LAS VEGAS (AP) — The ink was barely dry on the contracts signed by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao when the question first came up.
What’s to prevent the two best fighters in the world from doing it again?
Plenty, though the amount of money put on a draw in this city’s legal sports books is proof that conspiracy theorists are alive and well in boxing. A draw would almost guarantee a rematch in any other big fight, though this one would be far more complicated.
Putting together the richest fight ever took five years and still wouldn’t have happened except for a chance meeting at a Miami Heat basketball game and an intervention by CBS head honcho Les Moonves.
Doing a rematch could be just as difficult, if even more.
“A rematch is so down the road,” Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said. “And the idea I’d have to deal with these people again is one I don’t want to think about.”
The Mayweather camp demanded that there would be no rematch clause in the contract for this fight, and with the battles both sides fought over tickets and other details, there is little appetite — at least now — to do it again.
That could change if Saturday night’s bout offers compelling action, or if Mayweather suffers the first loss of his career.
That’s the scenario heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder came up with when he envisioned how the fight would go.
“If this fight becomes a close fight, a good fight, I think the decision will go to Manny,” Wilder said. “You’ve got to keep in mind that the rematch is more money. They’re making hella money now, but the rematch is more money, or even a draw of a good fight is more money.”
Boxing history is littered with rematches, some more successful than others. What they generally have in common, though, is that the first fight was good enough to keep fans wanting more.
That’s what happened when Evander Holyfield shocked everyone by stopping Mike Tyson in the 11th round of their November 1996 fight which, like this fight, was at the MGM Grand arena. The two met again seven months later in the infamous Bite Fight that disappointed at the time but will always live in boxing lore for the wrong reasons.
Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns fought one of the epic fights ever in 1981, with Leonard stopping Hearns in the 13th round of a fight that had a bit of everything. But it took eight years for the two to meet again, and when they did the two fighters were both well beyond their prime.
And there are a number of trilogies in the sport that get old-time boxing fans talking about great fights of the past. At the top of that list would be the three battles Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had in the 1970s, the final one being the Thrilla in Manilla.
There is some history with both fighters in rematches. Mayweather fought back-to-back fights with Jose Luis Castillo in 2002, and had a second fight with Marcos Maidana last year, though it didn’t sell well.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, had three fights with Erik Morales and four with Juan Manuel Marquez. But despite Marquez knocking him out in their last fight in 2012, they haven’t fought for a fifth time.
Mayweather’s father, who trains his son, thinks fans should enjoy this fight, because they won’t get another one.
“What’s going to happen will not require a rematch,” Floyd Sr. said. “Trust me.”
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