Floyd Mayweather Challenges Manny Pacquiao to May 2 Fight

Both boxers want the payday, but negotiations are sometimes harder than bouts.

The long-awaited and long-hypothetic showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao may finally be on the schedule.

When asked by Showtime Sports on Friday night if he will fight Pacquiao, Mayweather offered much more than his usual dissembling, giving a date, May 2, when it could happen. The undefeated pound-for-pound king also unleashed a WWE-worthy rant against the “desperate” Pacquiao, who has been calling out Mayweather since dominating Chris Algieri on November 22, even trolling Mayweather in a Foot Locker commercial.

“I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said. “We tried to make the fight happen years ago. We had problems with random blood and urine testing. Like I said, I just want to be on an even playing field. Now he’s in a very, very tight situation: He lost to [Juan Manuel] Marquez, he’s lost to [Timothy] Bradley. Pay-per-view numbers are down…extremely low, so he’s desperate. I wanted that fight a long time ago.”

“Let’s make this happen May 2,” he continued. “I know that he’s not on my level. And of course I want to go out with a bang….I’m not ducking anyone, so let’s get this on.”

Mayweather, who has two fights left on his Showtime contract, then heaped some dickishness on top of the shade he’d already thrown, saying the Filipino icon wouldn’t be paid as much in 2015 as he would have in 2010, when he was offered $40 million before talks collapsed. “You lost twice, now you coming back begging for the same money,” Mayweather said. “That’s not gonna happen.” Whether or not Mayweather holds that line (he’s the highest paid athlete on Earth for a reason), there will be plenty of millions to go around for both combatants in what would be the most lucrative prizefight in history.

Both fighters’ pay-per-view numbers have dipped facing lesser opponents (Pacquiao’s fight with Algieri garnered only 300,000 buys), and the prospect of them facing anyone besides each other at this point is met with collective yawns. Mayweather and Pacquiao both need this match-up more than either will admit, not only for the pay-per-view bonanza, but also to cement (or not) their legacies as the greatest fighters of their generation. 

As to who would actually win, most boxing experts still pick Mayweather, whose technical and defensive supremacy gives him an edge. But at age 37, Mayweather may have slowed down enough for the more explosive Pacquiao to pound out a victory. Still, the only thing gamblers can currently wager on is whether or not the bout will take place.

Predictably, the opposing camps are already bickering over details of the proposed superfight. Within hours of Mayweather’s challenge, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said May 2 would not work. Arum, who represents Pacquiao and has repeatedly called for Mayweather to get in the ring, was planning on staging a May 2 HBO PPV fight between Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto. The head games have begun.

So we may have to wait until the contract is actually signed, or better yet, until they touch gloves, to get excited about Mayweather and Pacquiao’s big summit. Still, after years of doomed negotiations, doping allegations, defamation laswuits, and ducking accusations, the mind-boggling amount of cash up for grabs just might incentivize two great fighters to, well, fight.

Photos by Ed Mulholland / Golden Boy / Golden Boy via Getty Images