It is the biggest announcement in combat sports since – well nothing, as this is the biggest announcement ever in the history of combat sports.
Today, HBO and Showtime announced a joint broadcast of the now confirmed bout where undefeated Champion, Floyd “Money” Mayweather will face off against Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Speculation had been swirling around the bout since last September after Mayweather successfully defended his title in a rematch with Marcos Maidana. The world has known that Mayweather’s next two fights were his last on his Showtime broadcast contract and waited in anticipation for the naming of his next opponent.
The world clamored for Manny Pacquiao, especially after he demolished three top competitors (Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri) via unanimous decision. Popular opinion dictated that the fight probably wouldn’t occur after Pacquiao suffered two losses back-to-back against Timothy Bradley via split decision and then a brutal knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez.
Trainer Freddie Roach advised Pacquiao to quit the sport during that time and Pacquiao retreated and went into a spiritual cleansing mode, which he said helped him refocus on boxing.
While the options for Mayweather are boundless, names like Amir Khan have circled the champion concerning the May 2nd date. The fighter’s past issues with former promoter Bob Arum are very well known and he frequently referenced the fact Arum was the only stumbling block in the process. However, after his fight with Maidana, the talk began to heat up again and fans became anxious to see if “Money’s” last fights would involve a showdown with “Pacman” after all.
The biggest hurdles in boxing always lie in the broadcast rights. With Pacquiao and his promoter Top Rank having a deal with HBO, and Mayweather having a deal with Showtime, it seemed virtually impossible to see a world where the two cable giants could play ball; that all changed today. The two premium cable behemoths announced a partnership to broadcast the historic match-up.
“Everyone involved, including Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, knows this fight simply had to happen,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza. All of us are thrilled to be able to deliver this event to boxing fans around the world. Now, for the second time under his current deal with Showtime Networks, Floyd Mayweather has agreed to fight an opponent that many people thought he’d never face. We set an all-time pay-per-view record with the first event back in September 2013, and we look forward to another record-breaking performance on May 2.”
HBO echoed the sentiment for the historic partnership.
“Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have been the two most prominent fighters in the sport of boxing for the past decade, and fight fans around the world have been clamoring for them to face each other,” said Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports. “And now, on May 2nd, in what everyone believes will be the biggest boxing event of all-time, fight fans have been granted their wish. May 2nd will be a signature moment for the sport of boxing and HBO Sports is thrilled to be a part of this spectacular event. I know the fighters and their teams will be primed to excel and we plan to work closely with everyone involved to deliver the same level of performance from a broadcast perspective.”
The fight that we all have been waiting for has arrived and May 2nd will forever represent the day that we all witnessed the odds being wrong. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will fight and the fire that burns inside of fans for the best match-up has finally been satiated.
At least until May 2nd.