MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao has long garnered a reputation for passivity in dealing with taunts from his opponents out of the ring, preferring to offer prayers for his tormenters than retorts.
Yet after Floyd Mayweather Jr. took to FightHype.com to refer to Pacquiao as a "desperate dog" begging for a fight to relieve his tax issues, the former eight-division champion Pacquiao unleashed his first unrestrained verbal assault at the current consensus pound-for-pound best boxer.
"[Mayweather] is just a coward, insecure and [envious of] my accomplishments," Pacquiao said in an interview with The Manila Times via a DZAR Sunshine Radio phone patch on Thursday night. "I don't like to bite his gimmicks and I just want to understand him, although it's too much.
"But I'm really thankful that he always remember me in some ways."
The Sarangani province congressman Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts) of General Santos City is coming off a dominant points victory over Brandon Rios, which proceeded a year of inactivity following a points loss to Timothy Bradley and a sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) of Las Vegas, Nev. currently holds the WBC junior middleweight and welterweight titles, the latter of which Pacquiao has been named the mandatory challenger for.
Mayweather told FightHype in a video interview that he’d rather vacate the title than be forced into a bout with Pacquiao. "You gotta realize this, everybody kept talking about the title, he's the mandatory. He can have the belt. A belt doesn't make me."
A potential fight between Pacquiao, 35, and Mayweather, 36, has been the most clamored for matchup in boxing since Mayweather returned from a 21-month retirement in 2009. By that time Pacquiao had inherited the throne as boxing's most celebrated fighter, a title which Mayweather never took back in the ring but earned by default after Pacquiao's defeats.
Regarding the possibility of a fight with Pacquiao, Mayweather told Ben Thompson of FightHype "all the cards are in my hand," adding that he had offered Pacquiao a flat-fee of $40 million to fight. Mayweather continued that Pacquiao had rejected the offer and instead insisted on parity.
"He's got 68 million problems and he wants me to solve them," said Mayweather, who has won titles in five weight divisions, in reference to the reported $50 million Pacquiao owes in the Philippines and $18 million owed in the US.
Mayweather had said that he would only consider a fight with Pacquiao if he left his promotional company Top Rank, which Mayweather left a decade ago under acrimonious terms. Pacquiao feels that Mayweather is using that as an excuse to avoid fighting him.
“Top Rank already allowed us to directly negotiate with [Mayweather] before but they never communicated with us,” said Pacquiao. “Mayweather Jr. is saying a lot of negative things against me but he doesn’t like to fight.
“We will consider everything but until now, they don’t like to fight. At the same time, people are saying the fight between us needs a trilogy, but how can it be possible if he’s not going to fight me first?"
Pacquiao is scheduled to fight on April 12, with the shortlist of opponents being narrowed to Bradley and WBO junior welterweight titleholder Ruslan Provodnikov.
Mayweather's next fight is scheduled for May 3, with former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan and WBA welterweight titleholder Marcos Maidana being the frontrunners to get the call. - Rappler.com