Floyd Mayweather Jr. will pay for George Floyd's funeral services, Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe confirmed.

Floyd – an African-American man – died in Minneapolis after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest on Monday.

Violent protests have broken out across the United States since Floyd's death, during which he was filmed crying out for help as he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

There has been an outcry of support for Floyd and growing calls to tackle racism in the USA and cross the world.

In the meantime, unbeaten American boxing legend Mayweather – who has a perfect 50-0 record – has committed to paying for all of Floyd's funeral costs.

"He'll probably get mad at me for saying that, but yes, [Mayweather] is definitely paying for the funeral," CEO Ellerbe told ESPN.

Ellerbe added: "Floyd has done these kind of things over the last 20 years."

Mayweather's last boxing bout was the mega-money Las Vegas showdown with UFC star Conor McGregor in August 2017.

After that, the 43-year-old Mayweather faced kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition fight.

Manny Pacquiao has suggested Floyd Mayweather Jr is jealous of his prolonged career after the American labelled the veteran welterweight an "old man".

Mayweather was critical of younger fighters "chasing" a bout with 41-year-old Pacquiao, who won his most recent fight against the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to claim the WBA super welterweight title last July.

However, Pacquiao has little regard for Mayweather's comments, claiming the 43-year-old, who last fought in 2017 against UFC star Conor McGregor, wishes he was still fighting.

"He is just envious because he's already retired. We're still active and have a crown," Pacquiao told The Manila Times.

"I'm not thinking about that yet. I'm concerned first and foremost about our countrymen. No retirement [plans] yet. I'm still training, God is good."

With the majority of sporting events currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pacquiao – who is also a senator in the Philippines government – is focused on helping his country's people during the crisis. 

"I'm concerned first and foremost about our countrymen and about how to resolve this [coronavirus] pandemic," he added.

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has learned from his mistakes against Floyd Mayweather Jr and is on course to end up on a very selective list of fighters.

That is the verdict of WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, who has praised Alvarez for the way he bounced back from a first defeat - and tipped him to further enhance his legacy before hanging up the gloves.

The Mexican superstar's solitary loss as a pro came back in September 2013, as he came out on the wrong side of a points verdict after going 12 rounds with the undefeated Mayweather.

Sulaiman feels that, at 23, Canelo was not ready for such a challenge at that stage in his career but has recovered impressively to build a case to be viewed as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

His impressive record includes a points win in a rematch with middleweight rival Gennadiy Golovkin - their first meeting ended as a split-decision draw - while his most recent bout saw him step up to light-heavyweight to stop WBO champion Sergey Kovalev.

Speaking to Stats Perform News courtesy of @trcksuits, Sulaiman explained how Alvarez - who does not turn 30 until July - has time on his side to further his reputation.

"He's still building his legacy," the WBC chief said. "He's young, he's active and he's hungry to be and become the greatest.

"He learned from his mistakes. He fought Floyd Mayweather when he was too young and that could have ended his career.

"But then he focused, he came back, he learned from that fight and now has evolved into a very mature, highly competitive world-presence fighter.

"I think when his career is over, we're going to have Canelo Alvarez in a very selective list of fighters from history."

Alvarez had appeared set to fight again in May this year, only for the coronavirus pandemic to put a hold on his future plans.

Conor McGregor has welcomed high praise from Mike Tyson and promised on his life he will "crack the puzzle" to win an "inevitable rematch" with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Heavyweight great Tyson, who recently revealed he was coming out of retirement, talked up UFC star McGregor's showing when he was beaten by the legendary Mayweather in his professional boxing debut in 2017.

The former world champion said in the latest edition of his Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson podcast: "He [McGregor] never really had a boxing match in his life, right?

"He went 10 rounds with the greatest fighter in the last 100 years of boxing. He went 10 rounds, scored punches on the greatest fighter in the last 100 years.

"Did he do something? Did he accomplish something? People should look who he had the fight against and look what he did when he fought against him."

Mayweather, who quit with a perfect 50-0 record, says he has no interest in boxing again but is open to the idea of more fights that give him a chance to "entertain and have a little fun".

McGregor expressed his gratitude to Tyson and vowed to gain revenge in a second fight with Mayweather that he believes is bound to happen.

He tweeted: "Thank you Mike, and just know that for the inevitable rematch, with the knowledge I now hold of Floyd's style, plus under the tutelage of my old school boxing coach, I will crack the puzzle, and I will beat Floyd.

"I promise my life on it. It is great to see you back Iron Mike."

Floyd Mayweather Jr has no interest in boxing again but is open to the idea of more fights that give him a chance to "entertain and have a little fun".

The unbeaten American legend was the subject of speculation about coming out of retirement to face Adrien Broner.

Such rumours were exacerbated by a series of workout videos posted by Mayweather, who has a perfect 50-0 record, but he said his intention is merely to stay in shape.

"No, those are just rumours," Mayweather told Fight Hype about the possibility of fighting Broner.

"I'm retired. I'm through with boxing. It don't hurt to stay in shape. Your body's your temple. Just in the gym keeping sharp. 

"Not for boxing, just for myself. Training fighters and enjoying myself during this [coronavirus] pandemic."

