Mayweather, Pacquiao fight for boxing's future

Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:06pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - When Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao enter the ring on Saturday the stakes could not be higher, even for a bout already labeled the "Fight of the Century."

The richest prize fight of all-time will give each fighter a multi-million-dollar payday and smash pay-per-view numbers while eye-popping ticket prices, out of reach for all but the rich and famous, will see the 16,800-seat MGM Grand Garden Arena rival the Super Bowl in gate receipts.

There is a garish championship belt embossed with 3,000 emeralds on the line along with the mythical title of world's best pound-for-pound fighter but more significantly it is a bout that could cement a boxing legacy and a fight on which the future of the sport could hang.

Five-plus years in the making, all the hype and elements are in place to elevate the welterweight showdown into one of those memorable watershed sporting moments.

Or it could be a flop, providing another blow for a sport that is just starting to lift itself back off the canvas.

"This fight has been talked about for so long the anticipation now people are really looking forward to it and willing to pay any price to watch it," Oscar De La Hoya, one of the few boxers to fight Mayweather and Pacquiao, told Reuters.

"It this fight is dull, if it's a dud then that can really affect the overall game but if it is an exciting fight, a fight people want to see again, it can take boxing to new heights."

With tickets on the resale market commanding over $100,000 for ringside seats and close to 3 million people expected to pay $100 on pay-per-view, the undefeated Mayweather (47-0) and Filipino southpaw (57-5-2) will be expected to produce a spectacle worthy of such princely price tags.   Continued...

Undefeated WBC/WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the U.S. and WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines pose during a final news conference at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, April 29, 2015.  REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus