Manny, Floyd bout tan­ta­lis­ingly close

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

THE MEGA-fight for which the world has been wait­ing what seems like an eter­nity may fi­nally hap­pen not just once, but twice.

Manny Pac­quiao ver­sus Floyd May­weather is tan­ta­lis­ingly close to be­com­ing re­al­ity after the Pac­Man’s daz­zling, rejuvenated per­for­mance in Ma­cau.

The tar­get date is May next year and if Pac­quiao were to win the scene would be set for them to do it again next Septem­ber.

May­weather is be­lieved to be de­mand­ing a re-match clause in the con­tract if he suc­cumbs to the mount­ing pres­sure to fight Pac­quiao and then loses.

That was re­vealed by Pac­quiao’s iconic trainer, Fred­die Roach, as he re­viewed the prospects for a May­weather fight be­fore fly­ing back from China to Los An­ge­les.

Roach said: “My un­der­stand­ing is that Floyd is in­sist­ing on the re-match if Manny beats him, which I be­lieve he will. That’s okay with us.”

And why not, given the huge amount of money which would be in­volved?

The orig­i­nal pro­jec­tion of box­ing’s first $300-mil­lion fight will soar to one bil­lion dol­lars if Pac­quiao’s pro­moter Bob Arum suc­ceeds in open­ing up the vast Chi­nese tele­vi­sion mar­ket to payper-view.

That would make for not just one but two bil­lion dol­lar fights if his Pac­Man beats May­weather the Money man first time out.

Pac­quiao put the heat back on May­weather after deck­ing Chris Al­gieri no fewer than six times on his way to vic­tory by a record 18 points in the Co­tai Arena.

That was com­piled by his win­ning of all 12 rounds and the Amer­i­can hav­ing half a dozen points de­ducted for those knock­downs.

Job done, world wel­ter­weight ti­tle re­tained, Pac­quiao then called out May­weather for the first time, say­ing: “I want this fight and it is time now to give it to all our fans. They de­serve to see it.”

One by one the ob­sta­cles raised by May­weather have been re­moved, in­clud­ing Pac­quiao agree­ing to ran­dom blood tests for drugs and ac­cept­ing a 60-40 fi­nan­cial split in favour of his ri­val for the myth­i­cal ti­tle of great­est pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

Arum, hav­ing said that the fight needs to hap­pen if box­ing wants to be re­garded as a ma­jor sport, adds: “Enough is enough. Let’s do this. All it needs now is for them to make the call. Me and Manny are wait­ing to pick up the phone.”

Arum is work­ing also on the ri­valry be­tween the two ma­jor US cable tele­vi­sion net­works, HBO who screen Pac­quiao’s fights and Show­time who have two fights left on their mega-bucks con­tract with May­weather.

He is re­ported to be in talks with CBS, Show­time’s par­ent company, about them shar­ing the pay-per-view broad­cast in Amer­ica with HBO, the way they did with Mike Tyson ver­sus Len­nox Lewis.

As Roach says: “Floyd is afraid of los­ing his un­beaten record to Manny. But that’s not what de­fines great­ness. Ali lost, Robin­son, lost Leonard lost ... but they’re still all­time greats. What counts is fight­ing the best of your era.”

It would have been prefer­able for th­ese two to meet five or six years ago, in their prime, But although May­weather is 37 and Pac­quiao is 36 next month, there is still time for the fight, or fights, to be mean­ing­ful.

Both men live clean, eat healthy and ad­here to rig­or­ous train­ing regimes. Given the re­mark­able phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing made pos­si­ble by those dis­ci­plines, they are still the great­est fight­ers of their age. – Daily Mail

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