Mayweather's last boxing bout was the mega-money Las Vegas showdown with UFC star Conor McGregor in August 2017.

After that, Mayweather faced kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition fight, the kind of which he would be interested in taking part again if the money is right.

"I say this, you guys sell out little arenas and do some little baby numbers. Not bad," he added.

"But, I'm older and a lot wiser. Meaning, I don't want to end up like my uncle and end up like a lot of fighters when you don't know when to hang it up. 

"When you're fighting for everybody else instead of fighting for yourself. Even with Conor McGregor, it was smart of my behalf and smart on his behalf. 

"Because if he can't beat Mayweather, let him try and share the ring with him so he can make more money than any MMA or any other fighter. Even if we did again, it's entertainment and it's business.

"Once again I'll tell you, I'm not boxing no boxers, at all. None. I'm retired and I love my life. I enjoy being retired. 

"If I see an opportunity where I can entertain and have a little fun and make $600million, why not?

"If I was to come back and fight a fighter, why fight a fighter who can only sell out little seats? I like to face guys that once again have countries behind them. 

"If I am going to do something, it's got to be worth it. There's no number worth me getting back in the ring and fighting these young fighters and get wear and tear on my body. 

"Am I fighting these young fighters? No. I'm retired. I'm retired from the sport of boxing. I'm training, having fun and enjoying life. I don't want for nothing."

When it comes to whetting the appetite for the big event through a combination of chicanery, politicking and delaying tactics, boxing is a sport in a league of its own.

But, while most leading promoters view their abilities to let an anticipated bout "marinate" as something akin to an art, frustration among fans generally sets in long before the fights they want to happen come to fruition.

Floyd Mayweather Jr's unanimous points win over Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas five years ago today is a case in point.

Talk of pound-for-pound king Mayweather taking on Pacquiao first emerged when the Filipino sensation jumped two weight classes to batter a shopworn Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008. The intervening period did Pacquiao and the sport itself few favours.

As the list below shows, it takes a special fight to handle the weight of such expectation.

JOE FRAZIER v MUHAMMAD ALI I (MARCH 8, 1971)

We can't really blame promoters for the wait for this one, as Ali endured an enforced three-and-a-half-year ring absence following a refusal to be drafted for the Vietnam War. In his absence, Frazier became a formidable heavyweight champion in his own right and, four years on from his previous title defence, Ali had the chance to regain his title at an expectant Madison Square Garden.

Was it worth the wait?

Absolutely. It takes a special fight to live up to and surpass the promotional banner of 'The Fight of the Century'. This was special. Ali's quicksilver skills were to the fore early on but Frazier was typically unrelenting and turned the tide on 'The Greatest'. A signature left hook shook Ali to his boots in round 11 and another put him on the seat of his shorts during a dramatic final round. Frazier won a unanimous points verdict and the most riveting rivalry in boxing history was on the road to the gripping and horrifying brutality of its final act in Manila.

MARVIN HAGLER v TOMMY HEARNS (APRIL 15, 1985)

Middleweight king Hagler was slated to face Hearns three years earlier before the latter suffered a hand injury. A delay became a cancellation, something that left simmering animosity within Hagler. That was stoked by a press tour of 21 cities to promote 'The War'. Enough was enough and, when the first bell sounded at Caesars Palace, the two men promptly set about trying to take each other's heads off.

Was it worth the wait?

Yes, yes and thrice yes. The eight minutes of unruly mayhem Hagler and Hearns shared together are frequently cited as the best fight of all time and serve as a barometer against which all other pretentions for boxing entertainment are measured. The first round remains scarcely believable as both men unloaded a torrent of heavy shots. Both were hurt, Hagler was cut badly but the exertions took more out of Hearns, who was unable to beat the count when 'Marvelous' deposited his exhausted frame on the canvas a minute into round three.

LENNOX LEWIS v MIKE TYSON (JUNE 8, 2002)

After sparring as teenagers, Lewis was unlikely to have anticipated both he and Tyson would be approaching 40 by the time they met in a professional ring. But the Briton's first reign as heavyweight champion coincided with Tyson's prison sentence for rape, while he won the title for a second time against an Evander Holyfield with infamously diminished ears following a rematch with 'Iron Mike'. Throw in both men being on either side of the HBO and Showtime pay-per-view divide, Lewis' shock loss to Hasim Rahman and Tyson biting his foe at the initial media event and it's a wonder their Memphis meeting ever came to pass.

Was it worth the wait?

Lewis will certainly think so because it left him emphatically as the last man standing from a great heavyweight era, with nothing left to prove. However, Tyson was a far cry from the 'Baddest Man on the Planet' by this stage and offered little after a moderately encouraging first round. There was even a sense of Lewis propping him up until the round-eight finale to prolong the punishment. In hindsight, Lewis scrambling through adversity against a prime Vitali Klitschko next time out stands as a better achievement, while Tyson was on his way to back-to-back losses against Danny Williams and Kevin McBride and a sorry career end.

