LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday, preparing for a meeting with contestants of the Miss Universe pageant. Whether he has an even bigger date on May 2 seems entirely up to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Promoter Bob Arum said Pacquiao has agreed to all terms for what would be boxing’s richest fight ever, a bout with Mayweather that fans have been demanding for five years.
The question now is whether the long-reluctant Mayweather will finally sign on the dotted line for what could be an astonishing $120 million payday for the fighter who flaunts his money better than anyone.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Arum told The Associated Press. "I don’t want to be antagonistic and say he’s not on board and not going to sign. The representation is that he is on board with this."
Arum said negotiations with Mayweather’s representatives over the past few weeks resulted in agreements on everything from the date and site of the fight (MGM Grand in Las Vegas) to purse split (reportedly 60-40 in Mayweather’s favour) to the type of gloves the boxers will wear.
But Mayweather has yet to personally agree to the fight, and the possibility remained that Arum was publicly discussing Pacquiao agreeing to terms to try to up the pressure on the unbeaten boxer to sign.
"We’re waiting for Mayweather to sign a document saying, ‘Yeah,"’ Arum said.
Just what Mayweather is thinking remains unclear. Though he declared on Showtime last month that he wanted the fight, he rarely speaks to the media between fights and his manager, Al Haymon, almost never speaks publicly.
Mayweather put out pictures of himself in front of a private jet and his new cars this week along with a picture of his Las Vegas mansion, but said nothing about the Pacquiao fight on social media.
Arum said the negotiations have been at the highest levels, and Pacquiao agreed to all the demands by the Mayweather team.
"We took our stands on certain issues, but essentially we acquiesced on most things," Arum said.
Arum said he planned to meet with Pacquiao on Thursday in Los Angeles to formally get his fighter’s signature on the terms of the bout. Pacquiao flew from the Philippines on his way to judge the Miss Universe pageant on Jan. 25 in Florida.
Arum said the fight would be held at the MGM, where Mayweather has fought exclusively for years. The 15,000-seat arena would be scaled for a $40 million live gate. He said with pay-per-view revenues, the bout could generate $200 million.
With a 60-40 split, that would mean a potential $120 million payday for Mayweather and his team and $80 million for Pacquiao and his promoter. Both would be record purses for fighters.
Mayweather has resisted a Pacquiao fight for five years, first claiming Pacquiao would not agree to drug testing and later saying he wasn’t worth facing him in the ring. But Arum said Pacquiao has long since agreed to the testing, and the pressure has built on Mayweather to come to terms on the bout.
Oddsmakers quickly put out lines Wednesday in this gambling city favouring Mayweather in the bout. Both the Westgate LV Superbook and William Hill made him about a 2 1/2-to-1 favourite in man-to-man betting.