At last. Boxing fans can let out the exhale from the breath we’ve long held in. The megafight between Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KO) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KO) is signed, sealed and on Saturday, May 2nd 2015 it will be delivered. The long road that started and stopped several times in the past half decade ends at the MGM Grand arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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For some fans it’s been difficult to get over the past but for most, all is now forgiven. Many factors needed to be ironed out before getting both names on the dotted line. Money, blood testing, broadcast network issues and promotion issues are all at the top of the list of roadblocks that have held the sports world back from seeing the fight we’ve all been yearning for. Some estimates have Mayweather earning a potential $120 million and Pacquiao making $80 million for the fight that will have estimated $1,000.00 “cheap seats” and will cost approximately $89.99 on PPV or $99.99 in high-definition. The random blood and urine testing that Floyd has been persistent about and Manny reportedly balked at several years ago is now in effect and that’s a win for everybody. The fact that Manny exclusively fights on HBO/HBO PPV and Floyd fights exclusively on Showtime/Showtime PPV and also rival promotionally with Top Rank and Mayweather Promotions may have been the largest obstacle to overcome. But when the money and interest are this large the networks and promoters find a way to let massive egos get out of the way for the love of a massive payday.

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The precedent for the level of cooperation required between HBO and Showtime to make this happen was set back in 2002 when Lennox Lewis defended the lineal heavyweight championship of the world against Mike Tyson in Memphis, Tennessee. Lewis fought under the HBO banner and Tyson was on Showtime. Many of the same details from that deal will be in play now. Both HBO announcer Michael Buffer and Showtime announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr will announce their respective company fighters into the ring. And both blow-by-blow crews from HBO and Showtime will be combined into an All-Star announcing team. My personal hope is HBO’s Jim Lampley calls the fight with Showtime’s Al Bernstein. The replay rights to the fight in 2002 went to the network of the winning fighter which was ultimately HBO as Lewis won the bout by 8th round KO.

The undercard will apparently be two fights instead of the traditional three televised undercard bouts. Each promotional company will handpick two of their own fighters to showcase to the world. It’s a great opportunity for Mayweather Promotions which has a dismal stable of fighters outside of it’s leader to pick the right man to get attention for. Some top candidates for the coveted spot include former super welterweight champion Ishe Smith, super middleweight contender Badou Jack and super middleweight J’Leon Love. Mark me down for predicting current IBF lightweight champion Mickey Bey getting the call. As for Top Rank the field is very deep with young contenders such as super middleweight Gilberto Sanchez, super lightweight Jessie Vargas and fast rising super featherweight Felix Verdejo. My pick is the uber talented Ukrainian featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko.

Now that all the business outside of the ring is settled the fans will be in for a fight between the two best pugilists in the world. The talking will be loud and entertaining and the fight itself will be great theatre and hopefully great drama. “I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years,” Pacquiao said. “They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is an honor to be part of this historic event.” As for what Floyd had to say, “Boxing fans and sports fans around the world will witness greatness on May 2, I am the best ever, TBE, and this fight will be another opportunity to showcase my skills and do what I do best, which is win.”

It’s been a long wait and the payoff is near. It’s a great time for the sport of boxing and this fight will be an exclamation point on the fantastic start 2015 has already enjoyed. I’ll be back in just one week with picks for the biggest fights of March including Keith Thurman vs Robert Guerrero and Sergey Kovalev defending his IBF, WBO and WBA light heavyweight titles against Jean Pascal. I’ll also be predicting the massive Mayweather/Pacquiao fight later in April.

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