Philippines hero Manny Pacquiao signs deal to fight undefeated American Floyd Mayweather in March.

Philippines hero Manny Pacquiao signs deal to fight undefeated American Floyd Mayweather in March.

Philippines hero Manny Pacquiao has signed a deal to fight US star Floyd Mayweather on March 13, ESPN reported Saturday, saying there will be a 50-50 split in what could be boxing’s richest fight.

Undefeated Mayweather had agreed to terms for the bout but it was not certain he had signed a deal and there have been reports that Pacquiao wanted minor changes that might need to be confirmed with the American’s camp.

Mayweather, 40-0 with 25 knockouts, was regarded as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter before a 19-month layoff that ended last September.

Pacquiao, 50-3 with 38 knockouts, staked his claim on the pound-for-pound crown in Mayweather’s absence by knocking out England’s Ricky Hatton in the second round last May and stopping Miguel Cotto in the 12th round last month.

Each fighter’s side was seeking a 60-40 share of proceeds and for a time it appeared the only mega-fight on boxing’s horizon might never be made because there was not enough money to go around.

Instead, the Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown appears set and could bring record profits to break the mark set by Mayweather’s split-decision victory over Oscar de la Hoya in 2007.

Pacquiao will risk a lesser sanctioning body welterweight crown, with the fight will be staged at that class’ 147-pound limit and each fighter can select the brand of eight-ounce gloves he desires, ESPN reported.

The promotion, expected to carry Mayweather’s name ahead of Pacquiao’s but give Pac-Man’s promoter Top Rank a higher billing over Golden Boy, is expected to be launched with a January news conference in New York.

Pacquiao is running for congress in his homeland and elections are in May, which scuttled plans for a May date for the fight.

The Filipino star is expected to begin training in his homeland and complete his workouts at trainer Freddie Roach’s Hollywood gym.

An exact venue has not been set for the fight, with two Las Vegas sites, the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Texas and the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans among those interested in hosting the bout. — AFP