Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will probably fight at some point in 2014. For all the brouhaha about the former squaring off against Danny Garcia, and all the questions about a possible rematch between the latter and Juan Manuel Marquez, this is the bout that makes the most sense for all involved. When it happens, the total intake will be just as great as what it would have been three years ago when talks first began. There isn’t a single person in the world who would’ve bought the PPV three years ago who won’t buy in 2014. Not. A. One.
While the total amount earned will be just as massive as it would’ve been, the way that cash is split will change. Whereas when talks about this super fight first began Mayweather and Pacquiao were viewed as equals, the same can't be said today.
Pacquiao is coming off back-to-back defeats; Mayweather is the undisputed king of his sport. The last time he was asked about squaring off against Pacquiao, Mayweather set two conditions: 1.) Pacquiao would have to sign to Mayweather Promotions, 2.) Pacquiao would get none of the PPV money; instead, he’d get a fixed amount.
This week, Forbes published an article stating that Pacquiao lost $100 million by not fighting Mayweather a few years ago. Here is a bit of it:
But a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would have generated much, much more. Three years ago the split between Mayweather and Pacquiao would have been roughly 50-50 for a fight that would have likely grossed more than $250 million, given Mayweather-Alvarez did over $200 million. After taking out the cut for the pay-per-view carriers, I figure Pacquiao and his camp lost about $100 million in earnings.
While the author’s larger point is definitely correct (Pacquiao’s leverage is now non-existent, Mayweather’s is ten times what it was, etc), there are certain things not mentioned there that have to be kept in mind.
First of all, the article suggests that Mayweather agreed to a 50-50 split, but made Olympic-style drug testing a condition of that. Not true. Olympic-style drug testing was the first demand Mayweather made – he hadn’t offered a purse split demand at that point. That was to be determined later, and thanks to Pacquiao’s waffling and refusal to agree, Mayweather never actually had to make a purse split proposal.
After Pacquiao finally consented to Olympic-style drug testing, then ‘negotiations’ over purse split began. And the reason ‘negotiations’ is written like that is because most of the ‘negotiations’ weren’t really negotiations, they were PR tricks. Both guys spoke to the media about what they were offering each other – very few talks between them actually happened.
Said negotiations went something like this: Pacquiao demanded a 50-50 split; Mayweather said he wanted the majority of the purse; Pacquiao said no; Mayweather walked away; Pacquiao relented and offered Mayweather a 60-40 split; Mayweather said he wanted Pacquiao to give up all of the PPV money and take a guaranteed lump sum.
That was as far as negotiations went. At no point was Pacquiao anywhere close to receiving a 50-50 split.
Furthermore, even if 50-50 were the split, Pacquiao still likely wouldn’t have made $100 million. If Mayweather’s rumored max payout is $90 million based off a $200 million fight, then there’s no way he and Pacquiao could have both walked away with $90-$100 million in a $250 million fight. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez got pennies on Mayweather’s dollars – that’s why the latter made so much. Had the split been even moderately equal, Mayweather would’ve made way less.
So, yeah, no – Pacquiao didn’t lose $100 million by not fighting Mayweather.