After years of stalled negotiations, Floyd Mayweather has agreed to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I promised the fans we would get this done and we did,” Mayweather said on Friday. “We will make history on May 2. Don’t miss it.”
Mayweather’s announcement ended weeks of negotiations and speculation on whether the fight between the unbeaten Mayweather and the eight-division champion Pacquiao would even take place. They first tried to meet in 2010, but talks broke down over drug testing procedures. Since then, every attempt to get the two in the ring had been stalled for various reasons.
But discussions became real after Pacquiao defeated Long Island longshot Chris Algieri last November in Macau, then publicly challenged Mayweather afterward.
“I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years,” Pacquiao said. “They have waited long enough and they deserve it.”
Negotiations were complicated by the fact Mayweather has an exclusive contract with Showtime, while HBO has rights to Pacquiao. The networks reached a compromise to the point of holding a joint conference call late Friday.
“Everyone involved, including Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao knows this fight simply had to happen,” Showtime general manager Stephen Espinoza said. “All of us are thrilled to be able to deliver this event to boxing fans around the world.”
Ken Hershman of HBO said: “Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have been the two most prominent fighters in the sport of boxing for the past decade and fight fans around the world have been clamoring for them to face each other. Now on May 2 in what everyone believes will be the biggest boxing event of all time, fight fans have been granted their wish. May 2 will be a signature moment for the sport of boxing and HBO Sports is thrilled to be a part of this spectacular event.”