May 2 was called the greatest day in sports. The NFL Draft, NBA Playoffs, NHL playoffs, the Kentucky Derby, and the soon-to-be richest fight in the history of boxing all fell on one single Saturday.
The Fight of the Century pitted the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport of boxing. The technician and defensive mastermind in Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao, the congressman from the Philippines known for his southpaw creativity in finding punching opportunities. This was the boxing match all boxing fans hoped would save the sport.
Coming into the fight, 38-year-old Mayweather had an unblemished 47-0 record while 36 year-old Pacquiao was 57-5-2. To watch the fight, viewers would have to shell out $99.95.
Since 2009, the two sides have been trying to make a fight happen. The CEO of Golden Boy Promotions at that time was Richard Schaefer who represented Mayweather and Bob Arum the President of Top Rank, Inc. for Pacquiao. The hope was to reach an agreement for a fight in 2010.
Eventually the fight was called off at the end of 2009 and weeks later was almost salvaged by the two parties. They entered into mediation with a retired federal judge, but once again it was not meant to be.
After seeing each other at a Miami Heat game in late January 2015 against the Milwaukie Bucks, they exchanged phone numbers and met after the game at the hotel Pacquiao was staying at. That helped the two parties come to an agreement.
On Feb. 20, Floyd Mayweather posted that the contract had been signed for a May 2, 2015, fight at the MGM Grand. The welterweight unification bout would see the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Organization, and World Boxing Association super titles on the line at 147 pounds.
Heading into the fight, Mayweather has won his last five fights by decision with his last knockout against Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17, 2011. Manny Pacquiao has won his last three fights by unanimous decision after two consecutive losses to Juan Manual Marquez and Timothy Bradley. He won his last fight by technical knockout in the Nov. 14, 2009, fight against Miguel Cotto. His last knockout was May 2, 2009, against Ricky Hatton. Experts, fans and spectators expected the fight to go 12 rounds. Kenny Bayless was the referee in charge of the mega fight with judges Glenn Feldman, Burt Clements and Dave Moretti scoring the bout.
The fight became a one-sided affair due to the strategic brilliance of Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao only threw 429 punches, his lowest output since the rematch with Bradley at 563 punches and the third fight with Marquez at 578 punches. Mayweather landed 148 of his 435 punches for a 34 percent clip while Pacquiao landed 81 of his 429 punches for a 19 percent clip.
In the post-fight conference, Pacquiao stated that he had an injured right shoulder. The crowd was chanting “Manny! Manny!” every time the boxer threw combinations. Mayweather used his ability to maneuver, defend and deliver tactful punches to score well on the score cards. Clements and Feldman had the bout 116–112 giving Mayweather 8 rounds to Pacquiao at 4 rounds. Moretti scored the bout 118–110 in favor of Mayweather at 10 rounds to Pacquiao with 2. The statistics backed their claims in their scores as well as the result of the fight.
The millions of viewers who shelled out to see the fight, as well as the history books, will not remember the Fight of the Century as an epic battle. But it will hands down be the richest.
For their efforts, Floyd Mayweather is expected to earn $180 million, and Manny Pacquiao is expected to earn around $120 million due to the 60-40 split the fights agreed to in the contract. The fight brought Mayweather’s broadcast home, Showtime, and Pacquiao’s broadcast home, HBO, two rivals, together. The fight generated a live gate of an estimated $74 million. The $99.95 pay-per-view is expected to demolish the record of 2.48 million and revenue of $150 million.
Organizers expected the fight to make over $400 million. Mayweather has said that he will fight one more time before calling it a career. He hopes to tie Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 career record in his next bout. Names mentioned as possible next opponents are undefeated 25-0 Keith Thurman and 30-3 Amir Khan. Pacquiao will take a short vacation to heal and rest up for a possible fight later in the year. Two of his last four fights have been in Macau.
Do not expect a rematch between these two fighters.
UPDATE: Pacquiao will not be fighting later this year due to a right shoulder surgery. He has a significant tear in his rotator cuff and he will be out 9-12 months, according to ESPN.