Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight early next year. It may not be official. The fighters involved may not have worked out the fine points. Stuff could still go wrong, obviously. But, for all intents and purposes, the much-hyped Dream Match that boxing aficionados have been pining away for is basically a done deal.
You’ll recall ever since discussions regarding this showdown first went public, there have really only been two issues holding everyone back: performance-enhancing drug testing and money.
For all of the verbal sparring, for all of the back-and-forths, for all of the legal mumbo jumbo – there were always only two hurdles.
Mayweather wanted stringent, Olympic-style drug testing, and he wanted a ridiculous amount of the purse. There were varying rumors regarding what the specific total he was looking for was, however, it definitely involved him getting more than his Filipino arch rival. And seeing as Pacquiao was always very firm about not taking anything less than a 50-50 split (well, except for that one time when he said he’d give Mayweather “the lion’s share”), Mayweather’s specific demands never really mattered.
On Thursday, almost a week after Pacquiao agreed to fight Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 of this year, the champ made another huge move. In what will likely be seen as the olive branch that helped put together the most highly-anticipated fight of this decade, Pacquiao told reporters today that he was willing take 45 percent of the purse and give Mayweather 55 percent in the event that they agree to a bout.
As reported by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports:
Pacquiao agreed Thursday during appearances on two separate television shows on ESPN to give Mayweather a 55-45 advantage on a financial split should they fight, as the public has been demanding since late 2009. A match between them is expected to be the most lucrative bout in boxing history.
Pacquiao, who meets Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, had been demanding a 50-50 split. Without such a split, he’s said repeatedly over the last 18 months that he would not agree to a fight with Mayweather.
The other major hurdle blocking the fight between the two men regarded by many as the two best in the world was Mayweather's demand for Olympic-style drug testing. Initially, Pacquiao balked at the testing. He has since changed his stance and has said repeatedly over the last year he would fully comply with the tests, just as Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto have done in Mayweather's last three fights.
Mayweather can’t turn this down. Plain and simple – rejecting this deal is not an option for him. Anything but a “yes, I’ll take 55 percent of the richest fight ever” will be viewed as blatant ducking. And Mayweather values his standing in boxing way too much to ever torpedo his legacy like that.
He’ll accept this deal. He’s too smart not to.
There is only one thing that could derail this match – Pacquiao losing to Marquez in December. Not losing to him in the way that he lost to Timothy Bradley, but really losing to him. If the Filipino champion gets worked by a 39 year old whose on the verge of retirement, that will kill any and all hype surrounding Pacquiao-Mayweather. But that’s it. That's the only thing.
Iole noted in his column that Mayweather’s legal problems might come into play at some point and wreck this showdown – but that’s very unlikely. Once the pair agrees to a fight, the schedule can be re-worked to fit everyone’s needs. A probation violation doesn’t get you years in jail; any legal setback can be overcome.
"I think Mayweather will be next," Pacquiao told Yahoo! Sports in a phone interview.
Barring a loss to Marquez – no doubt about it.
(Kudos Yahoo! Sports)