Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. denied Sunday a report that said he and rival Manny Pacquiao had agreed to terms on a long-awaited match. Mayweather dispelled rumors that he or Pacquiao had already signed a deal during a live interview on TNT’s broadcast of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
“No, that’s not true,” Mayweather said, according to ESPN. “I haven’t signed yet, and he hasn’t signed yet, you know. It’s just been speculations and rumors. But hopefully we can make the fight happen.”
Mayweather’s comments were made in reference to a report by the Sunday Telegraph, which cited a source close to Pacquiao who said Saturday that the Filipino boxer had already signed a contract to finalize terms on a match. The source added that Mayweather would also sign the deal and could announce the fight as soon as Sunday. A match between Mayweather and Pacquiao would have an estimated $250 million purse, the richest in boxing history.
“Manny has 100 percent signed his side of the deal,” the Pacquiao source told the Telegraph. “It is now over to Mayweather to close the deal and announce the fight.”
Aside from Mayweather’s denial, ESPN’s Dan Rafael and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix each cited sources who said Saturday that no match was set between Mayweather and Pacquiao. The Telegraph’s report came less than three weeks after a similar report by TMZ Sports was refuted.
If confirmed, a match between Mayweather and Pacquiao would be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. A tentative date of May 2 has reportedly been set for the fight, contingent on whether the two fighters agreed to terms in time to train for the bout.
Negotiations between the two camps have been notoriously contentious and have fallen apart on several occasions since 2009. Disagreements on how to split the purse and pre-fight drug-testing were considered two major hurdles in setting a match.
Mayweather and Pacquiao met face-to-face for the first time in late January at a game between the NBA’s Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. Hours later, they held an in-person meeting. Mayweather will reportedly receive a 60 percent share of the record-setting purse. The two sides have already agreed on pre-and-post fight drug-testing and the type of gloves mandated for use during the fight, according to ESPN.