Will the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout affect future of boxing in the U.S.?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao could help revive the sport of boxing with their megabout on Saturday

The attention and big money surrounding Saturday's megabout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao has masked the fact that boxing is struggling to become more than a niche sport in the United States.

As a result, many boxing officials are hoping the record pay-per-view numbers and a $74-million live gate for this fight will help revive the sport.

Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, president of the World Boxing Organization, told a story earlier this week about being approached by a boy who asked who would win Saturday's fight.

"In boxing, anything can happen," Valcarcel said he answered. "And in the end, the winner will be the boxing world and the boxing fan."

Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing Council, agreed.

"I'm happy that May 2 will be the start of a new golden era for boxing," he said.

But the Mayweather camp isn't so sure.

"I can’t really say," Mayweather said when asked if the fight can live up to the hype. "Even if we fought at an extremely high pace, a good fight, I can’t really say. That’s not for me to judge.

"My job is to go out there and do what I do best. Just compete and be at my best against the guy that’s in front of me."

His father and trainer was even pessimistic.

"I don't think it will be much of a fight," observed Floyd Mayweather Sr., who said he thinks the fight could end with his son winning in a knockout.

Asked if that meant a short fight, he said, "Pretty much."

Read the Los Angeles Times’ special edition Flipboard digital magazine Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

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