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In a sudden turn of events, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather nearly finalized!!!

News outlet ABS-CBN reported today that undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr has agreed to face pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao on either March 13 or May 1. The bout would be contested at the weight limit of 147lbs for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title.

HBO has already reserved the date of May 1, 2010 for the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather super fight to take place, but could also schedule the fight for March 13th, which has been reserved for Pacquiao's next fight regardless of who it is against. According to Nowboxing, the bout would air live on HBO PPV, with venue still yet to be determined. Front running candidates to stage this extravaganza are Las Vegas (probably at Wynn's temporary outdoor stadium), New Orleans Superdome, or Dallas Cowboys stadium.

Where the challenge lies in scheduling the date for the fight is Pacquiao's upcoming congressional bid in Sarangani Province for the May 10, 2010 Election in the Philippines. Pacquiao would prefer to have the fight in March, which would steer clear of his congressional campaign. Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach recently announced that Pacquiao would be ready to fight in March and would possibly move up to 154lbs to challenge WBA champion Yuri Foreman. On Tuesday evening, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum flew out to Manilla to finalize the deal with Pacquiao, so the ball to make this fight happen remains in his court.

The magnitude of this event is bigger than any purse split. Mainstream media, including the most casual sports fans, have not spoken so passionately of a boxing match since the 1980s, when stars the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, and Marvin Hagler were all facing each other. Should the world receive an announcement in the near future that Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is a reality, that would be a major victory for the sport of boxing, silencing naysayers who claim that boxing is dying because the biggest fights can not be made between its elite level, high profile competitors.

Apparently Mayweather is pleased with the offer that he has been made, or else he wouldn't have given Team Pacquiao the green light to agree to the fight. Arum must also be content with the deal, or else he wouldn't be flying all the way out to Manilla to meet with Pacquiao in order to get this fight signed, sealed, and delivered.

Boxingchronicles.com was rather critical of Mayweather for considering other opponents, such as Matthew Hatton, Dimitriy Salita, and Carlos Quintana, less than 24 hours after both combatants agreed that their teams would enter opening stages of negotiation. Should Pacquiao fail to accept the challenge in front of him, and still proceed to face Foreman in March instead of Mayweather, he too will be subject to similar criticism.

Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is the fight that must happen. No more tune ups on either side are necessary, nor should they be acceptable. The moment of truth awaits; situations in which they may both dare to be great are knocking at their doorsteps.

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