Superstar Manny Pacquiao, whose contract with promoter Top Rank was due to expire at the end of the year, signed an extension with the company Tuesday, perhaps killing any hopes of a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. during the term of the deal.
The two-year agreement, announced by Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, extends Pacquiao's pact with the promoter through Dec. 31, 2016. The deal is also with Pacquiao's MP Promotions, which co-promotes his fights.
"We are pleased that together with our partners at HBO we will continue presenting to the public fights of the great Manny Pacquiao through the end of 2016," Arum said. "The partnership among Manny, Top Rank, MP Promotions and HBO has been a wonderful one for all parties and for the public and it's great that it will continue for the years to come."
The new deal means Pacquiao will likely have at least five more fights, one this year to finish the existing contract and two in 2015 and two in 2016 under the new agreement.
"We've been doing two fights a year so we'll continue to do two fights a year," Arum said.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Arum likely paid Pacquiao a substantial signing bonus but declined to comment on that.
"I can't talk about the contract terms, only the length of time, because of a confidentially clause," Arum said.
The agreement seemingly kills the prospect of a fight the public has yearned for -- a showdown with fellow welterweight champion Mayweather -- for at least the remainder of this year and the next two years.
With Pacquiao staying put with Top Rank and continuing to fight on HBO, and Mayweather three fights into an exclusive six-fight deal with Showtime -- as well as an unwillingness to do business with Arum, his former promoter -- it means their coming together is unlikely as both are winding down their careers.
Pacquiao, who has said he wants to fight for only two more years, will be 38 at the conclusion of the agreement. The 37-year-old Mayweather has said repeatedly he plans to retire at the end of his Showtime deal.
Mayweather intends to next fight on Sept. 13. Arum told ESPN.com that he is planning Pacquiao's next fight for a date to be determined in November, possibly in Macau, where Pacquiao easily outpointed Brandon Rios last November. Neither has an obvious opponent or anyone else the public is demanding that they fight, but based on the new contract it seems almost impossible to fathom they will be fighting each other.
Pacquiao is coming off a dominant win via decision over Timothy Bradley Jr. on April 12 in a rematch after a highly controversial split-decision loss in 2012.
By winning last month, Pacquiao regained his 147-pound world title and is seemingly headed for a fifth fight in the fall against rival Juan Manuel Marquez, against whom he is 2-1-1 but suffered a brutal one-punch knockout loss in December 2012.
Marquez became Pacquiao's mandatory challenger by virtue of a unanimous decision victory against Mike Alvarado on Saturday night.
"We'll look at the options on who Manny is going to fight next," Arum said. "We'll see what Marquez wants to do. With the opponents, we have time."
Pacquiao has said he might move down to the 140-pound junior welterweight division, a weight he can still comfortably make, in order to expand the field of possible opponents.
Mayweather, meanwhile, won a majority decision against Marcos Maidana to unify two welterweight belts on May 3 and is considering a rematch against him for Sept. 13.
When the contract extension talks began last month, Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, told ESPN.com that the prospect of a fight with Mayweather would not dictate where Pacquiao would sign.
"I don't believe Floyd not fighting us has to do with Bob [Arum]," Koncz said last month. "Why did he wait until he exhausted all other excuses before saying he wouldn't fight Manny if Bob was involved? First he brought up the drug testing [during the initial 2009 failed negotiations]. Then he wanted Manny to sign with him. Then he wanted to pay Manny only a flat fee of $40 million for the fight instead of sharing a percentage [of the revenue]. And now he can't fight Manny because Bob would be involved?
"Why did he wait so long to bring that up? If that's true, why not use that excuse a few years ago?"
Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs), an icon in the Philippines, where he is also a congressman, has been with Arum since 2005, just before he began his historic run up the scale that saw him win world titles in five of the record eight weight classes he has claimed belts in.