At long last, pound-for-pound greats Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will fight.Yes, the bout that looms as one of the most anticipated in boxing history is finally on. Mayweather vs Pacquiao Live Stream

For more than five years sports fans have clamored for a summit meeting between the two best fighters in the world, and after various failed negotiations — and a protracted and difficult effort to make the fight in recent months — they will get it on May 2 to unify the fighters’ welterweight world titles at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

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The showdown is a lock to be the richest in boxing history and will, barring a draw, settle the issue that has been debated for years: Who is the No. 1 fighter in boxing and who is the king of this era?

Mayweather made the announcement on Friday afternoon on a social media platform called Shots, of which he is an investor.

“I am glad my decision to meet with Manny and discuss making this fight happen helped get the deal done,” Mayweather said, referring to a chance Jan. 27 meeting with Pacquiao at a Miami Heat game followed by a private discussion after the game. “Giving the fans what they want to see is always my main focus. This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport.”

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In addition to the future Hall of Famers finally hammering out a deal for their welterweight title unification bout — one that will see Mayweather receive the lion’s share of a 60-40 money split in a fight that could gross around $400 million — rival premium cable networks Showtime, which has Mayweather under contract, and HBO, which has a deal with Pacquiao, went through a brutal negotiation.

The networks resultingly will come together to produce and distribute a joint pay-per-view telecast, which is expected to cost a record-high $89.95 (and probably $10 more for high definition).

“I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years,” Pacquiao said. “They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is an honor to be part of this historic event. I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen and, as always, to bring glory to the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world.”

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Many involved expected the announcement to come on Thursday, but Mayweather was upset because Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter, was leaking word of the impending announcement and Mayweather wanted it to be a surprise.

“Boxing fans and sports fans around the world will witness greatness on May 2,” Mayweather said. “I am the best ever, TBE, and this fight will be another opportunity to showcase my skills and do what I do best, which is win. Manny is going to try to do what 47 before him failed to do, but he won’t be successful. He will be number 48.”

 

 

 

Two months later, Pacquiao, who turned pro in 1995, ruthlessly destroyed Miguel Cotto in a 12th-round knockout victory to claim a welterweight title.

It was at that point that Mayweather and Pacquiao clearly were the two best fighters in the world pound-for-pound, in whichever order one wanted to place them.

But a big knockout is unlikely. The last time Pacquiao stopped anyone via KO was Cotto in 2009, while Mayweather has only knocked out one fighter in the last eight years — Victor Ortiz in September 2011.

They were both with HBO when their representatives began to negotiate the fight intensely at the end of 2009 and into early 2010.

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All of the deal points were agreed to for a March 13, 2010 fight — including a 50-50 financial split — except for one: the method of drug testing in the lead-up to the fight. Mayweather, ahead of his time, demanded random blood and urine testing and Pacquiao declined to accept the specific protocol Mayweather wanted.

The deal fell apart and both moved on to other opponents. Pacquiao also sued Mayweather for defamation for accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs; the case was eventually settled out of court, but the bad feelings remained on both sides.

While the world waited to see them fight each other, Mayweather and Pacquiao beat a who’s who of their era as they faced one common opponent after another, including De La Hoya, Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Marquez and Shane Mosley.

Since the initial negotiation broke down in early 2010 there were other attempts to make the fight, including in 2010 when then-HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg served as a go-between in the negotiations between Arum of Top Rank and Mayweather adviser Al Haymon.