–Nigerian boxing gurus speak to Completesportsnigeria.com on the good and bad side of an over-hyped bout.
The world of boxing will witness an epic fight that will hold the game’s faithful spellbound on Saturday (Sunday morning in Nigeria) while it lasts. Completesportsnigeria.com’s IZUCHUKWU OKOSI and JAMES AGBEREBI here present a special report on this crazy adventure that will make you wish you were punched to submission as a boxer – if only for a while, for the mouth-watering pay package. Nigerian experts hold different views on this mega million dollar bout which cynics would describe as one big over-hyped melo-drama.
The MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas is the stage of this grudge bout on Saturday (early Sunday morning in Nigeria) aptly called ‘The Fight of the Century’. American boxer, Floyd Mayweather Junior and Filipino, Manny Pacquiao will be locked in the squared ropes for a fight that has generated a global appeal.
At stake is a fortune and a secure legacy for both men who will only last a maximum time of 36 minutes inside the ring.The prize is good; an eye-watering sum of $300m (#59,700,000,000) in total for both fighters.
There have been different opinions expressed by boxing experts on this fight. Some have asked why the fight between these gladiators are coming a tad too late when both men are in the twilights of their careers while others are of the opinion that it is better late than never.
Here in Nigeria, there is keen interest in this contest of epic propotion which would have taken place five years ago, but for contract disagreement the two parties.
From the television stations to the radio stations, newspapers and the internet, the previews show that this is the real deal.
Mayweather has won all 47 of his fights, 26 by knockout, while Pacquiao has a record of 57 wins, five losses and two draws.
The fight sold out within minutes and tickets immediately appeared on websites for as much as £94,000 ($141,000).
Where To Watch: Live on Supersport 2
Date: Sunday 3rd May 2015(Nigeria)
Time: 3am ( Weigh-In fight starts 1.30am)
Mayweather Purse ($150M), Pacquaio Purse ($100M)
*Both fighters made first public appearance in the build up to the fight on Tuesday, 28 April 2015, with
Mohammed Ali reminding Mayweather that he (Ali) is the greatest in boxing.
According to Yahoo! Sports, an eight-page contract was sent on December 11, 2009, by Golden Boy Promotions on behalf of Mayweather to Top Rank, representing Pacquiao, that proposed a 50–50 financial split between the sides for a fight to take place on March 13, 2010.
The eight-page agreement was so detailed that it indicated which of the two fighters would step onto the scale first at the weigh-in (Pacquiao), who would walk to the ring first (Pacquiao), who would be introduced first (Mayweather) and who had first choice of the locker room (Mayweather). It detailed that the bout would have been on HBO Pay-Per-View at a cost of $59.95. Billing was to be “Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, presented by Top Rank, Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather Promotions and M-P Promotions in association with [approved sponsors and the site].” The contract also called for both fighters to submit to Olympic-style drug testing.
A Mayweather-Pacquiao bout at that time was expected to be the largest-grossing fight in history, in which total revenues could reach $300 million. Experts predicted the fight would sell between 2.5 million and 3 million pay-per-views in the U.S.
On December 13, 2009, Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, said Mayweather’s request for Olympic-style drug testing was a laughing matter and they had no concerns whatsoever about it. “Our reaction is, ‘So what?’ We know Manny doesn’t take any illegal drugs or anything. And none of this is getting under Manny’s skin or anything. I’m here with Manny, and to him, it’s like a joke. It’s a laughing matter,” said Koncz.
After reports had surfaced that both parties had agreed to all terms, Golden Boy Promotions released a press release on December 22, 2009, revealing that Pacquiao was unwilling to comply with the Olympic-style drug testing requested by Team Mayweather. The following day, Bob Arum, Top Rank founder and CEO, declared the fight was off and Pacquiao would be facing a different opponent. “We appeased Mayweather by agreeing to a urine analysis at any time, and blood testing before the press conference and after the fight. Mayweather pressed for blood testing even up to the weigh-in. He knew that Manny gets freaked out when his blood gets taken and feels that it weakens him. This is just harassment and, to me, just signaled that he didn’t want the fight,” Arum told David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press.