BERNARD HOPKINS v ROY JONES JR (APRIL 3, 2010)

Waiting 17 years and the duration of a record-breaking run as middleweight champion for revenge would drive most men insane. Hopkins is not most men. During their initial fight in 1993, Jones befuddled him over 12 rounds. Both would go on to achieve greatness but stay away from one another's orbits for almost two decades.

Was it worth the wait?

Like Lewis, Hopkins took huge satisfaction from this redemptive triumph. But the wily veteran's age-defying exploits at the end of his career were often more enjoyable on paper than they were in the ring. A defensive master to frustrate the best, Hopkins in his 40s was never particularly easy on the eye. And, while the Philadelphia great extended his peak impressively, Jones' best days were far back in the rear-view mirror. Either side of this fractious, foul-stained encounter, he was knocked out by Danny Green and Denis Lebedev.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR v MANNY PACQUIAO (MAY 2, 2015)

As the sport's biggest draw, Mayweather was a master at making sure he fought the best on his terms at a time of his choosing. Did the Pacquiao who scythed through Ricky Hatton and beat up Miguel Cotto in 2009 represent too much of a risk? Nine fights and five years later, 'Pacman' was yet to record another stoppage and had been brutally knocked out by his nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. The Money Team were ready to do business.

Was it worth the wait?

Mayweather was truly masterful here, perplexing Pacquiao and running out a clear winner. However, a brilliant performance does not necessarily make for a brilliant contest – a near constant during Mayweather's peerless late career. The prospect of Pacquiao throwing fewer punches than his rival would have been unfathomable five years earlier, when this contest would have been far more competitive and rewarding.

GENNADIY GOLOVKIN v SAUL 'CANELO' ALVAREZ I (SEPTEMBER 16, 2017)

Mayweather's astute timing of when to box an opponent was also evident when he schooled a greenhorn Alvarez in 2013. The Mexican pretender to his pound-for-pound crown was paying attention. Middleweight title wins against Cotto and Amir Khan came at catchweights below the 160lb limit before he stepped down a division to dethrone Liam Smith as opposed to facing Golovkin, who was busy standing a succession of full-fledged middleweights on their heads. After an all-Mexican grudge match against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, the time was right.

Was it worth the wait?

Yes - a big drama show! Canelo and GGG served up 12 rounds of high-skilled, pulsating action and soaked up one another's best shots – a particular novelty for any Golovkin opponent. Few doubted the Kazakh superstar had done enough to take the verdict on the cards but a split decision draw meant they were obliged to reconvene in Las Vegas a year later. That time another disputed decision in an even better fight went Alvarez's way and a third encounter is in the works.

Good things come to those who wait, right? Well, that is not always the case in boxing, as demonstrated when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally met on May 2, 2015.

The bout was dubbed 'Fight Of The Century', a do-not-miss battle between two long-time rivals that had been brewing for years (and years).

Instead, the main event fell a little flat, failing to live up to the hype – hardly surprising, considering for how long it had been talked about – with Mayweather emerging victorious by unanimous decision after 12 rounds in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao left the ring that night at the MGM Grand with a sore shoulder and a bruised ego. The long-awaited opportunity had rather passed him by - at 36, and with a career in politics already lined up, his future as a fighter was unclear.

Yet while Mayweather only fought once more before initially retiring – 'Money' made a comeback to face Conor McGregor for a lucrative meeting that moved his career record to 50-0 – Pac-Man is still going strong, overcoming an unexpected setback to prove his doubters wrong.

 

THE LAST HURRAH...OR NOT

Nearly a year after the Mayweather fight, Pacquiao returned to action to face a familiar foe in what he claimed beforehand would be his boxing swansong.

"I'm so happy to be hanging up the gloves after this fight because of what I have done," he told the media ahead of facing Timothy Bradley for a third time. “I'm sure I will be sad after that fight. That's life.”

Pac-Man had his eyes on becoming a senator in the Philippines, but did not look beyond Bradley, who had won their first meeting via a controversial split-decision verdict, back in 2012.

Pacquiao had prevailed in a 2014 rematch and also came out on top in the final episode of their trilogy, dropping his opponent twice on his way to a points triumph.  

That was meant to be that, except before the end of 2016 he was back between the ropes again. Jessie Vargas was no match as Mayweather watched his former opponent from close quarters at ringside, adding fuel to talk of a rematch.

Victory secured the WBO welterweight title for Pacquiao, who demonstrated that despite being just shy of his 38th birthday, he still had plenty left to give. "He's not done fighting yet," said trainer Freddie Roach.

 

AN ALMIGHTY UPSET

Jeff Horn was due to be nothing more than a stepping stone. The Australian nearly missed his big opportunity – Pacquiao at one point seemed set to face former gym-mate Amir Khan instead – but had home advantage on his side. It was one of the few things experts felt he had going in his favour.

However, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane witnessed the mother of all upsets in July 2017, in part thanks to some questionable scoring.

Horn did more than just surpass pre-fight expectations just by making it to the final bell, though. He showed a willingness to stand and trade with a legendary name, as well as coming through a ninth-round storm that looked at one stage certain to sweep him away.

He finished strongly too, but it was still a surprise to most when the challenger was declared a unanimous winner on all three cards. The verdict raised serious questions over the judges' scoring, as well as Pacquiao's future in the sport.

