Mayweather and Pacquiao come face to face – is fight on?
After greatest boxers of their generation meet at basketball match in Miami, next time could be Vegas
Boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally came face to face on Tuesday, but the pair did not meet in a Las Vegas boxing ring but on a basketball court in Miami.
The two welterweights are currently in negotiations over a mega-fight in Vegas later this year which, according to ESPN, is likely to "shatter every revenue record in boxing history", and they finally got to look each other in the eye at half time during the Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks game.
The pair "shook hands, chatted briefly, then exchanged phone numbers", reports the Daily Mail.
The boxers had never before been pictured together and afterwards Pacquiao confirmed it was the first time they had spoken face to face. The Filipino boxer's adviser Michael Koncz also insisted the meeting was not planned. He explained that the Pac-man had changed his travel plans after acting as a judge at the Miss Universe beauty pageant on Sunday and stayed in Miami because of bad weather in New York.
The meeting sparked excitement on social media, and the hosts did not miss the chance to whip up speculation about their possible fight.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 28, 2015
Mayweather and Pacquiao sealed the deal. Shook on it. Exchanged phones and typed in each others' numbers. pic.twitter.com/A1Fv18xQXj
— Grant Smith (@StrategySmith) January 28, 2015
A bout between the men, seen as the two best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, has been in the pipeline since 2009, but a deal has nvever been reached with both sides blaming each other for the failure of talks. The latest proposal is for a showdown in May of this year.
"This round of talks, according to those involved, is the closest the sides have been since the initial negotiations in late 2009 and early 2010 broke down because of a disagreement over how to carry out the drug testing for the bout," says ESPN.
Mayweather says he will fight Pacquiao or another opponent on 2 May in Las Vegas, while Pacquiao says he too wants to fight, but insisted that the deal is finalised by the end of this month. If not he intends to fight later in the month, possibly against Amir Khan.