Pacquiao confident that Mayweather fight will be finalized this month
MANILA, Philippines - A bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. remains the most talked about non-fight in boxing history, but recent reports suggest that the superfight could soon be on the calendar for 2015.
Pacquiao, speaking with reporter Ronnie Nathanielsz, says he believes a bout between himself and The Ring magazine’s pound-for-pound best fighter in the world Mayweather could be announced “before the end of the month.
"I think it will happen," the 8-division champion added.
The bout, which has been tossed around since Mayweather returned from a brief retirement in 2009, had been nixed in the past due to disagreements over drug testing and purse splits, but a Los Angeles Times report on January 9 raised hopes that past hurdles have been eliminated.
The report, which cites an unnamed "boxing authority involved in the talks," says that Mayweather is seeking a 60-40 purse split in his favor, which comes a month after Pacquiao told a newswire “Mayweather can get the amount he wants.”
Both sides have also reportedly reached an agreement on the fight taking place at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Mayweather’s preferred date of May 2 while a protocol for random pre-fight drug testing is in the works.
An arrangement would also have to be made between the premium cable network HBO, which Pacquiao is aligned with, and Mayweather's Showtime. The rival networks had worked together in 2002 to make the heavyweight championship bout between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson happen, with HBO's Lewis winning by knockout.
Pacquiao is being kept abreast of negotiations, which are being handled on his side by promoter Top Rank, by adviser Michael Koncz.
Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) is coming off two decision victories over Marcos Maidana in 2014 while Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) restored his image as a top force in the sport by avenging his loss to Timothy Bradley and dropping Chris Algieri six times en route to a decision win.
Mayweather has been linked to discussions about a possible rematch with middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, whom he defeated in 2012, as well as former 140 pound titleholder Amir Khan of the United Kingdom.
Pacquiao’s backup options aren’t nearly as attractive, as relative upstart WBA junior welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas is seen as the Filipino fighter’s Plan B.
A fight with undefeated RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia seems out of the plans after a settlement between promoter Golden Boy Promotions declared Garcia to be under the management of manager Al Haymon, who also handles Mayweather.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said in a recent interview with The Ring magazine that he feels the much-delayed fight is closer than ever, but cautions that he isn’t privy to negotiations.
“Everything sounds good out there. [Top Rank] are the inside guys, they know a lot more than me. I hope it happens as much as everyone else in the world,” said Roach, a 6-time BWAA Trainer of the Year. - Rappler.com