The WBO conducted a review into the outcome at the behest of the Philippines government, but a secondary check only vindicated the original outcome.

 

CALL IT A COMEBACK

If there were doubts over what Pacquiao had left in the tank after losing to Horn, he has emphatically quashed them since.

A year after the unexpected setback Down Under, and with Roach replaced by Restituto 'Buboy' Fernandez in his corner, a refreshed and focused fighter stopped the heavy-handed Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round in Kuala Lumpur.

Having claimed before the first bell to be the underdog, Pac-Man dissected an opponent admittedly there for the taking, knocking him down in the third and fifth rounds before a left uppercut finished the job. "I'm still here," he said afterwards, as if a first stoppage win in nearly a decade had not made that point.

After Adrien Broner managed to go the distance to lose on points in January 2019, Pacquiao gave a demonstration of his abilities when dealing with Keith Thurman just six months later.

The Filipino dropped Thurman in the first round on his way to a split-decision outcome that showed, despite this being the 71st outing as a professional, he remains at the top table in a packed welterweight division.

Mayweather may have nullified him astutely five years ago, but Pacquiao's late resurgence suggests Father Time cannot quite get the better of him just yet.

Even at 41, there are still a few chapters to be written before closing the book on a storied career.

Amir Khan has admitted it would take a fight against either Floyd Mayweather Jr or Manny Pacquiao to motivate him to make a ring return.

The former light-welterweight world champion has had 39 bouts in a professional career which began in 2005, the last of them being a stoppage win over Billy Dib in July 2019.

While he has faced pound-for-pound candidates Saul Alvarez and Terence Crawford in recent years, Khan has made no secret of his desire to go up against both Mayweather and Pacquiao before retiring, two legendary names he has chased in the past without success.

At 33, he has still not given up hope of securing a deal to take on one of the duo, though they are seemingly the only opponents that could lead to him heading back into the gym.

"I've almost had 40 fights now, so I'm just going to take my time and see what options are out there for me," Khan told Sky Sports.

"If the Pacquiao option is there, 100 per cent that is the motivation for me to go back in the gym and train hard. 

"It's very hard to have those fights now that motivate you. I'm in a very good position where I've won the world titles and financially I'm good.

"What's left out there for me? The only thing, for me, is a big fight like a Mayweather or a Manny Pacquiao.

"Who knows [if such fights will happen]? That's up to them."

Khan's comments appear to rule out a long-rumoured showdown with Kell Brook, who said himself in April that he had "given that angle up" and moved on.

After more than half a decade of wait, baiting, claim and counter-claim, the boxing world finally got the fight it desired on May 2, 2015 when Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao met in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao was unable to stain his fellow great's immaculate professional record as Mayweather did what late-career Mayweather always did: assessed the puzzle, solved the puzzle and banked rounds, all the while caring little about perceptions of how entertaining he was.

After Pacquiao, there was nothing left to prove or achieve for Mayweather, as evidenced by his final two bouts against Andre Berto and Conor McGregor – outings that were respectively pointless and farcical.

Questions will always linger of what might have happened had Pacquiao met Mayweather somewhere closer to his 2009-10 zenith, but there can be little doubt that 'Money' settled the argument over who the outstanding fighter of the 21st century to date is.

So, where does that blockbusting win rank among his best victories?

10) ZAB JUDAH (APRIL 2006, 12 UD)

Mayweather's bid to become a four-weight world champion at welterweight got off to a rocky start against fellow brash-talking American Judah, with a right hook in the second forcing him to touch down. No knockdown was called and Mayweather assumed typically smooth control thereafter. Judah's frustrations boiled over in round 10 with a low blow that sparked an in-ring melee featuring Floyd's uncle Roger Mayweather and Judah's father Yoel

9) JESUS CHAVEZ (NOVEMBER 2001, 9 RTD)

At odds with his latter run in the 147lb and 154lb divisions, Mayweather's outings in the lighter weights were often all-action affairs. This barnstormer against Chavez was a case in point, with his formidable Mexican foe maniacally throwing 925 punches in pursuit of the WBC super-featherweight title. Mayweather landed 197 of 456 and that greater efficiency persuaded Chavez's trainer Ronnie Shields to end the fight after round nine, telling his man: "You're getting hit too much now".

8) SHANE MOSLEY (MAY 2010, 12 UD)

Never did Mayweather look closer to defeat than in a torrid second round against bitter rival Mosley, wearing two huge right hands. The second of those saw his knees buckle but he stayed upright and won every remaining round on two of the three judges' scorecards.

7) JOSE LUIS CASTILLO (DECEMBER 2002, 12 UD)

The biggest question mark against Mayweather's unbeaten record is his initial fight with Mexican pressure fighter Castillo, with the WBC lightweight champion's unanimous verdict on the scorecards a controversial outcome for many. The scores were actually closer on paper second time around but Mayweather came through another stern examination impressively. "I never figured him out," Castillo conceded afterwards. "I think he fought a more intelligent fight this time. I never felt I did anything this time."

