Mayweather vs. Pacquiao
The moment that the entire boxing world has been awaiting for years has finally arrived: Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are scheduled to make boxing history on May 2, 2015. Yes, you heard me right: Mayweather and Pacquiao have finally agreed to faceoff in a bout that has been referred to as “akin to the first (Muhammad) Ali-(Joe) Frazier fight,” in terms of public interest and grandeur.[i] Though six years past due, this fight is still the most highly anticipated boxing event the sport has ever seen, and there is no doubt that it will shatter several records. As they say, “better late than never,” right? Any way you look at it, this fight is a win-win for all parties concerned.
Las Vegas is going to be extremely busy for the next few months. According to Jay Rood, MGM’s Vice President of Race and Sports Books, “[t]his is the kind of fight that we’ll take a lot of big bets,” even up to seven figures![ii] Avello, a 20-plus-year veteran, believes that this will be the biggest fight of his bookmaking career.[iii] Just to put it into perspective, Nevada’s largest grossing gate (to date) is the fight between Mayweather and Saul Canelo Alvarez, which grossed just over $20 million in 2013. [iv] This fight is set to crush that record with flying fists.
The fight is also destined to crush pay-per-view records, including the pay-per-view buy record of $2.4 million generated by Mayweather’s fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, and the all-time pay-per-view revenue record of $150 million dollars generated by Mayweather’s fight against Alvarez (referred to above). And just to top it off, pay-per-view is expected to charge $89.95 for this fight ($99.95 for HD), which is significantly higher than the $60 price range for previous fights.[v]
With this said, there is no question that Vegas and the pay-per-view media conglomerates are winners in this bout, regardless of whether Mayweather counter punches his way to yet another victory or Pacquiao stuns the world with an upset. The fans are clearly winners (assuming they don’t bet against Mayweather) because they are finally getting what they want, despite being teased for the last six years. Despite being six years past due, it’s finally happening, and that is reason enough for boxing fans around the world to rejoice. Again, better late than never. For a great discussion and chronological breakdown of the saga that has culminated with this soon-to-be historical boxing bout on May 2nd, check out “Complete Timeline of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao Saga,” by Kevin McRae.
Now that I’ve discussed Vegas, the pay-per-view media conglomerates, and the fans, what about the fighters? Surely one of them will win on paper, but both of them will win by paper. Even the loser is guaranteed to walk away from the fight with a minimum of about $75 million. Both fighters are splitting the total purse 60/40 (in favor of Mayweather), so Mayweather and Pacquiao will likely “earn $120 million and $80 million, respectively.”[vi] With numbers like those, it’s hard to find a loser.
Nevertheless, I’ll go ahead and predict the winner on paper: Floyd Mayweather, hands down (pun intended). Okay, I’ll admit that I have been an avid Mayweather fan since age 8, but I’m basing my prediction on numbers, and numbers do not lie. For starters, Pacquiao has lost 2 of his last 5 fights. Mayweather, on the other hand, is still touting an undefeated (47-0) record, and he seemingly ages like wine. Let’s also not forget that Pacquiao was destroyed by Juan Manuel Marquez, a fighter whom Mayweather beat with ease only three years prior.
Sure there are counterarguments: “Marquez got better over the three years between his fight with Mayweather and the one against Pacquiao,” and “Pacquiao got older.” But the numbers do not lie, and right now, “Las Vegas favors Mayweather, making him a -285 favorite, per OddsShark.com.”[vii] In other words, Mayweather has about a 70% implied chance to win the fight.[viii]
If Mayweather loses, I will eat my words, but that is highly unlikely. His defensive skills are virtually impenetrable, and his only weakness is himself. He has a tendency to be overconfident in his defense, though I can’t blame him. But with overconfidence comes the possibility of momentary defensive lapses that can instantly result in a one-punch knockout. We saw this in the final fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. Thus, if Pacquiao is to win this fight, he needs to overwhelm Mayweather with flurries of punches and hope for that momentary defensive lapse.
The only other way that Pacquiao can win is if Vegas (or the boxing promoters) fix the fight. I know this sounds crazy, and I’ve always been a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but there is a genuine possibility that this fight will be fixed. Why? Well, for one thing, we’ve seen it before. Furthermore, if there was ever a time to fix a fight, it’s now. It is undeniable that the sport of boxing is currently in a world of hurt. It has been over a decade since the last time boxing has seen consistent pay-per-view-caliber fights. I can’t even recall the last time there was a heavyweight fighter worth watching (the last I remember, it was the Klitschko brothers). Pacquiao and Mayweather are the last big names left in boxing, and they are both nearing the ends of their careers. It’s safe to say that boxing is at a steady decline. UFC, on the other hand, has been taking off at an alarming rate. Given the decaying state of boxing, nobody wants to see a rematch more than Vegas and the boxing promoters, and a rematch would be far less likely if Mayweather wins.
So, look out for a shocking draw or decision in favor of Pacquiao if Mayweather does not win by knockout. By shocking, I mean a draw or decision for Pacquiao despite clear and convincing evidence that Mayweather should have won. Of course I want Mayweather to win, but everything I’ve said in this article is my honest and impartial opinion mixed with fact. But regardless of who wins on paper, this fight is going to be one to remember, and everyone—Vegas, the fans, the fighters, and all else concerned—will be happy that this fight took place.
Photo by: remolacha.net under Creative Commons License.