Answering critics and boxing fans who have accused him of avoiding Manny Pacquiao, undefeated champion Floyd Mayweather called out the Filipino star in an interview with Showtime Boxing Friday.
The 37-year-old Mayweather emphatically stated he wanted to fight Pacquiao, and even threw out a date of May 2 of next year. He also flipped the criticism onto Pacquiao, accusing him of “ducking” the matchup for years.
As of now, the date works for both fighters, since neither has publicly announced their next bouts.
Negotiations for the long awaited super fight have reportedly taken place in recent weeks, but as early as last week, a source told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix that Mayweather desired a two-thirds split of a purse that could exceed $200 million.
A promoter in the Middle East is also trying to host the fight in Abu Dhabi, and he was reportedly willing to offer Mayweather $110 million, with the rest of the $200 million going to Pacquiao.
“Oh absolutely, I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said. “We tried to make the fight happen years ago. We had problems with random blood and urine testing. Like I said I just want to be on even playing field.”
Back in 2011, negotiations for the fight were stalled after Mayweather insisted on random drug testing. Pacquiao would later file a defamation of character lawsuit against Mayweather.
Citing Pacquiao’s losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and his recently poor pay-per-view numbers, Mayweather called Pacquiao “desperate.”
He also accused Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum of getting in the way of a fight fans have anticipated for more than a decade.
“Floyd Mayweather is not ducking or dodging any opponent,” he continued. “Bob Arum is stopping the fight. We have been trying to make this fight happen for years now behind the scenes. The fans and the people have been fooled, because they have been listening to people on one side.”
Mayweather also insisted that Showtime air the fight, a sticking point that could prolong talks. Pacquiao signed a two-year extension with Arum’s Top Rank and partner HBO back in May that guaranteed at least four more fights through 2016.
See the full interview below.