MANILA–Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has dismissed reports that he and American Floyd Mayweather are to hold talks about fighting each other, questioning whether a bout will ever happen.
A fight between the former world champion in eight weight divisions and the unbeaten Mayweather has long been desired by boxing fans and Manila newspapers were abuzz with talk over Christmas that a September 2014 date had been set. But Pacquaio, 35, told the website Philboxing.com that a deal to settle once and for all who is the best boxer of the two is not imminent. “I have no plan to go to the US to talk to Floyd. That’s not true,” he said. “If it’s a done deal already, how come I do not know anything about it?” The boxer-turned-congressman convincingly beat American Brandon Rios in Macau in November after successive losses to American Tim Bradley and Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. The comeback win sparked renewed speculation of a long-awaited Mayweather bout. In late 2009 and early 2010, Pacquiao and Mayweather were considered the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters and record profits were expected from a showdown between them. But a disagreement over pre-fight blood testing scuttled talks, with Mayweather vowing never to do business with Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum. Arum has set an April 12 fight for Pacquiao, but the boxer told Philboxing.com the identity of his opponent has not been finalized. Mayweather, who has won 45 straight professional fights with 26 knockouts, is set for a May 3 fight against a yet-unnamed foe in Las Vegas. Mayweather, 36, taunted Pacquiao over Christmas, suggesting the Filipino was no longer in the same class. “Floyd himself has been telling the whole world he does not want to fight me … But if he changes his mind, (it’s) okay with me,” Pacquiao told Philboxing.com. “Floyd has also been saying, he will only fight me if I separate from (U.S. promoter) Top Rank and Bob Arum, but that’s impossible because our contract is still valid until this year,” Pacquiao added. “That means, if I do not renew (the contract), we will only be able to start talking (with Mayweather) next year about a fight.” Since his last fight, Pacquiao has been embroiled in a highly publicized dispute with Philippine tax authorities who demanded that he pay a US$50 million tax bill or risk his assets being seized.