Few would have imagined the first face-to-face meeting between two of the world’s most popular boxers would take place at the courtside of an NBA game instead of a weigh-in session for a matchup of the ages.
That was what occurred on Tuesday, when both Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao attended the Miami Heat games versus the Milwaukee Bucks, sitting across from one another opposite sides of the court. The two met at halftime, exchanging words in person for the first time after taking shots at one another through the media in the past.
Mayweather, a Miami resident, is a frequent attendee of Heat games. Pacquiao was in town to serve as a judge for this year’s Miss Universe Pageant this past Sunday, but decided to stay longer in Miami due to the blizzard hitting the Northeast.
According to Pacquiao, it was the first time these two rivals have met. “He gave his number to me and said we will communicate with each other,” said the boxer in an interview with the Associated Press.
The two boxers have long been in negotiations for a fight. The desire to see a Mayweather -Pacquiao match peaked in late 2009, when Pacquiao defeated Miguel Cotto to win the WBO Welterweight Championshion, becoming the next logical opponent for the undefeated Mayweather. At the time, the proposed match-up would have pitted the world’s top two pound-for-pound boxers.
The two sides came close to agreeing to a fight set for March 2010, but the agreement fell over the random blood testing requested by the Mayweather. Subsequent negotiations also did not bear fruit. The current negotiations aiming for a May 2 fight is the closest the two sides have ever been to coming to an agreement.
Pacquiao’s camp hopes to have the deal for the match settled before the end of January. Time is ticking, but this impromptu meeting at a basketball game might have nudged things along.
If the two boxers were to ever meet in the ring, it would not approach the dream match it could have been five years ago. Since then, Pacquiao suffered consecutive losses in 2012. At 36, Pacquiao is considered to be past his prime.
Mayweather remains undefeated with a record of 47-0, having last fought on Sep. 13, 2014, winning against Marcos Maidana. Nevertheless, he has been accused of dodging his strongest opponent, that being Pacquiao.
Even if this fight in 2015 is not what fans originally wanted, the proposed event is expected to draw in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.