|LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 05: Singer Justin Bieber, Rapper Lil Wayne, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., rapper Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson and guest pose after Mayweather Jr. defeats Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision in their WBA super welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 5, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)|
The burden, finally, is fully and entirely on Floyd Mayweather Jr. to make a fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao agreed Thursday during appearances on two separate television shows on ESPN to give Mayweather a 55-45 advantage on a financial split should they fight, as the public has been demanding since late 2009. A match between them is expected to be the most lucrative bout in boxing history.
Pacquiao, who meets Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, had been demanding a 50-50 split. Without such a split, he’d said repeatedly over the last 18 months that he would not agree to a fight with Mayweather.
The other major hurdle blocking the fight between the two men regarded by many as the two best in the world was Mayweather's demand for Olympic-style drug testing. Initially, Pacquiao balked at the testing. He has since changed his stance and has said repeatedly over the last year he would fully comply with the tests, just as Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto have done in Mayweather's last three fights.
In a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports on Monday, Pacquiao made no mention of a purse split, but he was as optimistic about the possibility of a fight with Mayweather as he had ever been.
"I think Mayweather will be next," Pacquiao said, declining to specify why.
But by agreeing to give Mayweather the lion's share of the purse, Pacquiao has shifted the onus to Mayweather.
If Mayweather raises new objections, then it becomes obvious he's not serious and is playing some sort of game.
But at this stage, with the demand for the bout seemingly waning a bit because of all the inaction and drama that has surrounded the talks, it would be a miscalculation for Mayweather to add more conditions.
Mayweather is very much aware of his place in history and wants the fight badly because he doesn't feel as if he's received enough credit for his achievements. He’s 43-0 with 26 knockouts. He won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, though his loss in the semifinals was an outrageously bad call. As a pro, he's won world titles at 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154 pounds.
He has spoken of being rated the greatest fighter ever, and to do that, he'd have to beat the best opponent of his era. Without question, for Mayweather, that is Pacquiao.
To make the fight, though, Mayweather must also stay out of further legal trouble. He was paroled in August after serving just under two months of a six-month sentence for misdemeanor domestic violence. Part of the sentence was suspended, but he could be required by Las Vegas judge Melissa Saragosa to serve that time if he has another incident with the law.