The mindless bluster gave way to reality Friday. What fight fans have waited the past five years for finally happened: Floyd Mayweather Jr. agreed to fight his foil, Manny Pacquiao.
Pencil in May 2, because that’s when their fight will happen. Or should happen.
For we can’t be certain their welterweight bout will, as a fight like this can unravel even as the blue ink on the contract is drying. But we hold out hope that both men have come to their senses.
Regardless, in boxing, this news is the best the sport has heard in perhaps a decade. No fight in recent memory has been as anticipated as Mayweather-Pacquiao, and no fight in the past has ever brought in as much money as this one should.
Their mega-fight should do one more thing, something that should ensure the winner lands a place among the all-time greats in the welterweight division: It should settle the debate over which man is the king of this era.
In anticipation of that coronation, fight fans must be parading around bars, Vegas casinos and man caves high-fiving everybody in sight. They have begged for this fight; they have listened to the on-and-off negotiations that brought the bout oh-so close to happening.
"Giving the fans what they want to see is always my main focus,” Mayweather told Yahoo.com. “This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport.”
Pacquiao weighed in as well.
“It is an honor to be part of this historic event,” he said in the Yahoo.com article. “I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen.”
Not sure if “willed” would be the right word here. Fans had almost lost hope that this fight would happen. For them, it had been a dizzying, exhausting experience the past five years.
In some ways, it was like remembering how it was when you waited years ago to hear when Sylvester Stallone would come out with another Rocky film. You knew Sly would, but when remained the question.
Same with Mayweather-Pacquiao. They couldn’t be so stupid as to leave $200 million unclaimed.
Nothing is done, however, until the two men get inside the squared circle. They will, of course, hype the bout before then, just as both fighters did during their countdown to the contract they signed.
Hype has always come at a discount. Fight fans hear too much of it to believe the hype will make a difference. The hype might add a subtext to the bout, but this fight has had plenty of subtext on its way to happening.
Now the fight is set – for a Saturday night in Las Vegas at a venue famous for big fights: MGM Grand.
The MGM seems an appropriate site for the bout, because if Money Mayweather-Pacquiao lives up to the hype, the performance there will, indeed, be grand.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: AP Photos/Alastair Grant and Rick Bowmer, File)