Mayweather vs Pacquiao: 'Fight of the century'

Mayweather vs Pacquiao: 'Fight of the century'

By Steven Shapiro

It’s been hyped for months and talked about for years.  Finally, the bell is about to ring in the so-called 'fight of the century' between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

“These are the two guys that boxing fans and sports fans in general wanted to see matched up, and it’s finally going to happen, so that’s why everybody’s excited about it,” says Al Michaels, legendary sportscaster and author of “You Can’t Make This Up.”

“People want to see it and people are going to spend a lot of money to watch this fight.”

Most of that money, which could be as much as $400 million, is expected to come from record high pay-per-view prices of nearly $100. Fans hoping to score a seat at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas should be prepared for sticker shock: On StubHub, tickets are selling for more than $35,000.

“We’ve never seen anything like these sums of money. Nobody has seen anything like this,” says boxing promoter Bob Arum.

The boxers agreed to split the purse 60-40 in favor of Mayweather, who is known for his superior defense in the ring.

“Mayweather just doesn’t get hit very hard, very often,” Michaels says. Clearly he’s undefeated.  So nobody’s figured out a way to beat him.”

Outside the ring, the undefeated boxer has faced a series of criminal charges involving violence against women.

According to published reports, five different women have accused Mayweather of seven different incidents of battery or domestic violence dating back to 2001.

In 2011, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery after his then-girlfriend accused him of beating her in front of their children. He served two months of a 90-day jail sentence.

In interviews, Mayweather has defended himself with comments like these to Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric.

“I’m black.  I’m rich.  And I’m outspoken.  Those are three strikes right there.”

And on CBS he said, “I took a plea. Not to drag my children and my family through the mud, because I'm a real man.

Last year, another woman, his ex-fiancée, filed a civil suit against him claiming he assaulted and publicly humiliated her.

As Mayweather prepares to enter the ring, the spotlight on his past has caused a backlash.

ESPN’s Keith Olbermann told his audience “I will not report, watch or comment on Mayweather’s fight. I will boycott it, and I urge you to as well.”

None of this has been lost on Manny Pacquiao. His longtime trainer Freddie Roach says this fight is personal.

“This is the first time that we’re going into a fight where Manny doesn’t like his opponent, first time ever. Cause Manny he’s a good guy.  But for some reason he knows that this guy…it’s like there’s a black hat and a white hat.”

Pacquiao was raised by a single mother and turned to boxing at an early age to help provide food for his family. He’s deeply religious, but told Couric in a recent conversation that he wasn’t always on the right path.

“I drank, womanizing, gambling, everything. But when I surrendered my life to the Lord, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, I surrendered my whole life.”

“He’s skilled, he’s smart, he gets it,” says Michaels, who currently hosts “Premier Boxing Champions” on NBC.

“If Pacquiao is to win this fight, I think he is going to have to do it by getting in there and stunning Mayweather,”

Michaels says he hopes the fight lives up to its billing, but points out the century is still young.

“We’ll see what happens, but in terms of it being the fight of the century, we still have 85 more years to go.”