It has been a long, tortuous, fractious and at times undignified process, but ever since a fight between the two best pound-for-pound boxers in the world was mooted back in 2009, the boxing world has longed to see Manny Pacquiao take on the undefeated Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring.
And on May 2nd 2015, the fans will get their wish in what is being seen as the first real super fight of the 21st century. While other fights may have attracted plenty of interest, there has been only a few times in history when the two best fighters in the world at any weight have clashed. Indeed, perhaps only the famous 1980s clash between Marvellous Marvin Hagler and Tommy the Hitman Hearns could be said to be a comparable event.
The fighters have been locked away in training camp for many weeks now, preparing for what is likely to be the fight that will define their legacy. Will Floyd Mayweather continue on his unbeaten quest to beat Rocky Marciano's record as an unbeaten champion? Will Pacquiao reaffirm his fans belief that Mayweather has been dodging the Philippine ace over the years in the knowledge that Manny has the tools to defeat him.
Come the 2nd May, the world will have the answer.
The Tale of the Tape
- Height: 5ft 8"
- Weight: 147 lb (Welterweight)
- Record: 47-0 (26 by knock out)
- Orthodox Style
- From, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
- Titles Defending: Unified WBA (Super) and WBC Belts, plus The Ring Welterweight Champion
- Height: 5ft 6.5"
- Weight: 147lb (Welterweight)
- Record: 57-5-2 (38 by knock out)
- Southpaw Style
- From Sarangani, the Philippines
- Titles Defending: WBO Welterweight Champion
Negotiations between the two fighters began in December 2014, when Floyd Mayweather first mooted the chance of a May 2nd clash between himself and Pacquiao. By 13th January, Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum claimed that the Philippine legend had agreed terms for the fight and that it was now just Mayweather's camp holding things up.
On the 27th January, the two fighters came face to face an a NBA game in what was perceived by many as a staged event. The two swapped numbers and reportedly met at Pacquiao's hotel to thrash out the terms of the deal.
Just under a month later on the 20th February, Mayweather's camp announced that the fight had been signed and that it would take place on May 2nd at the MGM in Las Vegas. Boxing experts reckon that this could be the richest fight in boxing history with figures of up to $400m being generated from sponsorship and pay per view revenue.
Mayweather and Pacquiao will split the purse 60/40 and the clash has been dubbed "The Fight of the Century", the last time that same billing was used was for the 1975 clash between Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier, better known as the Thrilla in Manilla.
Mayweather Pen Pic
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mayweather first came to attention as a talented amateur boxer, earning a bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics, but it is his record since turning professional that has caught the eye, with 47 wins and no defeats, he is closing in on Rocky Marciano's unbeaten mark as a professional.
Whether Mayweather will reach that mark remains open to debate. The Money has retired from the sport once already in his career only to launch a comeback and he has already stated in interviews that he will retire at some point in 2015. In which case, it is likely that his fight with Pacquiao will be his last.
Of course, that could depend on the result, would Mayweather be tempted to reach 50 unbeaten professional fights? If he can dispense with Pacquiao bouts against British duo Amir Khan, or WBO Welterweight champion Kell Brook could be potential future opponents.
Mayweather's counter-punching and adaptability mark him out as one of the vest best technicians in the ring and the bookies have the American as a strong favourite to win on the 2nd May.
Pacquiao Pen Pic
Manny Pacquiao may not boast an unblemished record, but he is the only man in history to win World Boxing titles at eight different weights, stretching over an astonishing 42lbs in weight.
Beloved in his native Philippines, Pacquiao is already an elected member of his countries House of Representatives and it seems when he hangs up his boxing gloves, a career in politics awaits him.
Pacquiao's relentless workrate and all out attacking boxing style as a southpaw has marked him down as one of the most exciting fighters to watch, not to mention one of the very best. Already rated one of the best two pound-for-pound fighters in the world alongside Mayweather, their clash will define which of these two Goliath fighters is ultimately the best.
The bookies may have Pacquiao as the underdog for the fight, but that won't faze Pacquiao who could give Mayweather far more problems than any of the American's previous 47 opponents.
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