Pilipino megastar Manny ‘Pac-Man’ Pacquiao took time off from training for his July bout against Argentinian Lucas Matthysse to offer his opinion on the mooted rematch between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, as well as his own desire to arrange of ‘Fight of the Century II’ against the latter.
Floyd Mayweather defeated UFC fighter and Boxing novice Conor ‘Notorious’ McGregor with a 10th round technical knock-out in August of last year in a fight which was as derided as it was enthralling, and the circulating rumours of a re-match, involving modified MMA rules, has not escaped the attention of the former eight-division champion Pacquiao.
Mayweather largely dominated his inexperienced opponent, and despite a change to a more attacking game plan on the part of ‘Money’ allowing McGregor some success, the former five-weight world champion was never seriously troubled and had several gears left at his disposal before the inevitable climax.
As McGregor discovered how difficult the transition between the two combat sports can be, Pacquiao is correct in pointing out that it would be Mayweather exiting his comfort zone and entering McGregor’s should they have a rematch in the octagon.
"We saw what happened when Mayweather fought McGregor the first time," Pacquaio told World Boxing News. "McGregor now understands that boxing is a different game.
"McGregor was the perfect opponent to hype a fight for Mayweather. But now he will be entering the lion's den if he fights McGregor using MMA rules.
"This is where grappling and ground games are legal and dangerous for him."
Even at the ripe age of 39, Pacquiao remains one of the marquee names in boxing, and, should he triumph over Matthysse, has a seemingly infinite number of possible avenues in front of him should he delay retirement and fight into his 40’s.
Pacquiao has options from lightweight (such as Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko) all the way up to junior-middleweight (rising star Errol Spence Jr. arguably the most attractive bout in that division).
However, it is a rematch with Floyd Mayweather that would whet the appetite of the most boxing fans and would more than likely draw the curtain on two of boxing’s most illustrious careers.
Mayweather bested Pacquiao over 12 rounds on May 12th 2015 in a fight that, while competitive at times, failed to live up to its name-tag of the ‘Fight of the Century’, Pacquiao revealing after the fight that he had suffered a torn rotator cuff in training prior to the fight which hampered his performance.
When asked to comment on a possible rematch, Pacquiao insisted:
"Absolutely I would want the rematch! I hope Mayweather comes out of retirement and we can fight again.
"But I am not looking past this fight with Matthysse which will be a challenge for me."
While both men have dangerous opponents looming in their short-term futures, the prospect of a rekindling of the Mayweather/Pacquiao rivalry inside the squared circle must surely rank at the top of many boxing fans' wish lists, and who knows, may well yet come to fruition.