LAS VEGAS -- Ever since Manny Pacquiao knocked out a faded, smaller Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Malaysia, there has been chatter about a possible rematch between the Pacman and Floyd Mayweather.
Idle chatter, many thought, about a fight for which there is little intrigue and no particular popular demand because after they denied us the fight for five years before finally meeting in 2015, it was a massive dud. Not commercially, mind you. The fight remains the biggest money event in combat sports history, generating more than $600 million.
Critically, however, the fight was universally panned. It was awful. There was little action and no drama. It was more business transaction than competition. In the end, Mayweather won easily and brilliantly outboxed Pacquiao to the tune of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 scores to unify welterweight world titles.
But it was a massive disappointment considering the gargantuan buildup, after which Pacquiao claimed he went into the fight with a shoulder injury, and the promoters wound up getting sued for hiding the injury.
But, hey, at least the fight happened. We all wanted it. We needed it. We needed it for closure and to determine once and for all the best fighter of the era. It was clearly Mayweather, who wiped Pacquiao out so easily there wasn't even a remote call for a rematch at the time.
Mayweather then finished his Showtime contract with a massive mismatch win over Andre Berto four months later and retired -- healthy, wealthy and wise.
Of course, this is boxing, and he returned 13 months ago for the all-time cash grab (who could blame him?) to knock out UFC superstar Conor McGregor in the 10th round of McGregor's boxing debut. Mayweather, now a beautiful 50-0 and with another $200 million or so payday in his pocket, retired again, this time apparently for good.
So while Pacquiao, who blew all his money, continued to fight -- including his controversial July 2017 loss to Jeff Horn, an opponent he would have utterly destroyed in his better days -- Mayweather seemed content in retirement flying around the world, spending his riches and posting photos of his exotic lifestyle on social media.
But, alas, this is boxing, where retirements are as fluid as your favorite beverage. That became readily apparent on Saturday morning.
Mayweather, who loves the spotlight probably even more than his money, was in Tokyo when he posted this message on his Instagram account: "I'm coming back to fight Manny Pacquiao this year. Another 9 figure pay day on the way."
OK, then. Although Mayweather provided no date (he mentioned December in the video) or site, I can't say the rematch shocks me at all, although it was not lost on me that Mayweather, who met with Pacquiao while in Tokyo, just so happened to make the announcement on the morning of the biggest fight of the year, the rematch between unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. That's the fight I am interested in and the reason I've been in Vegas most of the week.
It's the same old tired playbook from Mayweather, who has put out news on major fight days not his own to obviously try to steal some of the spotlight he loves so much. It's not a good look.
As for the rematch itself, yawn. We saw it once, and it was no good. Mayweather won easily, proved his point against a Pacquiao who continues to fight well beyond his best days as boxing's most ferocious destroyer.
I get why Mayweather, 41, wants the rematch. It's not dangerous. He will win handily, go to 51-0 and make another gargantuan pile of money. Besides, he's a boxer. It's all he has ever known. There are only so many private-jet trips you can make to a tropical location before you get bored.
Pacquiao, who is 39, still fights because he needs the money. That senator's salary in the Philippines doesn't cover his lifestyle, which, to be fair, includes spending tons of his money on charitable causes. But he also owes tens of millions of dollars to the IRS and lost money on the Matthysse fight he largely bankrolled. He can make another big pile of much-needed cash against Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs), who will defeat him but won't hurt him.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) played along with Mayweather, to no surprise, posting a video of their night club meeting with the message "50-1 #NoExcuses."
So predictable, like everything about this possible fight.
If people are interested, fine, but it's hard for me to get too excited about a rematch. No knock on Floyd or Manny. They've been great fighters and put on some of the biggest events in boxing history, and if they can make a buck with each other, who am I to argue?
It's just that we couldn't get them to fight when we really wanted them to, and now they want to fight when not nearly as many really want them to.
They'll make their money, though. Even if the rematch does a third of the business of the first fight, it would still generate more than $200 million. Not bad, right?
The first fight sold a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys in a joint venture between Showtime and HBO. A rematch won't sniff that number, but because there are those who know the names, because people like nostalgia and because Mayweather and Pacquiao are superstars, it will do business and probably sell about 2 million buys.
It'll be like when your favorite '80s band heads out on tour to play the old hits: a nice diversion and a decent night out with your pals, but in the end, it doesn't mean much.