In an interview with the Manila Standard, Manny Pacquiao said the Floyd Mayweather fight is going to happen and that he expects the announcement to be made by the end of the month.
"We will make an announcement before the end of the month," Pacquiao told Ronnie Nathanielsz via telephone during the halftime break of Game 3 of the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup Finals in Manila. "I think it will happen."
Pacquiao also said that he expects the fight to happen on the coveted May 2nd date because "because that's what he (Mayweather) wants." A report from the LA Times indicates that the purse split between the two fighters has been agreed to in principle (a 60-40 split for Mayweather) although no final agreement has been made. As Scott also reported on the LA Times article, both the venue (MGM Grand) and a drug-testing protocol have also been agreed upon.
It appears that network representatives from both Showtime and HBO (who have the respective fighters under contract) have also discussed a joint-venture to televise the fight, analogous to what they did in 2002 for Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. So - the potential network issue doesn't appear to be one that will stand in the way of the fight happening.
Manny's adviser, Michael Koncz, was also interviewed about the negotiations at the end of December where he offered up the following insights:
"We're still in negotiations with Floyd's group through Top Rank. I spoke to Manny this morning. I gave Manny what is perceived to be a counter offer from the Mayweather people," said Koncz, who then referred to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
"We discussed it and now I've given instruction to Bob to counter their counter. We've been going back and forth. Bob has been negotiating with the powers that be on Floyd's side for the past couple of weeks. There's been offers and counter offers, and a couple of days ago Bob called me and gave me allegedly where Floyd's side is, and I discussed that with Manny two hours ago.
"Now I've given Bob our response to that. I'm never overly optimistic until the contract is signed, but the good thing is that we're still going back and forth."
With all of these obstacles seemingly out of the way, there really isn't much left by way of contentious arguments between the two parties. The fight is now closer than it ever has been, and I'm positively certain it will take place in the first half of the year. If it were to somehow fall apart at this point, after years of teasing fans, neither fighter would be able to show their faces in public without widespread condemnation.
It hasn't been officially announced yet, but I'm making an unabashed, unilateral decision to say it's finally happening.