We have every reason to be excited about the inevitable fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
After all the hype and drama, who isn't?
This fight is more than just Mayweather against Pacquiao. This one is for all the marbles. It'll be an undefeated fighter nicknamed "Money" who many believe is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today against a future Hall of Famer nicknamed "Pacman" and the only boxer ever to win titles in eight different weight divisions.
Something has got to give.
Not since the days of Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney, Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Jake LaMotta and Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier has a fight been more anticipated then Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
On January 16th, Pacquiao and his promoter Top Rank agreed to terms for a mega fight with Mayweather. ESPN's Dan Rafael describes the magnitude of the bout of the 21st century:
"According to a source involved in the negotiations, Pacquiao has agreed to a 40 percent cut of the revenue, leaving Mayweather with the remaining 60 percent of a fight most believe will shatter every boxing box office record, including the all-time pay-per-view buy record of 2.4 million (Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya), the pay-per-view revenue record of $150 million (Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez) and the all-time gate record of $20 million (Mayweather-Alvarez)."
Rafael says once Mayweather and his camp also agree to terms, the bout will be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather and Pacquiao have fought there in 15 of their last 17 bouts combined.
The two have been on a collision course since 2009. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao would have happened on March 13th, 2010, but the latter's refusal to agree to Olympic-style drug testing was the start of the fight's unpopular demise.
It wasn't meant to be five years ago. Now, we are as close as we can possibly be to witnessing a fight which happens once in a lifetime. As boxing fans, let us savor this for all it's worth.
For the purposes of this article, we will rate the excitement meter according to the impact each reason has on the boxing world.
10 10. Dionisia Pacquiao's "Jinx" on Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Just in case you missed it, Manny Pacquiao's mother, Dionisia, made headlines when her son fought Timothy Bradley in their April 2014 rematch.
According to The Philippine Daily Inquirer's Christian V. Esguerra, Dionisia Pacquiao was caught on television cameras uttering something during the fight. She was seen clutching a rosary and a small holy picture while pointing her finger at the cameras. Social media was ablaze with jokes about the elder Pacquiao "casting a spell" on Bradley.
In a separate Philippine Daily Inquirer update, she said she did not put a hex on Bradley. Instead, she said all she did was pray for her 35-year-old son not to get knocked out.
It apparently worked. Manny Pacquiao won via unanimous decision. His mother hugged Bradley after the fight.
We can be sure Dionisia Pacquiao will be praying for her son again when he fights Floyd Mayweather, Jr. What the world wants to see is if she will end up hugging Mayweather like Bradley almost a year earlier.
9 9. Celebrities In Attendance
If Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao is all it's hyped up to be, then you can expect celebrities galore to be at ringside.
Bleacher Report correspondent Justin Tate rattles off some of the biggest celebrity boxing fans today:
8 8. The Pre-Fight Buildup
It's a sure bet the drama which began in 2009 will build up dramatically in the weeks before the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bout.
Their press conference won't be as violent as Riddick Bowe-Larry Donald's in 1994 or Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis' in 2002, but it will be just as controversial. Count on Mayweather, who's never at a loss for words, to say something which will earn Pacquiao's ire.
As for the pre-fight hype on television, Showtime Sports' "All Access" and HBO's "24/7" will both no doubt put together stirring documentaries to whet our appetite. We also can't wait to watch Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless go at it on ESPN's "First Take" to see who they will be rooting for.
7 7. Drumming Up Businesses Galore
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is almost a reality. If you own a sports bar, you should be excited. If you run a sports betting website, get ready to accommodate wages of epic proportions. If you own a sports merchandising company, demand for boxing t-shirts and equipment will be sky-high.
Business is about to skyrocket.
6 6. It's Mayweather's Chance to Prove He's Really The Best There Is
At 47-0 with 26 knockouts, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is certainly one of today's best fighters. Check out his accolades:
He's also beaten big-name fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Can we already crown him as the best fighter of all time? Not just yet. As good as he is, it will be tough to surpass the legacies of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Henry Armstrong. Those guys are in a class of their own.
5 5. It's Pacquiao's Chance to Prove He's Not Washed Up
Admit it. When you saw Juan Manuel Marquez knocking Manny Pacquiao out cold in the sixth round of their fourth fight in 2012, you thought Pacquiao was already a goner.
After all, he lost his WBO Welterweight Title to a relative unknown named Timothy Bradley just six months earlier. Plus, Pacquiao was already on the verge of turning 34. He had the makings of an over-the-hill boxer who was on his last legs.
Not so fast.
4 4. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.'s First Loss
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. began his professional career in 1996. Taking into account his two-year hiatus from 2007-2009, he's been undefeated for 17 years.
That streak can possibly come to an end at the hands of Manny Pacquiao.
When negotiations for their March 2010 fight hit a snag, many boxing fans thought Mayweather was afraid of Pacquiao. Instead, Mayweather told ESPN's Dan Rafael in December of 2014 that it was Pacquiao and Co. who had been avoiding him like the plague:
"So let's make this fight happen. Manny Pacquiao, Bob Arum, you guys have been ducking us for years. We're tired of you guys fooling the public, fooling the critics. You guys didn't want to take random blood and urine testing, so that's why it didn't happen.
Then I offered you $40 million, and you didn't want to make the fight happen. You lost twice, now you coming back begging for the same money. That's not gonna happen. Let's make the fight happen for the people and the fans. Mayweather versus Pacquiao, May 2, Cinco de Mayweather."
3 3. Mayweather And Pacquiao Are Not Getting Any Younger
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is 37. Manny Pacquiao is 36. The former fought in his first pro bout at the age of 19 against Roberto Apodaca in 1996 while the latter was only 16 in his first pro fight against fellow Filipino Edmund Ignacio in 1995.
These two great fighters are not getting any younger. And neither are we. Since the proposed Mayweather vs.Pacquiao fight got called off five years ago, we have been left wondering if it will ever become a reality.
Think about it: What would have happened had Pacquiao vs. Mayweather join the ranks of the best fights that never materialized? Think Jake LaMotta vs. Rocky Graziano, Mike Tyson vs. David Tua or Riddick Bowe vs. Lennox Lewis. We would have been all clinging to the thought of "what if?"
2 2. Mayweather and Pacquiao Will Revive The Sport of Boxing
Let's admit it: Boxing is not as popular as it used to be.
In a Harris Poll survey released in January of 2014, boxing wasn't even mentioned as one of the most popular sports in the United States. In the study, NFL football remained king for the 30th consecutive year:
On a more global scale, Top10Zen.com's Edan Barak listed the world's 10 most popular sports in his December 2014 article. American football (No.10) and basketball (No.9) cracked the Top 10, but boxing didn't.
1 1. Boxing Needs A 21st Century Fight of Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao's Magnitude
Yes, boxing has taken a backseat compared to other sports. However, it doesn't need Mayweather vs. Pacquiao simply to increase its fading popularity.
Boxing needs Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and not the other way around.
Hard evidence of this is what transpired during a game featuring the Brooklyn Nets against the Los Angeles Clippers at STAPLES Center on January 22nd. According to a tweet from The Long Beach Press-Telegram's Robert Morales, Mayweather was courtside. Fans chanted, "We want Pacquiao" and "Fight Pacquiao."
Think of it this way: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will inject some much-needed lifeblood into the sport of boxing. It needs a shot in the arm. This fight, for all intents and purposes, is the one.
When all is said and done, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is primed not only to change the sport of boxing, but history as we all know it.
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