It’s turned into a will they or won’t they storyline that wouldn’t seem out of place on Coronation Street or EastEnders. But even they might have baulked at stringing it out for so long. Yet over the past week or so, the sporting press has once again been talking up a rematch between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, possibly as soon as May 2020.
Yet no sooner had the rumour mill started spinning than those close to both camps started to shut things down. Long-time sparring partner and former Mayweather Promotions fighter Ashley Theophane knows the man as well as anyone and he can’t see it happening. Speaking to World Boxing News last week, he said: “Floyd just keeps teasing the fans and the media.” He added that Pacquiao has been pushing for the rematch for almost five years, and the fact that it has not happened before now tells us everything we know.
A recent statement from Mayweather’s manager Sean Gibbons suggests that Theophane has a point. He told ESPN he’d had it straight from Mayweather himself that he has no plans to come out of retirement and will not fight again.
A familiar tale
In most sports, that would be the end of the story. But these are words we have heard time and again, only for boxers to change their minds. In Mayweather’s case, this is doubly the case. After all, only a few weeks ago he told the world that he would be fighting at least twice in 2020. More teasing? It’s certainly possible but the ComeOn betting site and other bookmakers are offering short odds on a Mayweather victory if the fight should happen. And knowing Mayweather’s ability to spend money, who’d bet against him wanting at least one more big pay day?
The McGregor factor
As if the MayPac2 debate wasn’t creating enough intrigue, there is another big name only too eager to get involved. Rumours of a rematch between Mayweather and Conor McGregor are circulating with equal fervour. Once again, these have been largely fuelled by Mayweather’s legendary teasers, and an Instagram post last month was interpreted by some as an indication that the pair would meet again.
McGregor added fuel to the fire, saying Mayweather is “far from retired” and that the rematch “will happen.” However, the man from Dublin had the air of someone who is not going to go begging. In an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani last month, he said he would be “open to other boxing bouts” and that there have been “talks about the Manny fight as well.”
Money for Money
Whether Mayweather will decide to fight either man or leave them to do battle with one another will ultimately come down to dollars. His spending habits are the stuff of legends, and if he does decide to do more than the occasional exhibition fight, it will be for one reason alone. The McGregor bout netted Mayweather an estimated $275 million. Even at the high roller tables, another pay day like that will keep him in the style to which he is accustomed – at least for another year or so.