Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fought in 2015 in what was dubbed as the “Fight of the Century”. It was supposed to be the fight that settled the score as to who was the best boxer not just in the welterweight division but of this era.
Mayweather had built an immaculate record that put him among the sport’s greats and even perhaps, the best ever or TBE. Meanwhile, Pacquiao climbed the weights from flyweight to junior middleweight, winning a record eight weight classes along the way. Although they started their careers at different weight classes, they both ended up at the star-studded welterweight division. After years of hide and seek, the fight was finally booked in May 2015.
Failed To Live Up To Its Hype
The bout failed to live up to its hype. Pacquiao would injure his shoulder during training and kept it from the public, even during a pre fight fighter’s survey. The Filipino ring icon would ask for a pain reliever shot before the fight but his request was denied by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. During the fight, Pacquiao didn’t have the explosiveness to challenge Mayweather while the latter boxed too cautiously as he always does on his way to a clear but boring 12 round unanimous decision victory over the Filipino fighting politician.
Despite that, the bout sold a record 4.6M pay per view buys while generating a mammoth $575M in revenues which was also a record. The total gate receipts of $72.2M and average ticket price of $4,451 set industry records as well. Both fighters were paid handsomely for the fight. Mayweather made roughly $250M for the bout while Pacquiao reportedly took home at least $100M.
But the fans were disappointed to say the least. Class-action lawsuits were filed against Pacquiao, his manager and promoter for failing to disclose his shoulder injury. The plaintiffs claimed that the actions of the accused deceived those who bought the tickets, paid for the PPV or bet on the fight.
Retirement And Comeback
Mayweather fought one more time after that bout, defeating Andre Berto by decision before kneeling in the middle of the ring afterwards to signal his retirement. Pacquiao would go to a brief retirement before coming back to reclaim the WBO welterweight title against Jessie Vargas in 2016. Pacquiao would suffer another loss, this time to Australian Jeff Horn in a clear highway robbery in Brisbane. Pacquiao would win a second world title by defeating Lucas Matthysse in July 2018.
For his part, Mayweather returned to the boxing ring in September 2017 to fight MMA superstar Conor McGregor in a highly publicized match. Mayweather scored a 10th round TKO win and improved his record to 50-0 to surpass the legendary Rocky Marciano’s record for the longest unbeaten streak in a professional boxing career. Mayweather earned another “easy” nine digit payday for beating up McGregor.
A year later, Mayweather teased on Instagram that he would fight Pacquiao again in late 2018 after the two crossed paths in a musical event held in Japan. A month later, Pacquiao signed a promotional deal with Al Haymon, PBC founder to fuel speculations that a rematch with Mayweather was in the works. But Mayweather ended up fighting Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa at the end of the year. Pacquiao went on to fight and defeat Adrien Broner last January. The Filipino would call out Mayweather again but Mayweather has kept his noisy mouth silent this time around.
Both Are Still Massive Draws
It’s pretty obvious that Manny Pacquiao wants that rematch badly. The reason I say that is because he would go out of his way to sign a promotional deal with Al Haymon when he could have fought on a per fight basis and promoted himself just as Mayweather advised him in the past. Pacman couldn’t have just signed with the PBC boss just to fight Broner. There must’ve been something to it and I think it’s Haymon’s link with Mayweather. On the other hand, Mayweather has been enigmatic about fighting Pacquiao again. He says no, then yes and then no again. But while the fighters obviously have interest in making another nine million payday, you have got to wonder if the fans want to see it again.
No question, fans still want to see Manny Pacquiao. Pacman’s bout with Adrien Broner did at least 400K PPV buys. That’s not Mayweather numbers because Mayweather’s 2017 fight with McGregor did an estimated 4.3M PPV buys, but considering that the heavyweight title showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury did just around 325K PPV buys, Pacquiao’s drawing power is still impressive at age 40.
And yes, don’t forget that current WBO welterweight Terence Crawford, who is considered one of the best 147-pounders today and a huge draw in his hometown of Nebraska, did only 50K PPV hits during his 2016 bout with Viktor Postol. The upcoming showdown between IBF welterweight king Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia is reportedly trending towards 1M PPV buys.but unless the final actual numbers are out, I will say that boxing doesn’t have a bigger draw than Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, in that order. That said, fans still want to see Manny Pacquiao and fans still want to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. But a rematch between them?
Some so called experts say that nobody cares about a May-Pac rematch anymore because not only did the first bout came five years late, it bombed out in terms of reception and failed to live up to expectations. But if 400K fans pay to see Manny Pacquiao toy around with an overrated hype job in Adrien Broner, how many would want to see him fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. without an injured shoulder?
Mayweather easily outpointed Pacquiao in 2015. He would have done so anyway even if Pacquiao didn’t injure his shoulder and even if they fight ten times over again. Styles make fights and great as Pacquiao is in his own right, he won’t stand a chance against Mayweather-not now, not even without an injured shoulder and not even in his prime. But still, fans would want to see him try again, even if in vain, because everybody loves to root for an underdog.
Manny Pacquiao’s rags to riches story makes him a Cinderella man of the sport. His all-action fighting style makes him a darling of fight fans. Mayweather is the ultimate anti-hero. He is brash, noisy and obnoxious. Put the two together and you have a perfect mix. Forget if Mayweather is going to beat Pacquiao easily again. We can deny it every day but if ever Al Haymon and Mayweather are going to book that fight, it’s still going to be a PPV hit bigger than any fight that can be made among boxing’s current stars.