MANILA, Philippines - In recent weeks, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has taunted Manny Pacquiao, accusing Pacman of seeking a big money mega fight to alleviate his tax problems.
Pacquiao's counter? Forget the purse, let's fight for charity.
The former eight-division world champion from General Santos City, Philippines has challenged "Money" Mayweather to a fight for the right to call one's self the best of this generation, with all proceeds to benefit various charities around the world.
“I’m not desperate to fight him just for the sake of money or material things," said Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts), in an interview with Inquirer.net. "I’m not the one seeking this fight rather it’s the boxing fans all over the world.
"Above all, I challenge him to include in our fight contract that both of us will not receive anything out of this fight. We will donate all the proceeds of the fight – guaranteed prize, should there be any, gate receipts, pay-per-view and endorsements – to charities around the world,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao, 35, who serves as a congressman in the Sarangani province, continued that he would "submit myself to any kind of stringent drug testing." The issue of random drug testing in addition to the more lax standards of the standard boxing commission requirements was brought to the forefront in 2009 when Pacquiao and Mayweather first began discussing their potential summit meeting.
Mayweather, 36, of Las Vegas, Nev. has been aligned with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), while Pacquiao finally joined the fray of random testing in his most recent fight against Brandon Rios, utilizing the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency's (VADA) testing.
VADA has been responsible for catching several big-name fighters in performance-enhancing drug violations, including former champions Lamont Peterson and Andre Berto.
Mayweather, who is in South Africa on a publicity tour, has repeatedly assailed Pacquiao's reputation, calling him a "desperate dog" looking for a bone, while accusing him of pricing himself out of a potential fight.
"I offered Manny Pacquiao the fight before. We didn't see eye to eye on terms, as far as with random blood and urine testing," said Mayweather at a press conference in South Africa on Thursday. "Years later, we come back and I try and make the fight happen again. I offer him $40 million. He said he wanted 50-50. So we didn't make the fight happen.
"Manny Pacquiao all of a sudden, he loses to Timothy Bradley, he loses to [Juan Manuel] Marquez. He has tax problems now. So, two losses and tax problems later, now he all of a sudden want to say, 'You know what? I'd do anything to make the fight happen,' when he's really saying, 'Floyd, can you help me solve my tax problems, get me out of debt?'"
Pacquiao acknowledged that he has a tax problem, which has reportedly been measured at roughly $68 million in both the Philippines and United States, but assures that his lawyers are working to rehabilitate the situation.
"I’m paying my taxes religiously," said Pacquiao. "It is just a matter of reconciling our records with the tax agencies both here and abroad. Should there be any discrepancy, rest assured, I will settle it. I’m a lawmaker and I’m a law-abiding citizen."
Following the decision loss to Timothy Bradley and sixth-round knockout defeat to Marquez, Pacquiao rebounded with a dominant decision win over former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios in November.
Pacquiao is scheduled for an April 12 date against either Bradley or WBO junior welterweight titleholder Ruslan Provodnikov, while Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) is looking at a May 3 date in Las Vegas against WBA welterweight titleholder Marcos Maidana or former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan.
Pacquiao, who called Mayweather an envious "coward" last week, issued one final challenge, raising the stakes and bringing his manhood into question.
“Floyd, if you’re a real man, fight me," said Pacquiao. "Let’s do it for the love of boxing and for the fans. Let’s do it not for the sake of money. Let’s make the boxing fans happy.
“The only way he can avoid facing me in the ring is to retire from boxing." - Rappler.com
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.