Christmas is coming early for sports fans and the sports betting industry now that boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have finally agreed to square off in the ring on May 2.
Five years in the making, the fight will go down at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The pay per view (PPV) broadcast will be jointly handled by Showtime (which has a deal with Mayweather) and HBO (with whom Pacquiao is associated) and is expected to shatter previous records for both viewers and revenue. No price has been set for the PPV, but $100 seems a reasonably round figure.
The boxers have agreed to split the purse 60/40, with Mayweather taking the lion’s share. Estimates have the purse ranging as high as $200m depending on how many casual fans opt for the PPV. Mayweather’s World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council belts will be up for grabs, as will Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization title. There is no rematch clause in the contract.
Sportsbooks everywhere are expecting handle of epic proportions for the fight as both recreational bettors and whales look to get in on the action. Mayweather is the prohibitive favorite, with bettors having to put down close to $300 to earn $100 on a Mayweather victory, while a $100 bet on Pacquiao could earn you around $225. Sadly, prolific bettor Mayweather is unlikely to post any betting slips to his Twitter feed indicating his belief in his own abilities.
While the news is a relief for boxing fans, there’s no arguing that this fight would have been infinitely more interesting had it happened five years ago, when both fighters were at their respective peaks. Neither fighter is anything close to a has-been, but they have each lost some spring in their steps and a little snap to their punches. Mayweather will be 38 years old on Tuesday (24) and Pacquiao is 36.
The past five years have been dominated by the boxers trading verbal barbs when they could have been throwing actual jabs and uppercuts. A fight five years ago would also have left open the possibility of at least one rematch. Still, better late than never.