With boxing’s popularity waning, both the sport and its fans were waiting for the megafight that would bring interest back to boxing. After five years of back and forth, the fight everyone had been waiting for finally happened.
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fought on May 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Since Feb. 20, when the two fighters agreed to the fight, it has generated almost unprecedented publicity.
Ray Jones, a student at Columbia College Chicago, thinks in terms of this generation, this fight is a big deal.
“For our generation, this is the biggest fight ever, you know what I’m saying? This is bigger than Holyfield and Tyson,” Jones said.
Even with Mayweather being 38-years old and Pacquiao being 36, this is still a top-level fight between two superstars that will pique people’s interest.
Even for the weigh-in alone, thousands of people showed up to see the fighters step on the scale and look each other in the eye; numerous celebrities swarmed the MGM Grand as anticipation of the fight continued to rise.
Like with any huge event, public attention was not confined to the fight. Leading up to the match, Floyd Mayweather came under intense scrutiny for his history of violence against women and his five convictions for domestic violence.
CNN reporter Rachel Nichols and Michelle Beadle, who works for ESPN and HBO, were openly critical of Mayweather and on the morning of the fight, both Nichols and Beadle were told they were not going to be allowed to cover the fight.
According to reports, Nichols was notified via email that her access would include only events leading up to the actual fight. After the issue was made public, Nichols was given a fight credential, but decided not to attend.
After hearing her credential was pulled, Beadle decided to head home. It wasn’t until later that morning that she was notified her credential was re-approved but like Nichols, she also decided not to attend the fight.
Though Mayweather Promotions controlled validation of media credentials it denied blocking Nichols’ and Beadle’s credentials.
Mitchell Gaddis, a Columbia Journalism major, thought there was too much talk leading up to the fight.
“I think it is a lot of hype. It’s not going to live up to what it is,” Gaddis said.
“I think it’s going to be a decision or a draw, something stupid like that. Just in the past with Mayweather’s fights, it’s always been like that.”
The public must disagree as tickets for the fight reached as high as $87,000 on StubHub. Mayweather is expected to make at least $180 million for the fight and Pacquiao $120 million. Based on those numbers, Mayweather will make $5 million for every minute in the ring.
Plenty of celebrities were in attendance. Justin Bieber walked out with Mayweather and Jimmy Kimmel walked with Pacquiao. Cameras repeatedly showed Tom Brady, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé, Mark Wahlberg and Andre Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf.
Some people were disappointed with not only the outcome of the fight, but just the fight itself. For all of the hype it was getting before itstarted, it didn’t meet the expectations of some.
“I just felt like it didn’t bring as much excitement and energy in the ring than it did outside of it,” boxing fan Ibrahim Samra said. “It wasn’t the action you normally see from a fight of this caliber.”
If the fight itself didn’t live up to expectations, the revenue exceeded expectations. HBO and Showtime are reporting over 3 million Pay-per-View buys, which breaks the record set in 2007 when Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya brought in 2.5 million buys. In total, the fight is expected to have generated revenues of over $400 million.
While Mayweather as said he will take on one more fight in September and then retire and Pacquiao may be out of boxing for nearly a year after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder, the massive revenue is already spurring talks of a rematch.