LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – The prospect of a long awaited mega-bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao may have receded in recent years but promoter Bob Arum believes the fight will take place, most likely before the end of 2016.
A duel between the defence-minded Mayweather and the aggressive Pacquiao, the biggest drawcards of their generation, has long been savoured by boxing fans, if only to decide the mythical title of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
Filipino Pacquiao lost much of his appeal after successive defeats to American Timothy Bradley and Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, prompting talk of his possible retirement, though he has since bounced back with two impressive wins.
“I think that fight will eventually happen,” Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, told Reuters on Thursday in a telephone interview. “We are certainly open to the fight happening and we are prepared to sit down with (the Mayweather team) at any time and work out terms.”
Five-division world champion Mayweather, who is known for his shrewd business acumen, had been expected to meet Pacquiao in 2010 until negotiations collapsed over the American’s demand for random drug testing.
Mayweather, who has hinted at illegal methods by often questioning how Pacquiao could have won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight classes, has since said he would not fight the Filipino as long as Arum is his promoter.
Veteran Arum, however, has his own theory about that.
“Frankly, it’s the same as it always was,” said the 82-year-old promoter, who has worked with giants of the ring such as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.
“The idea that Mayweather says, ‘Well, I’m not going to fight Pacquiao because Bob Arum is involved,’ is the latest is in a whole line of excuses.