Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao still haven’t agreed to a fight, but they may have taken a step in that direction. The two boxers had an unexpected meeting on Tuesday night, talking to each other during a game between the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks.
The meeting wasn’t planned, and Pacquiao and adviser Michael Koncz were only at the game because the weather inhibited them from flying to New York, as previously scheduled. Mayweather was sitting courtside, like he does for many Miami home games, and shortly before halftime, Pacquiao was told that Mayweather wanted to come by and chat.
"He gave his number to me and said we will communicate with each other," Pacquiao said, according to The Associated Press.
Although it was brief, the meeting could have major ramifications on a potential mega-fight. Even though Pacquiao's and Maywather’s camps have been negotiating for the last few weeks and a bout has been discussed on and off since 2009, Tuesday marked the first time the sport’s top stars ever met face to face. Their short talk led to an even longer discussion, following the game.
“It was very pleasant and very encouraging, and we give Floyd credit for coming over," Koncz, who attended the meeting, told ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael on Wednesday. "That's the first time they ever sat eye to eye. I've met Floyd many times but he and Manny had never had a chance to meet. They talked at halftime, but this was a longer, more serious meeting. You could tell by their body language that this was very positive. It was for a good hour or more.”
Koncz called it a “business meeting” and said the next couple of days would determine what happens between Pacquiao and Mayweather. PacMan had previously set a deadline for Mayweather at the end of the month, and a decision on the undefeated boxer’s next fight is expected to be made soon. Miguel Cotto has also been speculated as a possible opponent for Mayweather on May 2 in Las Vegas, the likely date and time of his upcoming bout.
One of the biggest obstacles in getting a deal done has been the details of the broadcast for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Mayweather has two fights left on his contract with Showtime, and Pacquiao has a deal with HBO. Mayweather voiced his concerns about the broadcasting issues, but Koncz seems confident that the two networks can come to terms on a joint pay-per-view.
"I told Floyd I would call (Pacquiao promoter) Bob (Arum of Top Rank) in the morning and I did that and discussed them with Bob and he assured us they have been worked out. I took care of it," Koncz said. "I said to Floyd, and Manny agreed, that if those are the only two broadcasting issues, we would take care of them."
Multiple issues have kept Mayweather and Pacquiao out of the same ring in the last five years, including Pacquiao’s relationship with Arum. Now that the boxers have finally met, speaking with each other and not their respective promoters, the fight might be close to becoming a reality.
Even if the bout happens in 2015, more than five years after it was first discussed, the fight would almost certainly surpass the 2.5 million PPV buys generated by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Mayweather-Pacquiao would break the record $150 million in revenue generated by Mayweather’s fight with Canelo Alvarez in Sept. 2013.