MACAU — Manny Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach revealed they are already preparing for the fight boxing craves more than any other – a mouthwatering showdown against pound-for-pound No.1 Floyd Mayweather.
After dismantling out-matched opponent Chris Algieri with a unanimous points decision that included six knockdowns at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in the early hours of Sunday, the Pacquiao camp made their strongest statements yet on the matter, all aimed directly in Mayweather’s direction.
“People can prepare for (a fight) early next year,” Pacquiao said. “It is a fight that I want. It is a fight the fans deserve.”
Less than an hour after Pacquiao’s resounding victory over Algieri, the Filipino 35-year-old and his advisers revealed a series of fresh pieces of information that painted the picture that a Mayweather fight is closer than the public had dared to imagine.
Roach, the mercurial trainer who has played a major role in masterminding his ascent to the top of the sport, also seems to have played a surprising role on the promotional side that could make the difference in the previously-doomed super fight happening.
Around four months ago, Roach was a central figure in setting up a meeting between Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum and CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who controls the Showtime network, with whom Mayweather is four fights into a six-bout deal worth $250 million.
Since then, Arum and Moonves, who had had previously frosty relations for several years, have held advanced discussions about Pacquiao and Mayweather squaring off.
Asked if he trusted Mayweather, Arum replied, “No”, before adding “but I trust Les Moonves. For the head of CBS to spend that much time on something would be counter-productive if it was (nonsense).”
According to Roach, Arum has told him that a deal will get done, prompting the trainer to have already starting watching tape on Mayweather in order to get ready for a fight with the 37-year-old American. Roach originally analyzed Mayweather back in 2009, when it appeared the pair would meet before talks collapsed.
Mayweather has been steadfastly reluctant to fight Pacquiao and the biggest stumbling block remaining will be to convince him to sign on the line. However, Moonves may be the deciding factor, with the political weight in the fight game and the financial power he carries.
If this proves to be yet another false dawn ahead of another contractual collapse it would be a devastating blow for boxing. Mayweather and Pacquiao are the two dominant fighters of their generation and even if both are slightly past their peak, the matchup would still be hugely anticipated.
“If boxing is to be considered a major sport the fight has to happen,” Arum said. “All the nonsense has to cease. Everyone should work together to make that fight happen. There are no excuses any more. I will be at the phone. We are ready.”
Arum says the fight would gross in excess of $200 million, meaning Mayweather could pocket more than $80 million, far above his previous high of $41.5 million for fighting Canelo Alvarez.
“It would be a very challenging fight. He would be the best we have ever faced. I will really have to do my homework. I love Manny (to win) that fight and I look forward to getting him ready for it.”
Roach, even with his own preparations underway, still feels Mayweather could need a nudge in the right direction, prompting him to kick the trash-talking into gear already.
“It will haunt them forever if it doesn’t happen,” Roach added. “They will always be in a conversation and someone will say ‘why didn’t you fight him?’ Maybe calling (Mayweather) out, calling him chicken, we will embarrass him into it.”