The latest bump in the road as it pertains to putting a Manny Paquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. superfight together appears to be purse split. Pacquiao wants something along the lines of a 50-50 deal – which on its face seems pretty fair. Mayweather, on the other hand, wants to give Pacquiao $40 million and none of the pay-per-view (PPV) dough – which seems not so fair.
Before proceeding, let us acknowledge once again that Pacquiao did once claim that he would accept less money to fight Mayweather. Nobody is denying this. The fact remains, though, he probably meant something moroso along the lines of 60-40 or 65-35 split, not 99-1.
Now, the main reason that Mayweather has cited as his justification for making Pacquiao take so much less money is that it would still be more than anything Pacquiao has made in the past. According to him, the Filipino champion should just be satisfied with what he’s offering – as if Pacquiao wouldn’t be able to find a better deal anywhere else. To hear Mayweather tell it, the two are in completely different money-making leagues.
Two problems with that: 1.) yes, Pacquiao would make more than ever before from a single fight, but so what? If Mayweather got $60 million guaranteed and no PPV dough, that would be his biggest payday as well. Would he be satisfied with that sort of arrangement? 2.) he and Pacquiao, in terms of total fight income brought in last year, really aren’t in different money-making leagues.
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According to the good folks at ESPN, Pacquiao made $50 million last year whereas Mayweather made $40 million last year. Now, to be fair Mayweather fought only once in 2011 and Pacquiao fought twice – but Pacquiao has far more alternative sources of revenue than Mayweather does. (ESPN's earnings figures represent salary and/or prize money from the 2011 calendar year and exclude any other source of compensation.)
So while it’s technically correct that Mayweather personally seems to bring in more per fight than his counterpart, the idea that $40 million with no PPV revenue would be the sort of life-saving deal that Pacquiao should snap up ASAP is a little far-fetched. Pacquiao made $50 million last year from his fights, he’s doing okay financially. He doesn’t need Mayweather's “generous” offer, particularly since his last fight did more PPV buys than Mayweather's did.
At the end of the day, everything about these two is similar. They’re of evenly matched in the ring, they’re equally wealthy outside of it and they’re both stubborn beyond belief. Thus, it stands to reason that their purse split, should this Dream Fight ever happen, probably ought to be as close to even as humanly possible.