’s delicate history – that the contest would still implode.
It is understood that the negotiations came to a close on Monday, and then it was just a case of when Floyd Mayweather decided to announce it.
The pair could fight again in the Autumn after a rematch clause was allegedly written into the contract for their opener.