6) RICKY HATTON (DECEMBER 2007, 10 TKO)

Someone's 0 had to go in Las Vegas and it was Hatton's barmy army of Brits who left the MGM Grand Garden Arena disappointed if suitably refreshed as Mayweather surgically took apart the Mancunian hero in this mega fight. A straight Hatton right had the WBC welterweight champion staggering backwards in round one but the writing had long been on the wall by the time Mayweather drilled his man into the ringpost before a second knockdown of round 10 closed the show.

5) SAUL 'CANELO' ALVAREZ (SEPTEMBER 2013, 12 MD)

Another criticism of Mayweather was a tendency to stack the deck unnecessarily high in his favour, with the demand for Alvarez to shave an additional two pounds off his thick-set frame for this WBC light-middleweight showdown a prime example. Regardless, this was a sublime showing as the master put on a boxing clinic for the apprentice. CJ Ross' 114-114 scorecard was as baffling and unnecessary as Mayweather's vast supercar collection.

4) OSCAR DE LA HOYA (MAY 2007, 12 SD)

Setting the template for his late-career run, Mayweather frustrated the more aggressive De La Hoya to pot shot his way to a points win and become a five-weight world champion. He collected the WBC light-middleweight belt in a bout that, at the time, was the richest in boxing history. A baton was passed in terms of who was American's pay-per-view superstar – it was the night 'Pretty Boy Floyd' became 'Money'.

3) MIGUEL COTTO (MAY 2012, 12 UD)

The eventual wide points totals of 117-111 twice and 116-112 do not do justice to Cotto's contribution to a lesser-spotted thriller in the autumn of Mayweather's career. Defending his WBA 154lb title and with the vacant WBC strap on the line, the Puerto Rican great bloodied his opponent's nose and caused plenty of headaches with his intelligent pressure. There was more than enough coming back the other way for Mayweather to deserve his triumph, but Cotto made him work like few others.

2) MANNY PACQUIAO (MAY 2015, 12 UD)

Yes, the thrills that might have prevailed five years earlier were sadly absent. The reduction in Pacquiao's buzz saw output was the main factor here, with a rotator cuff injury perhaps key in the surprising fact Mayweather both out threw and out landed 'Pacman'. Still, failing to face and overcome a eight-weight champion who continues to rule at welterweight today, despite being 41, was never an option for Mayweather and his claims to greatness. It was the biggest night of his career and, typically, he made it look easy.

1) DIEGO CORRALES (JANUARY 2001, 10 TKO)

A masterclass and, arguably, Mayweather's masterpiece. All the elements – immaculate footwork, quicksilver hands, impeccable defence – were there against an all-action opponent, who went into the bout with a 33-0 record. Typically, Corrales never stopped coming forward, although the diet of crisp left hooks he swallowed underlined the futility of his endeavours. That honey punch was key as Mayweather decked his man three times in round seven and twice more in 10 to retain the WBC super-featherweight title.

Massive sporting events do not always live up the occasion.

The boxing world was delivered a reminder of that five years ago as a fight a long time in the making proved a drab affair.

It is the unexpected that often produces the most excitement and that was the case during a 2015-16 Premier League campaign that stands as arguably the most memorable in the division's history.

Here we look back at May 2 in the world of sport.

2009: Pacquiao makes light work of Hatton

"From the ends of the earth to the centre of the ring" was the tagline attached to a light-welterweight title bout billed as the' Battle of East and West'.

With seven seconds left in the second round, Ricky Hatton was indeed in the centre of the ring, on his back having been dumped to the canvas by a thunderous left to the chin from Manny Pacquiao.

The fight marked the last at elite level for Hatton, who finished his career in 2012 with a loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Pacquiao has gone on to secure his legacy as one of the greatest boxers of all time, but his journey has not been without its lows, the biggest of which would come six years later at the same MGM Grand Garden Arena venue...

2009: Leinster-Munster semi-final draws record crowd

Leinster v Munster is regarded as one of the biggest provincial rivalries in world rugby, and it reached new heights as the pair met in the Heineken Cup semi-finals at Croke Park.

A crowd of 82,208, a world-record attendance for a club match, witnessed Leinster secure their place in the final with a 25-6 victory.

They would go on to lift the trophy, beating Leicester Tigers 19-16 at Murrayfield.

2012: Messi breaks European club goals record

Lionel Messi's incredible career has been defined by him shattering records and collecting medals at will.

Eight years ago he bettered a mark that had stood since the 1972-73 season with a hat-trick against Malaga.

The treble took Messi to 68 goals for the 2011-12 season, the most by a single player in a European club season.

Gerd Muller had previously held the record with 67. Messi would go on to stretch his advantage over the Germany great, finishing the campaign with a remarkable 73 goals.

2015: 'Fight of the century' fails to inspire

After years of protracted and tempestuous negotiations, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally agreed to touch gloves in the biggest fight of the 21st century.

The contest did not match the hype surrounding it, however, Mayweather maintaining his unbeaten record in uninspiring fashion.

Pacquiao struggled to land punches on a defensive Mayweather, whose tactical acumen won the day in a fight some dubbed 'Better never than late' in the aftermath.

Mayweather followed up that win with a victory over Andre Berto in September, before coming out of retirement in 2017 to defeat UFC star Conor McGregor and improve to 50-0.

