It wasn’t Manny Pacquiao’s first response to Floyd Mayweather Jr., but this was definitely on a bigger stage. In front of a crowd salivating for something, anything related to a possible Pacquiao vs. Mayweather dream fight, the Filipino superstar finally gave reporters the comment they were hoping for – a direct retort to Mayweather proclaiming “Manny Pacquiao, yes, you’re next” two months earlier.
And then, shortly after that, he said something very interesting.
“I’m here,” Pacquiao responded plainly (as recounted by Rich Mazon of PhilBoxing.com), making it clear that he had no intentions of ducking the elephant in the room.
Sure, theoretically everyone was there to hear Pacquiao jazz up and sell his upcoming November bout again Juan Manuel Marquez, but in reality, only one thing was on everyone’s mind. In front of countless members of the press at Chelsea Piers, the Filipino star calmly and coolly addressed where things stood between him and his arch rival.
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"I know he is preparing to fight me because he got a southpaw opponent for his next fight," Pacquiao said, alluding to Mayweather’s coming September match against Victor Ortiz.
Many boxing spectators have noted that this is likely Mayweather’s version of a tune-up to the main event, but given all of the collasal letdowns that have occurred relating to the potential Pacquiao v. Mayweather megafight up to this point, nobody wants to get their hopes up.
Apparently, though, there is another bump in the road en route to that match happening.
"I think the problem why the fight isn't happening, is because he is asking for big money, for a big purse for the fight which is hard for the promoters to give him."
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And therein lies the problem.
About a month earlier, Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum famously said that money was no longer a sticking point in negotiations with Mayweather. He emphasized that the only thing that was preventing a match against their undefeated rival was a distrust of the USADA.
"There are no issues on that," Arum told Michael Marley from the Examiner, after being asked if money was a wrench in the negotiating process at this point. "The split is 50-50 on everything.”
This sentiment, obviously, serves in stark contrast to what Pacquiao said on Tuesday. Did Mayweather suddenly decide to change his mind and demand more money over the last few weeks? Was Arum lying in previous interviews? Could Pacquiao be out of the loop on negotiations, making them even less formal than we may have previously anticipated?
Nevertheless, the odd contradictions aside, Pacquiao wasn’t even sure that Mayweather could survive a bout against Ortiz.
"He cannot underestimate Ortiz because Ortiz is strong and a heavy puncher. There is a big chance for Ortiz to win the fight."
Once Mayweather whips Ortiz and Pacquiao handily defeats Marquez, it will be interesting to see where the pair’s dream fight stands.