Nearly every boxing fan seems to want a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather megafight.
In a recent interview, Pacquiao made it abundantly clear he does too.
I've said this over and over before and I'm saying this again: I want Floyd Mayweather Jr. to be my next opponent and I haven't changed my choice despite recent developments, Pacquiao told PhilBoxing.com.
The welterweight landscape has been in relative upheaval over the past few months, due to action in and out of the ring. The main story has been Mayweather's legal troubles, and his recent guilty plea to domestic violence.
Last week, a Las Vegas judge ruled that Mayweather could serve his 90-day jail sentence on June 1, which is weeks after he has a scheduled fight reserved at the MGM Grand.
With Mayweather about to serve roughly three months in prison, this might be his best opportunity to fight Pacquiao. After his jail time, he will likely need additional time to prepare for his following bout, and Pacquiao has already stated that he could retire from boxing at the end of the year to pursue other interests.
As Mayweather's May 5 fight date looms, this might be the last chance for a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao bout. These are the two most prominent boxers in the world, and there has been consistent chatter back and forth from both camps, and many boxing experts have grown exhausted by discussion of steroids, and dodging.
There is a matter of venue, as well. Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has stated that he would want the fight in a bigger venue than the MGM Grand, such as Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. But Pacquiao plans on meeting with Arum on Tuesday to make a fight with Mayweather a priority, and would probably disregard a venue holding up a fight.
Whoever the fans want me to fight, I will face him atop the ring, said Pacquiao. I don't choose the fight. It is my promoter who does because it's his job. My job is to fight, everybody must realize that.
Both Mayweather and Pacquiao are coming off rather controversial fights.
In September, Mayweather immediately knocked out Victor Ortiz following referee Joe Cortez's restart after a stoppage of action in the fourth round. Ortiz had previously lunged at Mayweather with a headbutt, and was deducted a point by Cortez. Mayweather's response was to pounce on Ortiz with a pair of knockout punches just barely after Cortez had the fight resume.
Many thought Mayweather's decision to fight Ortiz, who uses a southpaw stance, was a tuneup for Pacquiao, who is also a southpaw.
In November, Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez in what was expected to be the final installment of a trilogy. Pacquiao was the heavy favorite, but Marquez put up a strong showing in a very even fight. The judges gave Pacquiao the majority-decision victory to improve his record against Marquez to two wins and one draw.
Marquez and his camp were infuriated with the decision, and felt they were denied a victory for the third-straight time. It is very possible that Marquez, 38, will not accept another fight with Pacquiao.
Meanwhile, another top contender who hovers around the welterweight class also saw his stock drop. British boxer Amir Khan lost a split decision to Lamont Peterson in Washington, D.C., in December, and will likely face a rematch with Peterson instead of a potential marquee bout with either Mayweather or Pacquiao.
There are two other contenders to fight either Pacquiao or Mayweather. Light welterweight champion Tim Bradley is undefeated after 28 wins, and is considered among the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
Miguel Cotto, who won a convincing fight against Antonio Margarito and also defeated Ricardo Mayorga, is also a possibility. In November 2009, Pacquiao defeated Cotto with a technical knockout in the 12th round.