The long-awaited fight is going down

ANDREW MELOFF
Pacquiao Mayweather (both pics from Getty Images)

Floyd (Money) Mayweather will face Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas — the most anticipated fight since Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman

The wait is over. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have agreed to fight at the MGM Grand on May 2. For years this potential match was deadlocked in negotiation and at long last, the two sides have reached a common ground.

Issues such as drug testing, purse split and broadcast rights have been settled. Mayweather’s side was the most adamant in their requests, earning what boxing analyst Teddy Atlas calls “having all the advantages,’’ including a six per cent share of the purse and a built-in rematch clause if Mayweather loses.

The relentless negotiation seemed to outcast fans who’ve clamoured for the fight along the way. Mayweather has defended his fight selection over the last six years by repeatedly proclaiming that he has given the fans what they wanted to see, though the court of public opinion said otherwise. Perhaps it was public pressure, but Pacquiao’s agreement to all demands may have been too big a fish to ignore.

The two boxers are widely considered to be the best welterweight fighters of the decade but both are also thought to be out of their prime. The 38-year-old Mayweather goes into the tilt with an unblemished record of 47-0 with 26 knockouts, one of which is a common selling point that he is the best pound-for-pound boxer.

As Mayweather comes into the fight rolling, Pacquiao, 36, has limped of late losing two of his last five bouts. Regardless of the hiccups, Pacquiao’s lifetime record is strong; 57-52 (38 KO) and it is possible that “Pac-Man” was cruising looking forward to a future match up with Mayweather.

Statistically, Mayweather owns the tale of the tape but it’s difficult to judge the match based on their results. This is where age may come into play, Mayweather’s strength could open him up to haymakers from Pacquiao.

“The greatest strength of Mayweather is his defense, his mind, sometimes that’s his greatest weakness,” said Atlas. “He gets intoxicated with his defensive prowess, he starts slipping and sliding, juking and duking, a little too much and allows you to get into him.”

Given Pacquiao’s aggressive nature and Mayweather’s rather tight offensive game, the opportunity exists for Pac Man to steal some rounds by outworking the defensive Mayweather. Given the age of the two fighters it’s hard to imagine the bout ending in a knockout and therefore stealing rounds will be of utmost importance for Pacquiao.

Mayweather will be favoured to win the match by Vegas but I’d be worrisome of betting on either boxer knocking the other out. The knockout bet is a sucker bet, I’d suggest to stay away, while they have a potentially large return it’s unlikely.

As the fight nears closer, the edge on Mayweather will likely tighten up, so if one were to place a wager on Pacquiao now would be the time to do it. Why not? The Kentucky Derby runs in the afternoon leading up to the match, and for the first time in recent memory the sporting world is thrown back into its glory days. So make a parlay on the derby and the fight, grab some hooch and make sure to tune into what could be the last major fight in boxing history.

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