Manny Pacquiao would love to fight Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. in his next bout but the brash champ is still being evasive to committing to the only contest that sports fans are baying for.
Pacquiao’s boring one-sided victory over Chris Algieri in Macau on Saturday was just another routine night’s work as he hopes for the mega-fight against Mayweather that would smash all boxing revenue records, generating at least $200 million through gate receipts and pay-per-view sales.
Pacquiao earned $20 million against Algieri who earned his best purse ever of $1.4 million, but Pacman would pick up at least four times that if the Mayweather clash is finally made after five years of bitter wrangling.
After knocking down the gritty American six times in a lop-sided bout that amounted to a total mismatch, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said the Filipino idol is eyeing a world champion from Las Vegas as his next opponent.
That should be Vegas-based Mayweather, 37, but despite growing optimism and pressure on the reluctant American, the odds are still against it happening and the most probable contest is Jessie Vargas who successfully defended his WBA junior welterweight title against Antonio DeMarco on the Macau bill, winning on points.
Vargas had veteran fighter Roy Jones Jr. in his corner and seemed to punch with more power under the legend’s direction in his most exciting fight in years.
“I was impressed,” Jones said of Vargas. “You saw a lot of improvement. He’s going to get even better, but we weren’t together that long. But he punched a lot better and he looked in command in the ring.”
Vargas, 25, grew up in Las Vegas adoring top Mexican fighters of recent years, particularly Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.
Pacquiao, 35, beat both of them, which infuriated Vargas. Now undefeated in 26 bouts, the American-Mexican is anxious for a Pacquiao bout, partly to avenge his heroes.
“I still have a grudge (against Pacquiao), to be honest, ever since I was a kid and he beat Morales and Barrera,” Vargas said in the post-fight press conference. “They were the older lions and Manny was a younger, more hungry fighter.”
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach was in DeMarco’s corner for the Vargas fight. Roach said that DeMarco’s sister is battling cancer and his fighter was distracted and, if not for that, he feels the outcome would have been different.
As the Mayweather contest is unlikely to materialize, Pacquiao – who weighed 144 pounds against Algieri – plans to drop to the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds for a unification bout with WBA and WBC champion Danny Garcia.
The problem in making that match is Garcia is promoted by Golden Boy and Pacquiao is a Top Rank fighter.
Politics in boxing has often prevented the best matches being made, despite how much money and entertainment is at stake.
No wonder public interest in the “Sweet Science” has gone sour.