2016: Leicester achieve the impossible

The established order of the Premier League was upset in unbelievable fashion in 2015-16 as 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester City, having narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, clinched the title.

Tottenham had been the Foxes' closest challengers in a year where Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all struggled for consistency, with Liverpool and Chelsea well off the pace.

However, it was Chelsea who ended Tottenham's hopes and ensured the trophy would head to the King Power Stadium.

Spurs needed to win at Stamford Bridge to keep their hopes alive and led 2-0 thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

But Gary Cahill pulled one back and Eden Hazard levelled matters seven minutes from time to spark delirious scenes among the Leicester players watching on TV.

It is exactly 35 years since Wrestlemania I took place and never has the mantra 'the show must go on' been more apt than in the world of WWE.

While the globe has been ground to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic, Vince McMahon's global sports entertainment behemoth has continued with its weekly television shows Raw and Smackdown filmed in the absence of live audiences at the company's performance center.

Indeed, WWE's flagship event Wrestlemania is going ahead in the same fashion despite the breakout of COVID-19, which curtailed hosting the show at the original location of the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Fan favourites including John Cena, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Charlotte Flair, Edge, Randy Orton and Bill Goldberg are scheduled to appear on a bumper card shown over Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

But there will also be the presence of former NFL star Rob Gronkowski, who is slated to serve as host of Wrestlemania 36.

The ex-New England Patriots tight end – who helped his buddy Mojo Rawley win the 'Andre the Giant Battle Royal' during the Wrestlemania 33 pre-show – is not the first athlete to show up in WWE. Here we take a look at some others.

WAYNE ROONEY

England and Manchester United's record goalscorer had a run-in with Wade Barrett during a November 2015 edition of Monday Night Raw.

Preston fan Barrett, incensed by what he felt was a dive by Rooney in an FA Cup tie between his team and United nine months prior, said the now Derby County midfielder embarrasses his son "every time you step on a football pitch". Rooney retaliated with a slap.

RONDA ROUSEY

"Ronda's gonna kill ya..." was the chant emanating around Levi's Stadium as the fearsome Ronda Rousey stepped between the ropes at Wrestlemania 31.

Accompanied by WWE great Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, now a worldwide movie star, UFC icon Rousey was involved in a spat with the legendary Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon.

Three years later, Rousey partnered Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle to defeat 'The Game' and 'The Billion Dollar Princess'. In January 2018, she became an in-ring regular and won Raw's women's title, which she dropped to Lynch a year ago.

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL

Better known for slam dunks, former Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal got in a choke slam at Wrestlemania 32.

The four-time NBA champion had a stare down with the Big Show, before the two combined to slam the 'Big Red Machine' Kane.

RICKY HATTON

Ricky Hatton earned hordes of fans throughout a brilliant boxing career.

In November 2009, 'The Hitman' stepped into a different kind of ring to host an episode of Raw from Sheffield Arena.

Hatton even donned the gloves to land a knockout punch on Chavo Guerrero Jr., with whom he had feuded on the evening.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has beaten them all in the boxing ring, as his 50-0 record proves.

But it was a true case of David vs Goliath when Mayweather, approximately 5'7" and 150lbs, came up against the 7'2", 500lb giant The Big Show at Wrestlemania 24.

Despite the notable size advantage, Big Show was distracted by a member of Mayweather's entourage hitting him with a chair and 'Money' delivered a telling blow, albeit while wearing brass knuckles, to knock out his huge opponent.

PETE ROSE

Pete Rose is a legend of the baseball world, holding MLB's all-time hits record and winning the World Series on three occasions.

Rose was part of the 1970s Cincinnati Reds team that earned the nickname 'The Big Red Machine'.

But his run in with WWE's own 'Big Red Machine' Kane during the late 1990s and 2000 have become the thing of wrestling folklore.

On one such occasion at Wrestlemania 15, Rose was disguised as a chicken and earned a beatdown from Kane, including his devastating tombstone finishing manoeuvre.

MIKE TYSON

'Iron' Mike Tyson is no stranger to a WWE ring.

'The Baddest Man on the Planet' had an infamous showdown with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, one of the all-time greats in WWE, on an episode of Raw and had seemingly sided with one of the company's most famous stables D-Generation X before one of its members Shawn Michaels faced Austin at Wrestlemania 14.

However, during the event Tyson showed his true allegiance, counting the pin for Austin and clocking Michaels. Some 12 years later, Tyson buried the hatchet with his DX foes, unveiling a shirt with their logo on and knocking out Chris Jericho during a Raw segment.

MUHAMMAD ALI

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee - did you know this boxing legend starred in WWE?

Okay, sure, back then it was known as WWF when Ali was one of the guest referees at the first Wrestlemania at New York's Madison Square Garden for the main event between 'Hollywood' Hulk Hogan and A-Team star Mr. T versus 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper.

BROCK LESNAR

Few men strike fear in their opponents quite like Brock Lesnar, who is as well known for his two stints in WWE as he is for being a former UFC heavyweight champion.

Lesnar is a multi-time champion in the organisation and will defend his WWE title against Drew McIntyre this weekend.

