How Realistic is Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather in May 2012?

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By Nick Tylwalk

Here we go again.

The media is partially to blame for all this, as it dredges up the potential mega-fight any time either man is about to fight someone else. Since Manny Pacquiao is preparing for a third go-round with Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12, he's had to shoulder most of the burden of answering those (same) questions in recent weeks.

That changed a few days ago when longtime Floyd Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe told ESPN's Dan Rafael that Floyd would return to the ring on May 5 of next year. Not only that, but Ellerbe specifically mentioned Mayweather seeking "the biggest fight possible" and that it would likely involve "the little fella," which isn't something I would personally call Pac-Man. Oh, and that sound you heard was the hype train getting revved back up.

Since I don't have the energy or inclination to go back over everything we've seen and heard discussed over the past few years, let's stick to things we actually know:

  • Mayweather is going to fight someone next spring

Floyd is certainly timing this announcement for dramatic effect, but it wasn't solely a publicity stunt or negotiating tactic. He's not getting any younger, and he's plenty smart enough to maximize his earning power while he has the chance.

Mayweather's most recent bout sold around 1.25 million pay-per-view buys despite the fact that opponent Victor Ortiz wasn't a well known commodity except to hardcore boxing fans. He'll make money even if he can't or won't make the Pacquiao fight happen.

So while I'd never even bet one cent of my own dough that Pacquiao-Mayweather is actually going to take place, I'd wager quite a bit that we'll be watching Floyd trade leather with someone come May 5.

  • It's probably going to be 2012 or bust for Pacquiao-Mayweather

Freddie Roach has gone on record as saying that while he thinks the fight needs to happen, it also has to happen soon, as in next year. The wildly successful trainer thinks the public will eventually tire of being teased, and that no one will be interested in seeing the two men tangle when they're both past their primes.

My guess is that someone would watch if Pacquiao-Mayweather didn't come off until 2015 (some people allegedly tuned in for Hopkins-Jones II, after all), but it wouldn't be nearly as big a deal as it would be six months from now. In boxing, there's a perfect time for every big fight. If we're not already past it for this one, we will be by 2013. That's almost guaranteed.

  • Drug testing is going to come up again

Heck, it did before Manny's current fight and Floyd isn't even involved. Believe that it will be an issue if there is are serious negotiations for next year.

Only this time it doesn't appear that it will be as big a deal. Bob Arum has already said Pacquiao has agreed to follow the World Anti Doping Agency's guidelines when he trains in the Philippines and the U.S. Anti Doping Agency's procedures when he moves to the Wild Card. That would seem to eliminate one big hurdle... but maybe not without some more verbal jabs.

Speaking of Arum...

  •  If the fight happens, it's going to be expensive

In a radio interview, Arum told an L.A. station that he'd be thinking $70 or more for the Pacquiao-Mayweather PPV fee. Hopefully that means the HD feed, at least.

Ah, the beauty of capitalism. It sucks to think of having to pay even more than usual to see the fight everyone really wants to see, but that's exactly why Arum and company could charge more. And fans will pay it too, though not without grumbling.

Live tickets will also be outrageous, especially if the fight takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. What do you think they can get for ringside seats there? Ten grand? More? If the bout is held somewhere larger, like Cowboys Stadium, you may be able to get in without selling your car, but not with a seat where you can actually see what's going on in the ring.

I think I speak for many boxing fans when I say that I'll be so happy to see Pacquiao and Mayweather in opposing corners that I won't mind paying an arm and a leg to watch, at least until the credit card bill arrives.

But let's worry about that when the time comes. Until then, start doing the treadmill dance again.

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