Sunday, February 05, 2023  |


Manny Pacquiao calls out Floyd Mayweather after Algieri beating




MACAU – Manny Pacquiao smiled confidently upon the dais after his one-sided drubbing of Chris Algieri at The Venetian. The 35-year-old veteran had won all 12 rounds against the previously unbeaten junior welterweight according to one scorecard, and 11 rounds on the other two.

After winning his third straight fight since losing back-to-back bouts in 2012, the eight-division champion’s agenda turned to addressing another unbeaten rival whom he has circled for the past several years.

“I think it’s time to say something. The people deserve that fight. The fans deserve that fight. I think it’s time to make that fight happen,” said Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) of a clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr., the sport’s current pound-for-pound best fighter.

“I think it’s time [for Mayweather] to step up and say yes. People can prepare for early next year.”

Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s long-time promoter and CEO of Top Rank, expressed his desire to see the fight as well.

“I think that fight should happen. I think the boxing fans deserve that fight. If boxing is to be considered a major sport, that fight has to happen,” said Arum. “All the nonsense has to cease, everybody should be working together to make that fight happen.”

The fight between Pacquiao and the Las Vegas-based Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) has been the greatest fight to never take place, with both sides disagreeing over money splits and drug testing in the past.

Mayweather, 37, recently left HBO (the American network both had fought on) to fight on rival network Showtime, and is four fights into a six-fight deal after scoring two decision victories over Marcos Maidana in 2014.

However, there is more reason to be optimistic about the fight than has been the case in a long time. A recent story published by the Los Angeles Times cited a Showtime source confirming Mayweather’s interest in making the fight, which some have suggested could be the sport’s first billion dollar fight.

“We can confirm that Floyd Mayweather definitely wants the Pacquiao fight. Everyone on our side – Floyd, CBS and Showtime – is advocating for the fight to happen,” wrote the source in an email.”

Mayweather’s next fight is slated for May 2 but no opponent has been named. A rematch with Miguel Cotto or a fight with British two-division titleholder Amir Khan have been rumored as possible opponents for that date.

Pacquiao will turn 36 next month, while Mayweather turns 38 in February, making the fight more urgent than ever.


Vargas wants next

One of the first fighters to make it to the post-fight press conference after the fights was Jessie Vargas, who made the second successful defense of his WBA “regular” junior welterweight title on the televised undercard with a unanimous decision over Antonio DeMarco.

Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs), of Las Vegas, survived several rocky moments against the former lightweight beltholder before overwhelming DeMarco in the championship rounds. With the podium all to himself, Vargas made his case to be the next unbeaten fighter to stand opposite Pacquiao.

“I’m the WBA champion, I hear he wants to go down to 140. Let’s make it happen,” said Vargas [Editor’s note: THE RING/ only recognizes Danny Garcia as the WBA champ.] “You want this title? I can go up and take your title as well.

“I still have a grudge to be honest, ever since I was a kid and he beat [Erik] Morales, [Marco Antonio] Barrera, they were the older lions and Manny Pacquiao was the younger and more hungry lion. But now it’s me, now it’s Jessie Vargas hungry and looking for his opportunity.”

Vargas’ trainer Roy Jones Jr., who himself was the sport’s top fighter during the 1990s, says he recognizes how difficult it would be to topple the living legend from General Santos City, Philippines, but says his fighter won’t run from the opportunity.

“You won’t see us running from nobody, you won’t see us avoiding the big punches. You’ll see us trying to land more big punches than does he,” said Jones, alluding to Algieri’s timid approach against Pacquiao.

Arum, who promotes Vargas as well, put his stamp of approval on the fight

“We know Manny Pacquiao would like to fight against residents of Las Vegas. He has another resident of Las Vegas in mind, that’s his primary goal. If that doesn’t materialize, why wouldn’t Jessie Vargas be a top candidate in the running?” said Arum.

Freddie Roach, who trains Pacquiao and trained DeMarco for his fight against Vargas, says he doesn’t see Vargas as a real challenge for the future hall of famer.

“He’d be like this guy, he’d be lost,” Roach said, gesturing towards Algieri. “He doesn’t have the experience. He doesn’t belong in the ring with Manny yet. He’d have to show me a lot more.”

Mayweather remains one of the few fighters whom there is little debate about his worthiness to share a ring with Pacquiao, and it’s a challenge Roach wants to see happen sooner rather than later.

“I look forward to challenges all the time, that’s a big challenge for me,” said Roach. “I say he’s a talented guy, but I think we can beat him. He doesn’t have too many flaws, he doesn’t make too many mistakes but there are a couple and I think we could take advantage of them.”