Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, widely considered two of the greatest boxers of their generation, have agreed to terms for a bout on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The deal was completed after months of speculation, which began in earnest after Pacquiao’s victory against Chris Algieri on Nov. 22. The fighters met at halftime of a Miami Heat basketball game on Jan. 27, fueling interest in the bout.
The fight will be broadcast as part of a joint venture between Showtime Sports and HBO Sports, the exclusive rights holders of Mayweather and Pacquiao. It will be distributed on pay-per-view at a price that is yet to be determined.
Showtime and HBO partnered on a broadcast of this scope once before, for the 2002 heavyweight championship match between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. The framework of that deal was used as a starting point, and many of the final details are expected to be similar. Jim Lampley of HBO and Bobby Czyz, then of Showtime, served as the lead commentators for Lewis-Tyson. Specific details of the production for Mayweather-Pacquiao, including who the announcers will be, are not yet available.
The fight is expected to be, by far, the highest-grossing fight in boxing history. Multiple reports estimate that there would be a 60/40 split in Mayweather's favor.
Fans have long clamored for a meeting between the welterweight superstars while both are still near their prime. Mayweather, who will turn 38 next Tuesday, is 47-0, with 26 knockouts, and Pacquiao, 36, is 57-5-2, with 38 knockouts.
Early in the negotiations, representatives for other venues lobbied to stage the match. One such venue was Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex., which could have accommodated a crowd of more than 100,000. But the MGM Grand has served as something of a home to Mayweather and Pacquiao in recent years, and it quickly became clear that the 16,800-seat arena was the only serious contender to land the fight.
Mayweather’s World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council championships are expected to be at stake in the unification bout, along with Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization belt. Of more importance, though, is the unofficial title of this era’s greatest pound-for-pound fighter, which many will award to the bout’s winner.