Floyd Mayweather just keeps taking shots at Manny Pacquiao, and the Filipino responded by asking for a highly-coveted rematch between the two boxing superstars.
The 40-year-old Pacquiao wrote another improbable chapter in his glittering career on Saturday, with an age-defying split decision victory over the hitherto unbeaten Keith Thurman.
Pacquiao, a full decade older than the 30-year-old Thurman, rolled back the years with a vintage performance that had a sold out crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena roaring in delight.
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That sort of win, and the hype that surrounded it, led many to call for a rematch between Pacquiao and Mayweather — the American winning the last bout — so ‘Money’ made his stance on the issue clear by accusing his rival of hanging on his coat-tails.
“I find it real ironic how every time Pacquiao’s name is brought up in the media, my name is always attached to it,” Mayweather said on Wednesday.
“This man’s entire legacy and career has been built off its association with my name and it’s about time you all stop using my brand for clout chasing and clickbait and let that man’s name hold weight of its own.
“For years, all you heard was that ‘Floyd is afraid of Manny Pacquiao.’ But what’s funny is, when we finally fought, I won so easily that everyone had to eat their words! All of the so called boxing experts, critics and jealous American ‘fan base’ either went mute and ran for cover or made every excuse in the world as to why I should give Manny Pacquiao a rematch.
“My take on all this bullsh*t is that y’all are just upset that I broke Rocky Marciano’s record and hate the fact that a black, high school dropout outsmarted you all by beating all odds and retiring undefeated while maintaining all my faculties simply by making smart choices and even smarter investments. Ultimately, I will always have the last laugh!”
It didn’t take long for Pacquiao to reply, claiming Mayweather uses his name to remain relevant after retirement, before asking for #MayPac2.
The question of a rematch of his 2015 “Fight of the Century” against Mayweather has lingered for some time.
Mayweather, who was at ringside to watch Pacquiao’s masterclass on Sunday, remains firmly retired, and has not fought since his cross-combat spectacle with mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor nearly two years ago.
Leonard Ellerbe, the chief executive of Mayweather Promotions and a close confidante, said last week Mayweather has “zero interest” in a second Pacquiao fight. Whether that interest could be piqued by the prospect of a gargantuan payday remains to be seen.
Pacquiao, whose departure from Las Vegas for the Philippines was delayed until 6pm (0100 GMT) on Sunday as a precaution, suggested he will not fight again this year.
Long-time trainer Freddie Roach, meanwhile, told AFP that Pacquiao’s camp would take their time before choosing their next opponent.
“Someone just asked me ‘What’s next?’,” Roach said. “Well, you know what? We don’t need to think about what’s next for a while.
“Manny can go away and rest and we’ll think about it later on. We need to see what’s out there.”
Roach acknowledged however that he thinks a Mayweather sequel is unlikely to happen.
“I can’t see it,” Roach said. “Floyd’s retired and his people say there is no interest. But there will be other options.”
Roach, his usual calming presence in Pacquiao’s corner, was left reflecting on his fighter’s astounding energy levels.
“Manny never gets tired in the gym, but he got tired in the middle rounds tonight,” Roach told AFP. “I was keeping a close eye on it. But Manny is so fit he got through it and finished strong.
“I think he showed tonight that there’s plenty of boxing left in him, even if he is in his 40s.”