The face-off next month between Filipino Manny Pacquiao and American Floyd Mayweather Jr will be the biggest fight since 1975’s Thrilla in Manila, when Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in a bloody battle in the third and final instalment of their bitter feud.
It will also be the richest, with Mayweather Jr taking home at least US$120 million (S$166 million) and Pacquiao US$80 million, compared to the paltry US$9 million and US$5 million that Ali and Frazier respectively collected.
Consider the stakes. Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to win championship belts across eight different weight divisions; Mayweather Jr owns only five. But, with the reputation of winning all his 47 career fights, the undefeated Mayweather Jr is widely held by boxing pundits and fans as the best boxer of his generation.
It is something he has bragged about and taunted Pacquiao with; the latter lost five of his 64 fights. But, in the last six years, efforts to get both boxers to settle the issue once and for all ended up only as empty talk, till now. The duel will take place on May 2 at the Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.
But money and title are only incidentals in this bout, where the real prize is bragging rights. This match-up is brewing to be a mega war. Stay tuned.