Manny Pacquiao claimed just last week to be negotiating with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to stage a rematch of their May 2 megafight — a fight that turned out to shatter all records for the biggest moneymaking boxing event of all time. But now Pacquiao is taking back that claim, throwing cold water on hopes for a second, and boxing fans hope, more action-packed encounter between the two fighters who were considered boxing’s pound-for-pound kings.
At the same time, Pacquiao appears to have lost a potential opponent for what the 36-year-old says will likely be his final appearance in a boxing ring, as British superstar and former world champions Amir Khan — who has been publicly lobbying for a fight with either Pacquiao or Mayweather for the past two years — now says that he will no longer negotiate with the Philippines-based champion.
“I’m really disappointed in Manny and his team. They aren’t playing ball,” Khan told the United Arab Emirates-based English-language newspaper The National. “All that was left to do is to sign the contract. But they are stalling. I have pulled out of the negotiations. I am no longer fighting Manny Pacquiao.”
The 31-3 Khan claims that he has been told three different times that Mayweather would fight him, only have the undefeated American move on to other opponents. Now he claims that his other preferred opponent, Manny Pacquiao, is avoiding him as well.
“They know I am a tricky fight for him and they know I will beat him,” Khan told the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper. “Or else, why pull out of a fight when there is a lot of money on the table? I don’t really know if Mayweather is fighting Pacquiao again. It is a possible reason for him to stall on signing the contract, but I don’t really know.”
But is Pacquiao gearing up to fight Mayweather one more time?
While Mayweather is currently in a self-proclaimed retirement, most boxing experts firmly believe that the lure of one more payday, a fight in which he could break Rocky Marciano’s record and finish his career at an unbeaten 50-0, will be too great for Mayweather to ultimately resist — especially because Mayweather has declared himself “retired” three times in the past decade, only to step back in the ring — and make more money than ever.
Last week, Pacquiao appeared to say that he was already talking to Mayweather’s camp about setting up a rematch between the two, after Mayweather easily outpointed a strangely passive Pacquiao on their May 2 bout.
But this week, Manny Pacquiao — who is also a recording artist among his many non-boxing pursuits — was singing a different tune.
“No, I didn’t talk to him (i.e. Mayweather),” Pacquiao said over the weekend. “But I did talk to Bob.”
Bob, of course, is Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum — and Arum also dismissed talks of a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather rematch, saying that there simply isn’t enough time to make the fight happen.
“He would like to fight Mayweather, but since this is his last fight, and looking at where we are on time, I told him he needs to forget about it and move on,” Arum told Los Angeles Times boxing correspondent Lance Pugmire on Tuesday.
Arum also expressed bewilderment at Khan’s declaration that he had “pulled out” of negotiations with Pacquiao.
“Nobody can figure out why [Khan] is saying that,” Arum told The Los Angeles Times. “I’ve spoken to his attorney, Robert Davis, and we’re going back and forth on the numbers. The kid talks too much. It’s probably why he lost the Mayweather fight. If there’s no contract to sign, who’s stalling who?”
While Floyd Mawyeather declared his unheralded September 12 bout against Andre Berto to be his final fight, Manny Pacquiao says he wants to fight one more time before running for senate in the Philippines — a job that, if elected, will preclude any further boxing, he says.
[Featured Image: Jamie Squire / Getty Images]