Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao is the dream fight boxing fans have been waiting for, and it could finally become a reality as soon as 2015.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has revealed that he is “very optimistic” that a salivating face-off between the two boxing superstars could be arranged but says that it “has to happen” early next year.
Pacquiao and Mayweather are under contract to different US pay-per-view rivals - the “PacMan” with HBO and “Money Mayweather” with Showtime - but Arum says the two competing networks would be willing to arrange a joint-broadcasting agreement and split the fight’s projected $300m earnings.
Despite the fact both fighters have been the two dominant forces in the welterweight division, Mayweather, Pacquiao and their respective parties have failed to negotiate what would be one of the biggest bouts in boxing history.
Arum told the San Francisco Chronicle:
Both networks want this fight to happen. All signs seem to point to the fight happening early next year.There is a sell-by date, where it becomes 'Who cares?' It has to happen by the first six months of next year.And if it happens, there should be a provision with a different percentage for the rematch. So that the winner is rewarded for winning the fight. I would love to see these guys fight twice next year.
Pacquiao meets drug demands
In 2009 negotiations to make the fight happen were thwarted after Mayweather's request that both fighters undergo Olympic style blood testing was not met by Pacquiao.
The dispute got so out of hand that the Filipino fighter brought a defamation suit against Mayweather for suggesting he used performance enhancing drugs. The pair later settled out of court.
Yet Pacquiao has reneged on his stance and is willing to meet any drug testing demands in order to make the fight happen. In 2009 Arum accused Mayweather of using the drug testing demands as an excuse to duck out of a meeting with Pacquiao. If so, it's an excuse he can't pull this time.
Pacquiao, who is a member of the congress of the Philippines, has indicated he's ready to take on Mayweather. Freddie Roach, his trainer, said "it would be great if Floyd and Manny met in what could be the last fight for both of them."
However, while Arum, Pacquiao and Roach are making noises about the potential fight, it has not been echoed by Mayweather.
It's understandable why. Judging by the two fighters' recent most recent purses, Pacquiao needs this fight more than the American whose fights consistently raise more money. Mayweather will surely have the superior hand at the negotiating table.
The man who calls himself "Money" was the highest paid athlete in the world last year with earnings of $105m. The only real reason for Mayweather to take on the challenge would be to cement his legacy as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. But will that be enough to tempt Mayweather into the ring? His nickname suggests it may not be.
Mayweather has a rematch against Marcos Maidana scheduled for 15 September at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, while Pacquiao fights Chris Algieri on 22 November in Macau.