TYSON FURY

'The Gypsy King' recently crowned his own personal road to recovery by knocking out Deontay Wilder to become the WBC heavyweight champion.

The big-talking Briton warmed up for that bout by enjoying a short run in WWE, feuding with 'The Monster Among Men' Braun Strowman, which resulted in Fury in earning a count-out win over his huge opponent at WWE's Crown Jewel pay-per-view last October.

Boxing icon Floyd Mayweather Jr suggested he might have an interest in buying Premier League club Newcastle United as he appeared at an event in England.

Mayweather boasts a 50-0 record but has not fought since defeating UFC star Conor McGregor in August 2017, although the 43-year-old has hinted at a rematch this year.

The former five-weight world champion has reportedly made $1billion in his career, however, and cheekily entertained the idea of investing his wealth in the Magpies during a talk in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle fans have been keen for a new owner on Tyneside since 2008 when current chief Mike Ashley caused outrage in a split with popular former manager Kevin Keegan.

Ashley went on to rename the club's St James' Park stadium after his sports retail company, oversaw two relegations and made a number of unpopular appointments.

Given the hunger for Ashley to move on, and with talk of rival takeover interest fading, Mayweather played to the crowd.

Asked if he was "very, very interested" in buying the club, he said: "In the US, we call it soccer, but the Newcastle football team is an unbelievable team, a hell of a team."

The American added to cheers: "If the people want me to buy the Newcastle team, let me know."

TMZ reported Mayweather had an interest in purchasing a stake in Newcastle, although no negotiations had taken place.

Newcastle are 13th in the Premier League, eight points clear of the bottom three after beating Southampton on Saturday, and will play holders Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals later in March.

UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov said he is ready to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. but dismissed the boxing legend's demand for $600million.

Mayweather (50-0) faced UFC icon Conor McGregor in a blockbuster boxing bout in 2017 and the 43-year-old won in Las Vegas.

The undefeated boxer is ready to step back in the ring, either for a rematch with McGregor or a matchup against unbeaten mixed-martial arts fighter Khabib (28-0), after naming his price.

Khabib was asked about Mayweather's demands after fronting the media for his highly anticipated UFC 249 showdown with Tony Ferguson on April 18, calling for 11 rounds of boxing and one of MMA.

"Who is gonna give him this money? Not me," Russian Khabib told reporters in Las Vegas on Friday.

"Dana isn't going to give him $600m. If you want to fight, we can make a fight like this: 11-round boxing, one round MMA.

"If we can make deal, we can fight… we have option. $100m to fight with him in the middle east.

"I think Mayweather is a very big name. I have big name too and we can fight but we need 11 round box, one round MMA. Let's go, I'm ready."

Khabib and Ferguson (25-3) came together more than a month out from their blockbuster bout in Brooklyn, where the former will put his lightweight belt on the line.

The pair traded verbal jabs before Khabib kicked Ferguson's belt off the stage in a tense moment.

"He is a very good fighter but why people don't like him is because he's stupid," Khabib said. "Nobody understands him, honestly, he looks stupid, that's why nobody likes him. But he's a very good fighter and I respect his skill, that's why he's here."

Ferguson added: "I'm going to hit you so hard in your stomach, you're going to piss f****** blood."

Floyd Mayweather described Deontay Wilder as "still a winner in my eyes" despite the American losing his WBC world heavyweight title to Tyson Fury in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Wilder suffered the first loss of his 44-fight professional career at the MGM Grand when his corner threw in the towel in the seventh round as Fury captured the strap he had held since 2015.

The 34-year-old knocked Fury down twice in their original fight, which ended in a draw, but he was dominated by the Briton in the rematch.

Mayweather, a former world champion at five weight classes, never tasted defeat in 50 fights yet he showed his support to Wilder in a social media post.

"Win, Lose or Draw.... Deontay @BronzeBomber is our brother that has accomplished many triumphs and as a community we should all uplift and support him throughout it all," Mayweather wrote on Instagram.

"No matter what, you're still a winner in my eyes, King!"

Wilder could yet face Fury in a third match if he decides to invoke a rematch clause written into the original contract.

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fought out a thriller in Los Angeles 14 months ago and the second instalment of a planned trilogy will be battled out in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

The WBC heavyweight belt goes on the line at the MGM Grand, which long ago jumped ahead of Caesars Palace as the hottest spot to see elite fighters pull on the gloves in America's gambling capital.

Within the vast urban sprawl of the hotel and casino's grounds sits the Garden Arena, where legends have been made and demolished.

Neither Fury nor Wilder is a stranger to the MGM Grand boxing ring, but neither man has had a career-defining fight there yet.

Fury versus Wilder II could be a classic. Their stunning draw in LA leaves all to fight for.

Here is a look at five of the most dramatic and memorable blockbuster showdowns in the 26-year history of the big-fight coliseum.

5. George Foreman beat Michael Moorer, KO, November 1994

Before he became a grill pan hype man, Foreman was frying rivals in the ring.

