A six-year-long wait will finally come to an end on Saturday when WBC and WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather, who is undefeated in 47 fights, takes on WBO champ Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) in Las Vegas to unify the world welterweight crowns.
The bout is expected to be the richest in boxing history, and both fighters are expected to make well over $100 million, with 60% of the purse going to Mayweather and Pacquiao taking home the other 40%.
The other numbers in the fight are startling as well for this week's SI cover subjects.
The cost to watch the fight on pay-per-view will cost as much as $99. The projected purse will hover around $300 million, with tickets on the low end costing $1,500 and the gate projected to bring in another $72 million.
But the struggle to get the two fighters to agree on anything concerning the fight is a story in itself. First, Mayweather signed a six-fight deal with Showtime and Pacquiao signed with HBO, forcing the two entities to try to resolve who will ultimately get to show the fight.
Also, Mayweather contended that Pacquiao was a long-time user of performance-enhancing drugs and demanded Olympic-style testing if they every wanted to agree to a fight. Pacquiao wanted terms to be equal, which ended up not being the case.
Then Jan. 27 came along. Both fighters just happened to be at the American Airlines Arena in Miami to watch a Miami Heat game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Mayweather's camp says that meeting was anything but a coincidence.
Pacquiao was in town to be a Miss Universe judge, so Mayweather told his team that they were headed to Miami. The two exchanged numbers at the game and met into the late night hours of a Miami hotel suit. Months later, the contracts were signed, sealed and delivered.
CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, who was instrumental in getting the fight signed, was asked if he had plans to negotiate a rematch.
"I don't even want to think about that," he said.
For more on Mayweather-Pacquiao, check out this week's Sports Illustrated (subscribe here).
Also in this issue: A book excerpt about the 2003 Boston Red Sox by Pedro Martinez and Michael Silverman and profiles of the red-hot New York Mets and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.
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