BOXING: Mayweather to take on Pacquiao at last

American ‘pound-for-pound‘ king of the boxing ring Floyd Mayweather Jr. has announced that after a two-year wait, he will finally face up to rival Manny Pacquiao, the U.S. sports news network ESPN reports. Fans of the heavyweight have long wanted him to clash with the Filipino, but Mayweather had been putting off the chance of a match between the two legends until yesterday night due to collapsed negotiations and busy fighting schedules.

During a televised interview with the Showtime boxing channel held in the Texan city of San Antonio, Mayweather announced that he will insist on sparring with Pacquiao in his next bout. He plans to schedule the fight for the May 2 weekend next year and it will occur around the same time as the Cinco de Mayo Mexican festival, a time when Mayweather has some of his biggest and most prestigious fights.

We are ready. Let’s make it happen. May 2. Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. Let’s do it,” Mayweather said in that interview last night as he threw down a challenge to square up to Pacquiao and as his promotional company was doing the rounds in promoting their star fighter for the next stage in the boxing season.

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Manny Pacquiao, who is also a politician and actor in his native country, had recently disposed of Chris Algieri six times over in a ‘near-shutout decision’ on the 22nd of November. That victory helped Pacquiao retain his welterweight title belt and the athlete has now once again turned his attention to his nemesis Mayweather. Pacquiao appeared recently in an advert by sportswear retailer Foot Locker alongside Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, where he launched a ‘verbal offensive’ to turn up the heat on the American and get them trading blows at last. Pacquiao used the opportunity to mock Mayweather for being reluctant to accept the challenge up until now and Mayweather’s army of fans have also being applying pressure on the Grand Rapids-born superstar to make happen what many describe as the boxing match of the century, according to ESPN.

Boxing fans have been clamouring for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight since 2009 and several negotiations between the two camps have taken place over the last five years, but with no success. One group of meetings between the two boxers that took place over 2009 and 2010 involved a compulsory drug-testing formality as part of the proceedings but the talks were scuppered and not much has happened since until last Friday and Mayweather’s spectacularly determined response.

I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao. We tried to make the fight happen years ago; we had problems with random blood and urine testing. “I just want to be on an even playing field. Now he’s in a very, very tight situation. He’s lost to [Juan Manuel] Marquez [in 2012], he’s lost to [Timothy] Bradley [by controversial decision in 2012 but avenged it in April]. Pay-per-view numbers are extremely low. He’s desperate. I wanted that fight a long time ago. I’m just waiting on them.” Mayweather explained to ESPN.

Floyd Mayweather is not ducking or dodging any opponent. Bob Arum is stopping the fight. We have been trying to make this fight happen behind the scenes for years now, but the fans and the people have been fooled because they have been listening to people just on one side. Now it’s time for us to talk. We want the fight.”

Asked about his chief motivation for now wanting to take on Pacquiao, Mayweather told ESPN, “I know that he’s not on my level. The fans would love to see the fight. And, of course, I want to go out with a bang.” He then addressed Pacquiao and his manager directly.

So let’s make this fight happen. Manny Pacquiao, Bob Arum, you guys have been ducking us for years,” Mayweather said. “We’re tired of you guys fooling the public, fooling the critics. You guys didn’t want to take random blood and urine testing, so that’s why it didn’t happen. Then I offered you $40 million, then you didn’t want to make the fight happen. You lost twice, now you coming back begging for the same money. That’s not gonna happen. Let’s make the fight happen for the people and the fans. Mayweather versus Pacquiao, May 2nd, Cinco de Mayweather.”

A video of the interview can be found at the ESPN site. A link is provided in the Sources section underneath this article.

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“Mayweather calls out Pacquiao” – Dan Rafael, ESPN Boxing/ Internet Ventures (13 December 2014)
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