Not long after declaring that the fight was off, Arum had a change of heart and offered Mayweather a 24-hour take-it-or-leave-it deadline to accept Team Pacquiao’s terms for drug testing. Top Rank sent out a press release explaining their position on Mayweather’s request for random Olympic-style drug testing. In it, Arum said Pacquiao was willing to submit to as many random urine tests requested, but as far as random blood tests were concerned, he was only willing to subject himself to 3 tests: one in January, one 30 days from the bout (no later than February 13) and immediately after the fight.
Completesportsnigeria.com sought the opinions of Nigeria’s boxing heroes on this fight.
Tony Konyegwachi is Nigeria’s current national boxing coach. Konyegwachi believes the fight will be worth the big money on offer.
“One thing is that you can’t rule out the issue of money when it comes to boxing because it is a lucrative sport. Having said that, I believe we are going to see a good fight. It might look as if both boxers are about to grab their final pay packet judging by the huge sum of money each is expected to go home with. But I think we will see a good fight from both boxers,” Konyegwachi enthuses.
However the national boxing coach predicts that we will not see the end of this battle as there is the possibility of a rematch of the fight.”with the nature of the fight, something tells me we might see a rematch from both boxers, though it depends on what the contract says, but I have the feeling there will be a rematch and that means more money in their purse,” he reaffirms.
Remi Aboderin is the Secretary of the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control. Aboderin concurs with Konyegwachi that spectators and viewers alike are set for the most viewing pleasure when the pugilists fight.
“The fact still remains that the two boxers remain the best in their weight categories. Much as I want to say that the amount of money being bandid around is a huge sum of money, I am positive the viewers will get their money’s worth, I see the bout going the whole 12 rounds and I am positive it will live up to its billing.”
Aboderin would go on to explain what might be the case depending on how pundits and boxing followers see the fight panning out.
This is apparently because from Completesportsnigeria.com’s findings, there could well be a rematch in September 2015 if the fight is won by Pacquaio.
“This fight suppose to have taken place about five years ago but it is better late than never because the two of them have shown that they are the best in the welterweight category. Mayweather is still in his prime, though at his age, approaching 40, he should be thinking of retirement but I don’t think that will be a factor come Saturday night. And talking about the money aspect, this is the fight he is expected to make more money, if he loses and they have a rematch definitely, Pacquaio will have more money.
But would there be need for a rematch? And is the prize money worth it? Former Junior boxing champion in the 69kg, Segun Olalehin told Completesportsnigeria.comthat the fight will be too close to call though Floyd Mayweather will eventually be victor after the fight.
“The timing of the fight might have come a bit late but both boxers are still super fighters. But it will be a tough one. Manny Pacquaio is the faster one and is also a better puncher. Floyd Mayweather is a bit slower but more defensive astute. We will witness one of the best boxing fights of the modern times.
But this boxer who represented Nigeria at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Azerbaijan believes there will be something untoward which will gift ‘The money man’ the prize money for the winner.
“No matter how Manny Pacquaio fights and batters Mayweather on Saturday(wee hours of Sunday in Nigeria), the jury will declare Mayweather the winner simply because Manny is not American!
“The money is worth it and you can’t but admire the resilience of these boxers who are inspiration to boxers like me but there is big politics that are played out in boxing.
“The promoters would not want Pacquaio to come to America and defeat Mayweather because he is not a son of the soil.
However there are exceptions to this gimmick because there was a time the boxing promoters in the US felt Mike Tyson was no longer in the peak of his powers and that was why Evander Holyfield defeated him.
