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The Fight of the Century

Tonight's mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao is a conspiracy theory in motion.

Not since the heyday of Muhammad Ali has a fight been as forensically scrutinised in advance. Mayweather's unbeaten 47-0, his WBA (Super), WBC and The Ring welterweight belts and his prison record have been examined. Pacquiao's had more wins (57). And also 2 losses and 5 draws. More miles on the clock. He's 36. Floyd is 38. Everything's been weighed up. Not least the fact that Mayweather swerved Pacquiao until he felt Pac-Man's knock-out power had diminished.

He hasn't KOed an opponent since Miguel Cotto in 2009, ten fights ago. And his 2 losses, both in 2012, have been in his last 5 fights.

"Floyd's the man to meet if you wanna go asleep" says Mayweather Snr. But 'Money' has knocked out just one guy since he stopped Ricky Hatton in 2007. (Victor Ortiz 2011).

If the fight goes the distance the money is on 'Money'.

But you've got to factor in canny Pac-Man coach Freddie Roach. He says: "Manny is on a mission. This fight is his crusade." Can the cornerman work some tactical magic for the southpaw?

Of course there'll be a third person in the ring tonight. Kenny Bayless is the man charged with refereeing this clash of the Titans.

The three judges at ringside will also come under the microscope. This is Vegas after all. The Nevada Athletic Commission's jurisdiction. And Las Vegas has a colourful past. Its founding fathers worshipped the dollar.

The scions of scam are still in town. And this is the most lucrative boxing event in history.

Even allowing for inflation of sales pitch, you can expect the money generated around this Battle for Greatness will be many multiples of the $400 millions being touted. Casinos are expected to hit record turn-overs this weekend.

And those three all-important judges will earn $20k a man for their night's work. Bayless will get $25k. Let's hope they get it right. What odds on a re-match?

mayweather v pacquiao