Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather agree £160m Las Vegas mega-fight
The richest match-up in boxing history between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao has finally been agreed after years of haggling.
A source close to the Filipino boxer and congressman revealed to The Sunday Telegraph that Pacquiao completed his contractual agreements on Saturday and that Mayweather is set to sign and will announce the contest which is expected to be worth $250 million (£162 million) in the coming days.
Mayweather was in New York on Friday, buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewellery, and there are indications that the unbeaten American boxer could even decide to announce the superfight officially at the NBA All-Star Game tip-off, which takes place on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
"Manny has 100 per cent signed his side of the deal,” the source told Telegraph Sport. “It is now over to Mayweather to close the deal and announce the fight.” Pacquiao himself revealed Friday that he has started training in General Santos City, Philippines for his next fight.
Before his face-to-face meeting with Pacquiao last month at a basketball match in Miami, where the pair later met for an hour in the Filipino's hotel suite, Mayweather had appeared on CBS coverage of a boxing event in December and announced that his decision was to face Pacquiao in the ring on May 2.
Through January, however, leaked comments from both sides led to claim and counter-claim over negotiations, which appeared to have stalled again.
But the meeting in Miami re-ignited the deal. Both parties agreed that MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas would be the venue of the fight.
Mayweather has had his past 10 fights there, while Pacquiao has had five of his past seven bouts there.
The fight the world has waited for, on and off for almost six years, now looks set to take place at the MGM Grand on May 2, although it is believed that there are two other dates on the table.
Behind the scenes, the talks have been complex. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, has overseen his side of the negotiations for the bout since November last year through Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS, whose subsidiary network Showtime has two more fights left on a six-fight deal with Mayweather.
It is understood that Mayweather's adviser, Al Haymon, has secured a 60 per cent cut of the revenue for his fighter, with Pacquiao, 36, having agreed to a 40 per cent cut.
Mayweather, unbeaten in 47 fights with 26 knockouts, who turns 38 in nine days' time, will take his career earnings to over half a billion dollars from this contest. But the greatest risk to 'Money' Mayweather in this fight is the loss of his status as an unbeaten fighter.
The megafight between the pair of welterweight world champions is expected to shatter all boxing's box-office records, including the all-time pay-per-view buy record of 2.4 million (Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya), the pay-per-view revenue record of £100 million (Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez) and the all-time gate record of £13 million (Mayweather-Alvarez).
The teams, according to the Pacquiao side, have also agreed on the policy for the 8-ounce gloves they will wear, and have concurred on a pre and post-fight drug testing programme, the latter issue having scuppered talks in 2009, and then in 2010.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency will be assigned for random drug-testing leading into the fight, with all other matters for the bout to be overseen by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Pacquiao is under contract with cable network HBO/Time Warner, and it understood that both broadcasters will air a joint pay-per-view event.
The rival television networks had a similar agreement when heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson in 2002.