On Sunday pubs in time-zones around the world will tune in to the “fight of the century” as boxing’s return to prominence rides on two of the sport’s all-time greats.
American superstar Floyd Mayweather will fight Philippine legend Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with telecast beginning around 11am AEST. The match is expected to smash all previous records for gross revenue and pay-per-view take-up.
The flashy Mayweather is unbeaten in his 47 professional fights since 1996, and boasts (literally) world titles in five different weight divisions. He currently holds the WBC and WBA welterweight belts.
The more humble Pacquiao has held world titles in six weight classes, but has been beaten six times across his 64-match career since 1995. He currently holds the WBO title.
With all the varied revenue streams, the fighters are expected to pocket in the region of $150 million and $100 million (respectively). The 16,000-capacity MGM Grand alone will see ticket sales of $74 million – more than triple its next highest-grossing event, and even more than this year’s Superbowl.
The monstrous purse will potentially cap either or both fighters’ careers, which have to date earned them around $400 million and $263 million (respectively).
While the belts are on the line, the future of each may be too as Mayweather faces his first potential loss and Pacquiao furthers a career in Philippine politics.
Bookies and commentators are tipping the fight will go the full twelve rounds, with a result to Mayweather. Many think both will show plenty of respect but not much in the way of action.
Regardless, the long-anticipated match-up will bring potentially millions of sports fans into venues around the world, to watch two of the greatest fighters ever help revive boxing as a main-stream drawcard.
NSW central coast hotel the Empire Bay Tavern even bought a brand new 137-inch (348 cm) TV* in time for the occasion.
Speaking to PubTIC, owner Andrew Mathers said they are expecting a lot of people in their large beer garden.
“It’s a big addition to our pub, but I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever bought,” said Mathers.
“We got it on Tuesday, and weather-permitting we’ll have a really good crowd outside on Sunday. I couldn’t be happier.”
The Harold Park Hotel – one of the original sports bars, located across from the former Harold Park Raceway – has had the phones ringing off the hook in response to its promotion of the match.
Industry stalwart and veteran peace-maker Will Ryan says the fight is the biggest thing in boxing since “the good ol’ days of pugilism”.
“We haven’t had this much interest in a fight in 15 or 20 years,” said Ryan.
“We have never had this many enquiries about a pay-per-view. Sunday will be a big day.”
*The screen is the first 137-inch product by Big Screen Projects.