After welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao demolished Chris Algieri to retain his welterweight title with ease as he scored six knockdowns in a landslide decision win on Saturday night at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in Macau, (Sunday morning Macau time), Pacquiao and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum made it clear who they want next.
Pound-for-pound king and fellow welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It’s the fight the world has wanted to see since a deal fell apart in 2010. Since then there have been other aborted attempts to make the fight, with both camps shouldering blame. It has been a saga never before seen in boxing, where money talks, and what will undoubtedly be the richest fight in history remains unmade.
But Pacquiao, who has said he wants the fight but deferred to Arum, was outspoken about his desire for the fight during the lead up to his bout with Algieri. After the fight, Pacquiao spoke in his strongest language yet about wanting it.
“The people deserve that fight. The fans deserve that fight,” Pacquiao said at the postfight news conference. “It’s time to make that fight happen. It’s been a long time. I want that fight. They’re always denying the fight. I think the fight has to happen.”
For it to happen, CBS/Showtime, which has Mayweather under contract, and Time Warner/HBO, which has Pacquiao under contract, would have to come together for a joint pay-per-view broadcast. They did it once before, in 2002, for another long-anticipated fight between HBO’s then-heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Showtime’s Mike Tyson. Both were near the end of their careers, and their showdown was the highest-grossing fight in boxing history (at the time).
Arum claims there are talks going on behind the scenes with CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves (a longtime Arum associate) and HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler.
Of course, everyone still needs Mayweather to agree, and he has been reluctant.
So what will it take?
“To answer the telephone. Simple as that,” Arum, who has been one of the impediments in the past, said at the postfight news conference. “I think that fight should happen. I think the boxing fans deserve that fight. if boxing is to be considered a major sport, the fight has to happen and all the nonsense has to cease.
“Everyone should work together to make it happen. There are no more excuses. None. I’ll be by my phone, Manny will be by his phone. We’re ready.”
So what has finally changed?
“We’re tired. Everywhere we go they ask when is it going to happen? When are they going to fight?” Arum said. “I say enough is enough. Just make the fight happen. Let’s get it done and let’s get it done the next fight for each fighter, sometime in the first six months of next year.”