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Fight will be greatest show on earth: Floyd

By Duncan Bech

Floyd Mayweather has declared "the time is now" as the gaze of the sporting world turns to Las Vegas for a seismic showdown with Manny Pacquiao that will end five years of disillusion.

The welterweight rivals finally collide at the MGM Grand in the early hours of tomorrow morning, repairing boxing's credibility after a succession of false dawns dating back to 2010.

Lawsuits, hostility between rival promoters and broadcasters and Mayweather's blood testing demands prevented the two finest fighters of their generation from clashing until the breakthrough in negotiations came in February.

The answer to years of bar room debate will be delivered when the richest bout in history unfolds in the Nevada desert with unbeaten Mayweather knowing the delay in facing Pacquiao has doubled the value of the fight to an estimated £332m.

"Everything takes time, it's all about timing. I'm glad that we had patience and didn't rush. The time is now, this is the right time for this fight," Mayweather said.

"This fight is not good versus evil, it's about one fighter who is at the top fighting another fighter who is at the top. It's about giving excitement.

"We don't know how this fight is going to play out, but I believe in my skills. I believe I am going to be victorious."

Staging the biggest sporting event of the year, for which a mere 500 of the 16,500 arena seats were made available for general sale, is only half the battle as an increasingly rare crossover moment offers boxing the platform to recapture hearts and minds.

A September rematch is inevitable if the event excites, but a poor spectacle or the occurrence of the type of controversy that happens all too frequently will invite renewed scorn just as publicity is at its greatest.

Mayweather is a defensive genius, admired for his technical brilliance rather than warrior spirit, and it is Pacquiao's all-action style that will cause the heart to race.

The Filipino southpaw, who is two years younger at 36, would be the popular winner with the bragging and ostentatious Mayweather happy to play the role of villain as he nears a fight that will determine his legacy.

"I believe in self-preservation. Me first, then everyone else. But me first. Nobody is going to love Floyd Mayweather like Floyd Mayweather," he said.

"I'm not focused on all the festivities. I'm just focusing on being the best I can be, doing what I'm supposed to do.

"I come out and speak loud and do flamboyant things, talking about money. But that doesn't mean that I hate anyone, it's all about entertainment. People want to be entertained."

Records already held by Mayweather for pay-per-view buys, gate receipts and closed circuit television revenue will tumble.

Mayweather's precious 47-0 unbeaten record, just two short of Rocky Marciano's hallowed mark, will face its greatest challenge yet.

Belfast Telegraph


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