“Tyson was discouraged and his life changed for the worst, He took to gambling and alcohol and then became bankrupt because there was no encouragement,” Olalehin, who told Completesportsnigeria.com that he was robbed of a place in Nigeria’s team to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 due to a similar scenerio when he lost to Keyinde Ademuyiwa concluded.
Mayweather The Winner?
Reim Aboderin agrees with Olalehin that Mayweather will be declared winner after the fight.
“The fight is a very tough call, but if am going to like place a bet, then it will be Mayweather. This is because Mayweather comes from a line of boxing family.
“Pacqiuao got into boxing through hunger. But in Mayweather’s case, his father is involve in boxing, his uncle also is involve in boxing. So, he came from a boxing family. And from the way Mayweather has been fighting, he is more defensive oriented. This is somebody who has fought 48 fights without a loss, unlike Pacquaio who has five losses.
“So if am going to stick my neck out, it will be Mayweather because I love his style of boxing because boxing is all about how much you can give and also how good you are in defence. Mayweather has shown that he can take as much as he can give, but in the case of Pacquaio, I don’t think he can receive as much as he can give.
Joe Mensah who represented Nigeria at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany and who later coached Nigeria’s national boxing team, believes win or lose, both boxers will be the better for it money wise, and also agrees that the fight could have a part two.
“To me, everybody involved in the fight is a boxing promoter, they are all professional boxing promoters. And when you look at professional promoters they tell themselves the truth, which is good for boxing. But I can tell you that fight will go on and will go on again, that is, there will be a rematch.
“It’s either they make it a draw or the champion (Mayweather) wins in a little way, a close margin, then they call for a rematch. So for me, it’s about the money, nothing too spectacular. It will be a great fight but not too spectacular. As we all know, boxing is big business and there are a lot of things that takes place which the public are not privy to, I can tell you that these guys are business men, win or lose, everybody is going home happy.”
MAYWEATHER FACT FILE
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was born Floyd Joy Sinclair on February 24, 1977). He is currently undefeated as a professional and is a five-division world champion, having won ten world titles and the lineal championship in four different weight classes. Mayweather is a two-time Ring magazine Fighter of the Year (winning the award in 1998 and 2007); he also won the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year award in 2007 and the Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Mayweather is the WBC, WBA and Ring welterweight champion, and the WBC Super, WBA, and Ring junior middle weight champion. He is also rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world by many sporting news and boxing websites, including Ring, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, BoxRec, Fox Sports, and Yahoo! Sports. Mayweather topped the Forbes and Sports Illustrated lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes of 2012 and 2013, and the Forbes list again in 2014, listing Mayweather as the highest paid athlete in the world.
Mayweather was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on February 24, 1977, into a family of boxers. His father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., was a former welterweight contender who fought Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard. His uncles (Jeff Mayweather and Roger Mayweather) were professional boxers, with Roger – Floyd’s current trainer – winning two world championships. Mayweather was born with his mother’s last name, but his last name would change to Mayweather shortly thereafter.
MANNY PACQUAIO FACT FILE
Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacqui was on born December 17, 1978. He is a Filipino world champion professional boxer. At 32 he was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives. He has also been involved in basketball, acting, and is a retired singer.
He is the first and only eight-division world champion, in which he has won ten world titles, as well as the first to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes. According to Forbes, he was the 14th highest paid athlete in the world as at 2013.
He was named “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s (decade) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO). He is also a three-time The Ring and BWAA “Fighter of the Year,” winning the award in 2006, 2008, and 2009, and the Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2009 and 2011.
He is the current WBO welterweight champion and is currently ranked number three on The Ring pound-for-pound list.
He was long rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world by some sporting news and boxing websites, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting Life, Yahoo! Sports, About.com, BoxRec and The Ring from his climb to Lightweight until his losses in 2012.
Beyond boxing, Pacquiao has participated in basketball, business, acting, music recording and politics. In May 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines, representing the province of Sarangani. He was re-elected in 2013 to the 16th Congress of the Philippines.