Pacquiao targets Mayweather in fight all fans crave
Manny Pacquiao celebrates his victory over Timothy Bradley following their WBO World Welterweight Championship title match in Las Vegas on April 12, 2014 - by Joe Klamar
"The line is open 24 hours, seven days a week,” the Filipino ring icon said after his 12-round unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Bradley.
The win rectified what most saw as a grave miscarriage in their first fight in 2012, when Bradley was awarded a split decision win and the World Boxing Organization welterweight belt.
Pacquiao's energy and precision also backed the 35-year-old's claim that his boxing journey is far from over -- making talk of a mouth-watering Pacquiao-Mayweather match inevitable.
"If he wants to fight, the fight will be on," Pacquiao said, although history has shown it's not that easy.
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.
But a disagreement over pre-fight blood testing scuttled talks already complicated by the need to satisfy rival pay-per-view outlets HBO and Showtime.
Other negotiations broke down over the division of the purse, and the intervening years have brought a further chill to relations between Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions and Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.
"It's really hard to talk about that,” Pacquiao said. "How many years have we talked about it and it hasn’t happened?"
Trainer Freddie Roach seems to flip-flop as to whether the bout will ever take place, saying earlier this month he thought it would if only because the pool of potential opponents for both Pacquiao and Mayweather is so small.
In the days before the Bradley fight, he seemed less optimistic, but said if it does happen it could be as a career finale for both men.
"On our side, I think Bob wants that fight to be our last fight," Roach said.
Pacquiao looks set to clash later this year with the winner of the May 17 fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado.
Pacquiao has fought Marquez four times, and was brutally knocked out by the Mexican star in their last encounter in December of 2012.
Mayweather, 37, will put his perfect 45-0 record on the line against Argentina's Marcos Maidana on May 3 in a welterweight world title clash.
Prominent advertising for Mayweather-Maidana at the MGM Grand during the week of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight incensed Arum, who went so far as to threaten never to have Pacquiao fight there again.
He derided the Mayweather-Maidana match-up as "nonsense," no doubt further provoked by Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions' decision to make Maidana available to the media at the MGM Grand just hours before Pacquiao-Bradley on Saturday.
Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, took the opportunity to take a poke at Arum's card, saying the projected gate receipts of about $8 million -- later confirmed by Arum -- would be dwarfed by Mayweather-Maidana, which had already sold $14 million worth of tickets.
"People come to see Floyd Mayweather fight in big events," Ellerbe said. "That's why we do the kind of numbers that we do."
Despite the war of words, Arum insisted Saturday night that he was ready to try again.
"If they want to operate in good faith and want to get something done, everything is possible," Arum said. "Any excuse for it not happening is just posturing."