One opponent is an elected congressman and retired singer; the other will strut into the ring alongside Justin Bieber while wearing a $25,000 mouth guard adorned with diamonds and gold.
The May 2 bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas is expected to break a number of fiscal records and the American fighter will soon top over half a billion dollars in career earnings.
As the fight draws ever nearer, the preparations continue both in and out of the gym.
While Mayweather posts Instagram videos of late-night visits to high-end jewelers, Pacquiao is back behind the microphone and has released his official song for the fight amidst much excitement on social media.
Much has been made of the fight of the century’s financial clout – potentially fetching over $300 million – so it seems surprising that currently no tickets are available to buy for the contest.
“Please be aware that tickets for the May 2, 2015, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight are not yet available for purchase,” said a statement on the MGM Grand website. “Buyers should use extra caution when purchasing alleged tickets from unofficial sources, for fraudulent or counterfeit tickets will not be accepted.
“This is turning into one of the most bizarre sporting events in history,” Anbritt Stengele, founder of the Sports Traveler ticket agency, told CNN.
“I can’t name another event in my career that has been more hyped than this, and yet there are no official tickets for sale three weeks before the event.”
Stengele is not the only interested party getting a bit edgy
This week Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, launched a furious attack on host MGM Grand, claiming an agreement still had not been signed to cover the number of tickets and suites granted to each fighter’s camp.
“They have no contract. Nothing. We haven’t even seen a draft. … What is happening now is absolutely intolerable,” he said to Yahoo Sports on Wednesday.
“For the MGM to think that everything is resolved and so forth, when nobody has even discussed terms, is the most insane thing ever.”
Later that day Arum said he received a draft of the contract which he sent to his lawyers for approval.
As a result of the confusion, Stengele, who has been in the business for 15 years, has so far declined to provide packages to her clients until the situation is rectified. Most tickets at the 16,800-capacity MGM Arena will be reserved for VIPs, sponsors, and high-rollers on the Las Vegas strip.
Those bold enough to try and attend the match through their own bookings would be looking at a “get in” price of $5,316, and over $47,000 for floor seats (though not ringside), according to ticket aggregator site SeatGeek.
A standard room at the MGM Grand would set a fan back $3,173 for two nights via bookings.com.
Ticketing hiccups aside, the bout will almost certainly be the biggest grossing fight in the sport’s history, potentially fetching over $300 million depending on pay per view numbers (netting a minimum of $120 million for Mayweather and $80 million for Pacquiao.)
Requests made to both fighter’s promoters to verify the reported figures were not returned.
The fight will be shown jointly on Showtime and HBO in the U.S. for a fee of nearly $100 per subscriber. Charges in the UK are much lower, at just £19.95, or $30, on the Sky Box Office channel, indicating the fight might have less drawing power globally.
Meanwhile, the showmanship before the big show continues.
The 38-year-old Mayweather, who holds six championship belts in two weight classes, reportedly custom ordered a gum shield for the welterweight championship fight made with gold flecks, diamond dust and $100 bills, according to TMZ.
The audacious Michigan native who calls himself “The Money Man” and “TBE” (the best ever,) is 47-0 with 26 knockouts. He topped other globally branded athletes on like Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James with earnings of $105 million last year.
His Instagram posts have featured him shopping for diamond-encrusted watches and dream cars. Lately they have turned more business-like, with posts of him in training and then recovering in a cryotherapy freezing chamber.
Pacquiao, the 36-year-old Filipino who is far more reserved and enjoys referencing the bible on social media, carries a record of 57-5-2 with 38 knockouts.
He’s the only boxer in history to hold titles in eight different weight classes, and is currently ranked 11th on Forbes list of the world’s highest paid athletes with a 2014 salary of $41.8 million.
According to multiple reports, Mayweather also has the better financial record of the two.
He represents himself through Mayweather Promotions (saving fees of up to 20% of his purse), and owns his own clothing line – The Money Team – sported by his unlikely friend, Bieber, who will walk the American into the ring during the pre-match ceremony.
The Pac-Man, on the other hand, is said to have suffered financial problems – confirmed by his trainer Freddie Roach – stemming from his hefty donations to charities, a huge entourage, a reported gambling problem and runs for public office in the Philippines (he currently serves as a congressman, while his wife Jinkee serves as a vice governor of a province).
Pacquiao also once launched a brief singing career and has posted clips of himself crooning gospel songs with his wife on Instagram.
Chances are Vegas betting action will be set alight by the fight as well.
The rapper 50 Cent has already verbally pledged $1.6 million in favor of his on-again off-again friend Mayweather, who is currently the greater than 2 to 1 odds-on favorite, according to William Hill.
The UK bookmaker also places better than 3-1 odds that the fight will last the full 12 rounds, offering spectators as much bang for their buck as possible.