If you’re reading this on Saturday there’s still time to order the “fight of the century” between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Given Floyd’s 38 and Manny 37, many say the fight is five years too late.
And yet the pay-per-view at $99 is the highest in boxing history. The 1,500 seats made available to the public sold out in 60 seconds. Tickets for just the weigh-in are going for $75 while on the secondary market the best ringside tickets are going for as much as $344,000! (Can you say “insane?”)
However, if you’re reading this on Sunday, the fight happened yesterday. So you might want to skip to our ever-popular crossword puzzle feature.
Actually, I can tell you now absolutely who won the fight: both Mayweather and Pacquiao, as they will receive $120 million and $80 million, respectively. In fact, those numbers may easily go up to $150 million and $100 million (or more!) depending on the final pay-per-view buys and how much the respective camps sold their share of the live gate tickets. Depending on the action in the ring, Mayweather-Pacquiao may not wind up the “Fight of the Century” but it’s guaranteed to be the “Payday of the Century” at the bank.
They say styles make fights and this match pits Pacquiao, a southpaw with a wild and relentless style, against right-handed Mayweather who is a defensive genius. He prides himself on his extraordinary reflexes and avoiding getting hit more than any other fighter today and possibly in history. Between the two contrasting styles, something’s got to give, and that’s what fans are paying to see.
But the fight also pits the “good guy” against the really “bad guy.” Manny’s a very religious family man, a Congressman in his native Philippines and is involved in all kinds of charities, If Manny’s in the white hat, Floyd in the one in the black hat.
Mayweather has twice pleaded guilty to domestic violence. In 2012, he spent almost three months in a Las Vegas jail for violence against his girlfriend, mother of three of his children. In 2014 he reportedly owed the IRS $50,000,000! But Floyd relishes the part of the bad boy and it definitely sells tickets. Many fans are clamoring to see him finally get beat.
But it won’t be easy. In 47 fights, Floyd has won them all, 26 by knockout. If he goes undefeated in three more fights, Mayweather would set the record at 50-0, passing the late Rocky Marciano. Floyd’s nickname is “money” as he seems to live for it. Forbes listed him as the highest paid athlete in 2014 and with this fight he will completely shatter all one-year earnings records for an athlete.
Of his 64 professional bouts, Manny has won 57 with 38 knockouts. But he’s has lost five and has been knocked out three times. (Floyd’s only been knocked down once and hasn’t lost since 1996 in the Olympics.)
Manny is the overwhelming fan favorite, while Floyd is the odds makers’ favorite listed at -230. Someone betting on Mayweather has to shell out $230 to win $100, whereas a $100 bet on Manny could return $190. Mayweather is likely to bet on himself as among his other dubious personal traits is a substantial gambling habit.
“Substantial” is putting it mildly. In 2013, Floyd reportedly bet $5.9 million on the Miami Heat in game seven of the NBA finals and won $6.5 million in return. According to Vegas Gambling Steam, Mayweather had to spread his wagers across nine sports books.
Floyd is a huge Miami Heat fan, as is Justin Bier. In fact, the “Biebs” is such a big Mayweather admirer that he will be part of the entourage as Floyd walks into the ring. (Which only adds to my hope that Manny wins. So much for my appearing unbiased.)
Running back Ray Rice faced a lengthy suspension from the NFL for domestic violence and other sports have cracked down, too. But not boxing. This motivated Keith Olbermann to call for fans to boycott the fight. That won’t happen, but ESPN’s Outside The Lines did release a copy of the police report from the incident that eventually landed Floyd in jail.
Quoting from the report, “Mayweather hit her in the back of the head, pulled her off a couch by her hair, and told her, ‘I’m going to kill you and the man you’re messing with.” What a prince. Unphased, Floyd refuses to comment. (He’s too busy counting his soon-to-be-pocketed $150 million.)
Mayweather-Pacquiao has transcended boxing. I just hope the action in the ring lives up to the hype. And also that you got to read this on Saturday. If it was Sunday, I can only hope you enjoyed the crossword puzzle.
Jack also writes Laughing Matters, which appears every Friday. He’s at facebook.com/jackneworth and twitter.com/jackneworth and can be reached via email at email@example.com.