Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, billed as the Fight of the Century or the Battle for Greatness, was a professional boxing match between undefeated five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao. It took place on May 2, 2015, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. won the contest by unanimous decision, with two judges scoring it 116–112 and the other 118–110.
Despite predictions that Mayweather–Pacquiao would be the highest-grossing fight in history as early as 2009, disagreements between the two professional boxers’ camps on terms for the fight prevented the bout from coming to fruition until 2015. The failure to arrange the Mayweather–Pacquiao fight was named the 2010 Event of the Year by The Ring. Serious negotiations were kickstarted in 2014 by an unlikely source: a Hollywood waiter and part-time actor, Gabriel Salvador, made a key introduction between Pacquiao’s trainer and confidant Freddie Roach and CBS President Les Moonves, who both worked to facilitate the match. By 2015, negotiations for the fight had been finalized, with all of the major issues that prevented the fight from happening in the past resolved, including purse split, drug testing, and location.
The fight was televised through a pay-per-view (PPV) jointly produced by HBO and Showtime, the respective rightsholders of Pacquiao and Mayweather. In the Philippines, the fight was also broadcast in simulcast across three of the country’s major broadcast television networks. The fight was expected to be the most lucrative in the history of professional boxing: with an initial estimate of 4.4 million purchases, the PPV alone broke revenue records in the United States (U.S.) with $410 million in revenue, making it the highest-grossing PPV in history, surpassing Mayweather–Álvarez in 2013. By September 2015, the figure had been amended to 4.6 million. The broadcast of the fight in the Philippines was watched by nearly half the country’s households. Due to the record high price of the PPV, the fight was also widely broadcast through unauthorized online streams on services such as Periscope.
Despite the large amount of hype that surrounded it, critics felt that the bout itself was disappointing, primarily citing Mayweather’s defense-oriented strategy in the ring and Pacquiao’s difficulty in landing punches on Mayweather. This had led to some critics re-labelling the fight ‘Better Never Than Late’ rather than ‘Fight of the Century’. It was later revealed following the event that Pacquiao had sustained an undisclosed injury to his right shoulder while training and that while it had healed in time for the fight, he re-injured it during the fourth round. Further controversy emerged when it was revealed that prior to the fight, Mayweather had been administered IV fluids cleared by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) through a retroactive “therapeutic use exemption”—an exemption, however, not authorized by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).