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10 December 2023

Boxing legend Hagler hails 'historic' Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

These two file photos show boxing champions Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines (L) before the successful defence of his WBO welterweight title in Dallas on March 12, 2010; and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) before his super welterweight title fight in Las Vegas on May 4, 2007. Unbeaten fighter Floyd Mayweather said February 15, 2015 that neither he nor Manny Pacquiao have signed a deal for a May mega-fight, but he still hopes to get into the ring with the Filipino icon. (AFP)


Boxing legend Marvin Hagler's fabled clash with Sugar Ray Leonard was the superfight of its day -- but the massively anticipated showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will eclipse it, he says.

Speaking with AFP during a visit to Hong Kong, the 60-year-old said the fight between the world famous welterweights in Las Vegas on May 2 would be the "biggest fight in history", regardless of who wins.

The fight has echoes of Hagler's 1987 showdown with Leonard, also staged in Las Vegas, which saw him lose on points in a decision which remains controversial to this day.

Pacquiao and Mayweather are considered to be the best "pound-for-pound" boxers of their generation and their $200 million clash will finally happen after years of failed negotiations.

"Whether Pacquiao loses in the first round, whether he knocks out Mayweather in the first round, it's still going to be the biggest fight in history," said Hagler.

Mayweather, 38, has previously recalled watching the Hagler-Leonard clash.

"I remember being a kid and saying there would never be another fight bigger than this," he said in an interview before his 2007 fight against Oscar De la Hoya.

The American, who has a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts, is homing in on the iconic 49-0 record of 1950s legend Rocky Marciano, who retired as an undefeated heavyweight champion.

Pacquiao, a devout Christian, by contrast holds a record of 57-5 with two draws and 38 knockouts.

- 'Fight of my life' -

The 36-year-old Philippines boxing hero earlier this month called the face-off with undefeated Mayweather "the real fight of my life".

Hagler was undisputed world middleweight champion for seven years until his fight with Leonard at Caesar's Palace, wich was dubbed "The Super Fight".

Reluctant to draw parallels with the Pacquiao-Mayweather clash, he said that both fighters would just be focused on the result.

"Once you start getting yourself into the fight, it's not about the money, it's about the win."

Hagler said it was too early to call a favourite, despite Las Vegas oddsmakers pegging Mayweather as having the upper hand, noting that "anything can happen from now until May."

"Mayweather, he's using his head, he's using his skills and strategy and let's hope Pacquiao don't fall into his tricks."

Hagler said that if Pacquiao won, he would be "a worldwide figure, bigger than what he expected".

He was in Hong Kong with the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation, a group which provides coaching and education to young people in the most deprived environments around the world.

"To see the kids' smile on their face it brings a smile to my face too," said Hagler, who has been involved with the foundation for over a decade.