Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather spent much of the weekend trading barbs and increasing speculation that boxing’s two biggest stars will soon agree to a mega-bout. Accused by many of avoiding Pacquiao for years, Mayweather provided a flurry of jabs at the Filipino star and called him out for a May 2 bout during an interview with Showtime Boxing on Friday.
Pacquiao, who is coming off a one-sided win over Chris Algieri, would then respond to the AFP, suggesting the undefeated champion has run out of options. "[Mayweather] has reached a dead end. He has nowhere to run but to fight me," Pacquiao said Saturday.
Mayweather flipped the "ducking" accusations, claiming Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum has stymied the fight all these years. The 37-year-old welterweight and junior middleweight champion also called Pacquiao “desperate” after his recent pay-per-view numbers were reportedly much lower than expected. In his response, Pacquiao seemed to choose his words carefully, both to poke fun at Mayweather’s defensive tactics in the ring and to further his stance that Mayweather does not want to fight him.
"I will try my best to (make) this a thrilling and entertaining fight. But I doubt if he's gonna engage me in a slugfest," Pacquiao said. "You all know his fighting style. Most of his previous fights, if not all, induced us to sleep."
The main stumbling blocks to the fight have included Mayweather seeking Pacquiao take drug and urine tests on fight day, followed by a pair of losses from Pacquiao to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Now it has switched to which cable giant, Mayweather’s Showtime or Pacquiao’s HBO, will get the PPV rights and how the combatants will split the purse.
Arum told Sports Illustrated that he had been in contact with CBS chief executive officer Les Moonves, who also controls Showtime, about the fight being split between Showtime and HBO. The same report cited a source that indicated Mayweather wouldn’t take anything less than two-thirds of the purse. Considering the historical significance of the fight, the build up, and the fighters’ fame and stature, the purse could exceed $200 million.
Meanwhile, Amir Khan’s convincing victory over Devon Alexander on Saturday could be another obstacle for the bout. Should negotiations stall between the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps, it’s highly likely either boxer would threaten to book a fight with the talented Khan, who is a popular boxer in the U.K.
A bout with Khan, who has won his last four fights, would be a marquee matchup for both Mayweather and Pacquiao. However, the pay-per-view buys would come nowhere close to a Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-fight, which would easily shatter the record set by Mayweather's 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez.
There is also a possibility of both camps agreeing to a rematch clause in a Mayweather-Pacquiao deal, adding to the financial windfall for both boxers. With retirement looming for Mayweather and Pacquiao, a pair of highly lucrative fights in 2015 would be an ideal way to leave the sport. Still, casting himself in the hero role, Pacquiao insists he fights for the fans and his legacy, not the money.
"Mayweather can get the amount he wants. As early as January this year, I challenged him to a charity fight. Until now, he has not agreed to it. So, money is not the issue in our fight," he said.
"This fight is about legacy, this is about making the fans happy and, above all, this is for the good of boxing."