Floyd Mayweather Jr. will meet Manny Pacquiao on May 2 in a welterweight showdown that will be boxing's richest fight ever. Mayweather himself announced the bout Friday after months of negotiations, posting a picture of the signed contract online.
The long anticipated bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will almost surely break every financial record ever, and make both boxers richer than ever. Mayweather could earn $120 million or more, while Pacquiao's split of the purse will likely be around $80 million.
The fight, which matches boxing's two biggest attractions in recent years, has been in the making for five years. It finally came together in recent months with both fighters putting aside past differences over various issues —including drug testing and television rights —to reach agreement.
"I promised the fans we would get this done and we did," Mayweather said.
While the fight rivals the 2002 heavyweight title bout between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson for interest, it comes more than five years after the first real effort to put the fighters together in their prime. Most boxing observers believe both have lost some of their skills, though Mayweather remains a master defensive fighter and Pacquiao showed in his last fight against Chris Algieri that he still has tremendous quickness in his hands.
Still, Pacquiao is 36 and has been through many wars in the ring. And while Mayweather has been largely untouched in his career, he turns 38 on Tuesday.
Pacquiao was sleeping in the Philippines when the fight was announced, but his camp issued a statement saying the fans deserve the long awaited fight.
"It is an honor to be part of this historic event," Pacquiao said. "I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen and, as always, to bring glory to the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world."
Raiders, Chargers talk stadium
The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are planning a shared stadium in the Los Angeles area if both teams fail to get new stadium deals in their current hometowns, the teams said in a joint statement, adding another layer of complexity to a possible NFL return to the region.
The proposed $1.7 billion stadium would be in Carson, 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and home to the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team.
Thursday night's statement said the teams have tried and failed for years to find stadium solutions in Oakland and San Diego, and without new agreements in those cities their hands will be forced.
"We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason," the statement said. "If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises."
... The Rams hired former Cretin-Derham Hall star and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke as quarterbacks coach.
Freshman ineligible in Big Ten?
The Big Ten, among other conferences, is studying whether freshmen athletes should be ineligible to compete while they adjust to college life.
The conference said it has reached out to members to see if they are interested "in beginning a national discussion regarding a year of readiness for student-athletes."
The Big Ten says it has provided background information to its schools, but no proposals have been made.
The University of Maryland's student newspaper, The Diamondback, reported Thursday that the Big Ten has distributed a document titled "A Year of Readiness" that explores the idea of making freshmen ineligible in football and men's basketball.
For decades, the NCAA barred freshmen from competing in all sports. That changed for football and basketball in 1972.
The idea is a controversial one.
"First off, if one does it, everyone needs to do it,'' said Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys. ''All Power 5 conferences, otherwise you're at a huge disadvantage. You'd have to tell them, you're going to sit out here but you can go to Missouri or somewhere like that and play right away as a freshman?
"Number two, back when there was freshman ineligibility they also had more scholarships, so in our opinion, you're going to have to increase scholarships because we're going to go to battle.
"We probably play 8-10 freshmen each year, so they better jump that up, increase the scholarship numbers to 95 or whatever."
AROUND THE HORN
Tennis: Second-seeded Stan Wawrinka was knocked out of the Marseille Open 13 by Sergiy Stakhovsky after a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 loss. ... Top-seeded Simona Halep beat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships final. Halep will face 17th-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who beat Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in Saturday's final.