By Barry Janoff
April 15, 2015: With the arguably defined 'Fight of the Century" barely two weeks away, both Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao have stepped up their efforts to convince the public that after their welterweight bout one will declare that he is unarguably the "greatest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Even if the fight itself — scheduled for May 2 in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas — is anticlimactic, both men are doing all they can to see that pre-fight marketing, hype and economics reach new heights.
Numbers coming in from sports, boxing and media analysts certainly put this bout on a new plateau.
Among the figures: An estimated $180 million in winnings for Mayweather, $120 million for Pacquiao; between 3.5-4 million PPV buys at $99 a pop via co-promoter HBO and Showtime; upward of $75 million in live gate receipts, $35 million in foreign rights; and millions more from brands that lined to be associated with the event, such as Tecate, which paid $5.6 million, according to industry analysts, to be the "official" beer.
Both Mayweather and Pacquiao held workouts this week in their respective training camps that were open to the media and streamed live via YouTube.
Mayweather opened the doors for the media in his Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, Tuesday night, and after a two hour delay came out in gear declaring TBE (The Best Ever) and then spent hours sparring in the ring, hitting the speed and heavy bags and going through a series of exercises.
Pacquiao got his turn Wednesday evening when the media hits the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif.
"He's a future hall of famer," Mayweather said during a pre-workout media conference. "I am a future hall of famer and we are meeting at the pinnacle of our careers. It is going to be a very exciting fight.
"I am in tip-top shape," Mayweather said. "If the fight was today I would be at my best."
Each man is trying to gain an advantage in their respective workouts. Pacquiao wails away at a speed bag with Mayweather's face on it, Mayweather's speed bag is located in front of a poster for the fight showing tape across Pacquiao's eyes and mouth.
Attitude has been seen not only in person at their lone joint press conference in Los Angeles but in pre-fight marketing.
A commercial filmed with both fighters in Los Angeles in March, "It's Time," sees them standing toe-to-toe, each attempting to out-stare the other. A second TV spot, "At Last," has Pacquiao declaring about Mayweather, "It's been a long-time coming. Now he has no where to go."
Pacquiao rallies his fellow countrymen and women from the Philippines behind him in a new video the he directed, "Lalaban Ako Para Sa Filipino" ("I Will Fight for the Filipino"), in which he sings and is seen helping the survivors of last year's typhoon, interspersed with shots of him training for the fight.
Showtime Sports, which has a deal with Mayweather, will give viewers backstage access to the fight from the perspective of "Money" with Inside Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, a four-part documentary series, with Episode 1 premiering on April 18.
HBO, which has a deal with Pacquiao, has a dedicated Web site chronicling the life, times and bouts of "Pac-Man." HBO will air on April 18 a special looking at the fight from Pacquiao's perspective.
More hype and activation will come as the time to the fight draws near.
"There are two certainties about the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight," said Gustavo Guerra, brand director for Tecate. "It will shatter records and everyone will have an opinion about who will win."
PHOTOS COURTESY MAYWEATHER-PACQUIAO HBO-SHOWTIME SPORTS
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