The wait is finally over. The fight that not only boxing fans, but sports fans around the world have been begging for over five years is finally happening on May 2.
On Feb. 20, after months of rumors and speculation, Floyd Mayweather posted a picture of the signed contract to his Shots account to let the world know that the megafight was finally on. Within minutes, the fight was trending worldwide on Twitter. But what makes this fight so special?
First, they are both not only great fighters, but legendary fighters. Floyd Mayweather is a boxing genius, who is seen by many as the greatest defensive boxer of all time. He is widely recognized as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He is also the highest paid athlete in the world and has been part of four of the top five grossing fights in history.
Manny Pacquiao is the only fighter to ever be champion in eight different weight classes. His incredibly fast hands, explosive offense and risk-taking style have made him the best offensive fighter of this era. His historic rise made HBO analyst Max Kellerman ask in 2009, “Is he once in a generation? Once in a lifetime? Or is he just once?”
To have two historically great fighters who are about the same age and fighting in the same weight class is something special. Both are major draws not only within the US, but worldwide as well.
While just having the top two fighters go head-to-head would be enough for a promotion, these two have a history that only builds the fight. Pacquiao filed a defamation suit against Mayweather in 2010 after Floyd suggested that Manny was on performance enhancing drugs. The two have exchanged words through social media for the past several years and have a definite dislike for one another, which is very rare for Pacquiao. The bad blood between the two adds to the excitement surrounding the fight.
This fight is so anticipated because of the overall significance to the sport of boxing. The glory days of boxing are well in the past, but 2015 is shaping up as a great year for boxing. Boxing had a rough era of corruption within its promoters that drove many away from the sport and has since become a niche sport. While the sport is by no means dying, it has struggled to make its way back into the mainstream. This fight ,however, is completely different. Just the announcement of this fight was covered extensively by ESPN. ESPN Boxing writer Dan Rafael said that ESPN will be treating the fight, “like the Superbowl.” The significance and publicity of this fight paired with big fights returning to primetime network television this year can do nothing but increase the sport’s popularity. The year of 2015 might be seen as the year that boxing reestablished itself as a main sport in the U.S.