Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t the only much-anticipated blockbuster arriving the first weekend of May: After over a half-decade of false starts, bickering and failed negotiations, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, two of the greatest boxers in the sport today, have finally agreed to face each other in the ring to unify their welterweight titles. The fight, which ESPN calls “a lock to be the richest in boxing history,” will take place May 2nd at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand.
While talks for a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bout first began in 2008, when the two boxers were regarded as the two best pound-for-pound talents in their sport, disagreements of money and performance enhancing drug-testing derailed negotiations. However, the super-fight received a much-needed catalyst when both Mayweather and Pacquiao ran into each other at a Miami Heat game on January 27th.
“I am glad my decision to meet with Manny and discuss making this fight happen helped get the deal done. 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,” Mayweather said in a statement. “Boxing fans and sports fans around the world will witness greatness on May 2. 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.”
While the 37-year-old Mayweather Jr. still boasts an undefeated record at 47-0, Pacquiao’s reputation has diminished somewhat since the early days of the proposed title fight. In 2012, the Filipino dubbed Pac-Man lost a pair of marquee matches – first to Timothy Bradley, then to longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez – to drop his record to 54-5-2. After taking a nearly yearlong break from the sport, Pacquiao returned to win his next three bouts – including a victory in his rematch versus Bradley – to reclaim a pair of WBO welterweight titles and set the table for the Mayweather matchup.
“I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years,” Pacquiao said in a statement. “They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is an honor to be part of this historic event.” While Pacquiao can never match “Money” Mayweather in the braggadocio department, the boxer did tweet, “I can easily beat Floyd Mayweather. I believe that.” Pacquiao can also lay claim to the title of Bob Dylan’s favorite boxer.
Anticipation for the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight is so great that TMZ Sports contacted Marvel Studios to inquire whether they planned on bumping Avengers: Age of Ultron from its planned May 1st release, since the boxing match might take a nice bite out of the film’s Saturday night box office. So far, Marvel isn’t budging from the release date.