By Jeff Powell for The Daily Mail
Floyd Mayweather will announce at his teasing convenience that the richest fight in boxing history will take place in Las Vegas on May 2.
All that remains of the long wait for the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world to take on the pretender to that mythical title, Manny Pacquiao, is for Money Mayweather to confirm that it’s on at last.
Mayweather and the Filipino Pac-Man are to be paid a combined purse of $250million for answering the public demand that they finally settle their five-year argument in the ring.
That cash-crazy neon desert Strip has lit up with electric expectation that Mayweather is ready to confirm what has long seemed inevitable.
The right to tell the world is one of his many stipulations in a contract to which all parties are reliably reported to have agreed after an eternity of wrangling.
The deal now done barring a seismic tantrum by Mayweather is also believed to include a rematch clause for a second $300m extravaganza back at the MGM grand in the autumn.
The minutiae of which gloves each combatant will wear, the Olympic standard drugs testing which Mayweather has long demanded and Pacquiao’s acquiescence to a smaller share of the fortune are all included.
The two major cable networks in America – Showtime, who hold a six-fight contract with Mayweather, and Pacquiao’s paymasters HBO – have settled for both broadcasting this extraordinary event.
And it remains a major spectacle, even though the world of boxing would have preferred that these two men in their mid-to-late 30s had got it on all these five years ago.
The precedent for two-channel transmission was set when Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis clashed in a heavyweight bonanza in June 2002.
The final sticking point – which of Showtime or HBO should have rights to the first replay broadcast a few days later – now appears to have been resolved.
The fee for the pay TV subscription in America is expected to be a record $100… or maybe $99.95 if they are feeling generous to the public! The cost for ringside tickets at the MGM Grand Garden Arena will sell at the order of $5000 apiece.
In expectation of the demand the hotels in Vegas have been hiking their room prices for that Mexico national celebration weekend in advance. Thousands of high-rollers, not just from south of the border and the US, but from around the world, have been booking in advance.
With even his lesser share of the booty, Pacquiao’s minimum $100m has been ample incentive for him to concede such trifles as Mayweather – who will receive $150m - taking the lead billing as well as both entering the ring and being acclaimed last by the ring announcer.
Although there were fears, justified or not, that Mayweather would prefer not to risk his unbeaten record against the Philippines congressman, who is still the biggest threat to that distinction, the offer seems to have proved too good to refuse.
From a British point of view, it’s an obvious disappointment for Amir Khan to miss out on fighting either one of them, but even he has admitted that he wants to see the fight.
The pair are likely to undertake a tour of some of the planet’s major capitals to help promote interest, and of course supplementary TV sales around the world, including Britain where Sky Sports, BT Sport and perhaps even BoxNation might find themselves in competition with, if not taxpayer funded BBC, then ITV, who could go for pay per view for the first time.
The boost for boxing in this modern communications world will be so huge that it could elevate the hard old game into a major sport on both sides of the Atlantic.
A worldwide of multiple millions, will, of course, spread out from the boxing enthusiasts across the full spectrum of society. The fun and games of all the negotiation and delays appears to be over. Let the blood sport begin.
The one remaining danger, perverse thought it may seem, is that Mayweather will be so enraged by this information leaking in America that he blows the deal and all those millions sky high.
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