Manny Pacquiao hit snowy New York on Wednesday to make the rounds promoting his April 12 (HBO PPV) rematch with welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley, who picked up the title thanks to one of the most controversial split decisions in boxing history in June 2012.
Pacquiao and Bradley are trying to build interest in the rematch of that infamous fight, spending Monday taping their “Face Off with Max Kellerman” for HBO, then meeting the media in Beverly Hills, Calif., for a formal news conference on Tuesday with another one in New York on Thursday.
On Wednesday in New York, Pacquiao did a slew of interviews and even attended the Knicks game, where he met star scorer Carmelo Anthony for a photo opportunity. But it was Pacquiao’s final appearance of the busy day, an interview on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN show “Olbermann,” that was perhaps the most interesting.
Olbermann conducted a fine interview, covering the bases on the rematch with Bradley and also touching on Pacquiao’s political career as a congressman in the Philippines. And then Olbermann told Pacquiao that he had saved his questions about a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the end so that it would not dominate the rest of their conversation.
“Are you gonna fight Floyd Mayweather at some point?” Olbermann asked.
It’s the question Pacquiao -- and Mayweather -- has heard probably on a daily basis since sometime in mid-2009.
“I want that fight but it’s up to him,” Pacquiao said. “What I can say now is that our line is open 24 hours, seven days a week. If he will call and say ‘yes’ then the fight [will happen].”
Since late 2009, the sides have not been able to reach a deal, despite at least two rounds of negotiations. Both sides have deserved their share of blame at various times, although Mayweather’s outlandish financial demands made the last real discussion about the fight a non-starter.
Now Pacquiao is promoting the Bradley rematch and, as always happens, no matter who he or Mayweather are fighting, they are asked about each other. You can count on Mayweather being asked about Pacquiao at some point when he begins promoting his May 3 fight against an opponent that still has not been determined (although Mayweather is running a fan poll on social media in which he claims he will fight who the fans pick, either Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana).
“He doesn't want to do it?” Olbermann asked Pacquiao of Mayweather.
“That’s what I believe,” Pacquiao said. “Thousands, millions of fans are waiting for that fight and been asking me many questions about when will that fight happen. I tell them I am willing to fight him any time but the problem is him. Many alibis.
“[Operators are] standing by 24 hours, seven days a week.”
They shouldn’t hold their breath for Mayweather’s call.