After six years, a handful of failed attempts and endless rhetoric, Floyd Mayweather, 37, and Manny Pacquiao, 36, boxing's two biggest stars, have reached an agreement to square off. The date: May 2. The site: The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The stakes: officially, three pieces of the 147-pound title; unofficially, bragging rights as the best fighter of this generation.
What ended the impasse? The pool of marketable opponents is evaporating. In seven bouts from 2008 to '11, Pacquiao averaged 1.1 million pay-per-view buys; in his five since, he eclipsed 1 million once. Mayweather has more buys (14.2 million) than any fighter, but three of his last four fights have failed to break a million. Mayweather-Pacquiao is expected to surpass the single-fight record for buys (2.4 million) and revenue ($150 million) and double Nevada's live-gate mark ($20.7 million). "The interest will be incredible," says Arum. "It's five or six years of Super Bowls all wrapped into one fight."
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MAYWEATHER)
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PACQUIAO)