NEW YORK (WFAN) — Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS, says Saturday night’s mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas could be “the biggest one” since Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali in 1971.
Because of his social relationship with Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, and Mayweather’s deal with CBS-owned Showtime, Moonves found himself facilitating this century’s version of “The Fight of the Century,” a pay-per-view event years in the making.
“I became the guy that both sides trusted,” Moonves said Friday on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show. “And I think that was the role that I played.”
Moonves acknowledged there was “a lot of distrust” historically between the two camps, but “at no point” was he worried about the fight falling through.
“In the last month, it was really getting the details done,” he said.
Moonves confirmed that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threw his hat in the ring to host the fight at AT&T Stadium. The owners of the Chicago Cubs also inquired about having it at Wrigley Field. But the deciding factor ended up being Mayweather’s loyalty to the smaller MGM Grand in Nevada.
“Those conversations ended fairly fast,” said Moonves, who touted the star-studded, circus-like atmosphere of the arena. “For Floyd’s side, there was never a question where it would be.”
“In terms of its place in history, it’s going to have to be a good fight,” he said. “And, look, I’m pretty excited because I think it will be.”