The veteran rolled back the years on one of the MGM Grand's first big bills, after fighting for permission to even step into the ring. With the 45-year-old having not had a bout in almost 18 months, the WBA initially refused to sanction the contest, but Foreman went through the courts to get the go-ahead, and it was worth the effort.

The man who lost to Muhammad Ali in 1974's Rumble In The Jungle caused a seismic stir in Sin City with this 10th-round knockout victory, landing the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles as he became the division's oldest-ever champion. He had been outboxed for much of the fight, but Foreman found his punching power when it mattered.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez beat Manny Pacquiao, KO, December 2012

This was the final stanza in a Vegas quadrilogy for Marquez and Pacquiao, with a draw and two Pacquiao points victories in their previous clashes setting up another slice of MGM Grand history.

Amusingly, their second fight had been dubbed 'Unfinished Business', so the promoters needed to ramp up the anticipation for this one, pre-emptively titling it 'Fight of the Decade'.

It went a long way towards living up to that billing, earning Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year gong after Mexican Marquez turned the tables on his Filipino rival, driving a brutal right hand into Pacquiao's jaw in the dying seconds of the sixth round.

The fight-defining shot from the 39-year-old capped a sensational contest in which both men had been in trouble, and down went Pacquiao with a thud to the canvas.

Promoter Bob Arum suggested they go at it again in a fifth fight, but that never materialised. Marquez retired as a five-time world champion, his titles coming across four weights.

This was not a title fight, but the punch that collapsed Pacquiao forms a huge part of the Marquez legacy.

3. Floyd Mayweather beat Oscar De La Hoya, split points decision, May 2007

Anticipation for this light middleweight barnstormer reached fever pitch in the United States, where almost 2.5million households signed up for $55-a-throw pay-per-view television coverage, a record number.

Broadcaster HBO produced a four-episode mini-series building up to fight night, and there was also the saga of which corner Mayweather's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr, would be in, given their estrangement and his availability as a top-level trainer.

The answer was ostensibly neither corner in the end. Mayweather Sr reportedly priced himself out of a role with De La Hoya, and Mayweather was primed for the showdown by his uncle, Roger Mayweather.

The hype machine was pumping out hyperbole by the time the fight began, and the fact it turned out to provide huge entertainment was testament to the focus of both fighters.

Mayweather was given 116-112 and 115-113 verdicts, with De La Hoya 115-113 on the other, and the winner's verdict that it was "easy work for me" flew in the face of abundant evidence.

Floyd Mayweather Sr, showing not a jot of family loyalty, surmised that De La Hoya would have deserved the win.

2. Frankie Randall beat Julio Cesar Chavez, split points decision, January 1994

It was opening night at the Garden Arena, six weeks after doors to the MGM Grand hotel swung open for the first time.

The WBC super lightweight belt was on the line, Don King was the promoter pulling the strings, and for its outrageous shock factor, Randall's victory over Chavez that night ranks as one of the venue's greatest triumphs.

Chavez had been described months earlier by Sports Illustrated as "the world's greatest fighter", and he headed into this bout with 89 wins and one draw from 90 professional encounters.

Randall dominated the early stages but was pegged back by Chavez, only for low blows from the Mexican to result in two points being deducted by referee Richard Steele - the telling factor.

Chavez would have won a split points decision, rather than lost that way as he did, had he not been penalised, and later said he was "very upset" with Steele.

A bizarre rematch went Chavez's way. In a highly unusual outcome, an eight-round split decision favoured Chavez when an accidental headbutt from champion Randall left the challenger unable to continue.

1. Evander Holyfield beat Mike Tyson, TKO, November 1996; Holyfield beats Tyson, by disqualification, June 1997

Tyson effectively set up camp at the MGM Grand in the second half of the 1990s, having spent a large chunk of the first half behind bars after a rape conviction. He and promoter King landed a mega-money six-fight deal with the venue, after Tyson's comeback began there with a first-round win, by disqualification, over Peter McNeeley in August 1995.

A March 1996 dust-up with Britain's Frank Bruno was a major money-spinner, but nothing touched the prospect of a long-awaited collision with Evander Holyfield for commercial potential.

Holyfield and Tyson had been due to clash at Caesars Palace in November 1991, but a rib injury suffered by Tyson, followed by his incarceration, put paid to that.

Their 1996 showdown was billed as 'Finally', and the first fight – though now often overlooked because of what followed – was a monumental contest in heavyweight history, Tyson succumbing to just the second defeat of his professional career.

It featured thudding head collisions and the sight of Tyson being outboxed by the underdog until enough was enough for referee Mitch Halpern, who stepped in to stop the fight in the 11th round.

Halpern was kept busy that night but was prevented from officiating the rematch seven months later after a complaint from the Tyson camp, with Mills Lane stepping in at late notice.

It was to prove extraordinary, as Tyson bit both of Holyfield's ears during clinches in round three, spitting out a chunk of cartilage onto the canvas at one stage before outrageously claiming a punch had caused the injury.

Lane said it was a "b******t" explanation and disqualified Tyson, who was banned indefinitely. After a year, 'Iron Mike' had his licence back, but his glory days were over, those bites now more famous than any punch he ever threw.

What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas. Instead, it is beamed around the world, with Fury and Wilder next under the spotlight.

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