Heavyweight appetizer sets up Mayweather-Pacquiao

Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:05pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wladimir Klitschko joined Joe Louis in the record books with his title bout on Saturday but the event took a decided back seat to boxing's latest 'Fight of the Century' - Mayweather v Pacquiao.

Klitschko matched the legendary Louis by climbing into the ring for his record-tying 27th world heavyweight championship fight but the Ukrainian's win against Bryant Jennings was a mere prelude to bigger things.

"This event with Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight champion of the world returning to Madison Square Garden, is the perfect hors d'oeuvre to what the main course will be next week," Peter Nelson, HBO sports programming vice president, told Reuters.

The biggest buzz among boxing notables gathered in the Big Apple centered on the long-awaited showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on May 2.

Even Klitschko understood his place in the boxing landscape when asked about feeling overshadowed by Saturday's upcoming bout.

"Thankfully, it's not the undercard," Klitschko said with a laugh, acknowledging how he would have ranked in the billing for the extravaganza.

"Obviously, Jennings and Klitschko is not the mega-fight."

The Las Vegas bout is expected to be boxing's richest and there was no shortage of comment.   Continued...

Eleven-time, five-division world boxing champion Floyd "Money" Mayweather (L) and eight-division world champion Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao pose at a news conference ahead of their upcoming bout, in Los Angeles, California March 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson