LOS ANGELES—Floyd Mayweather Jr. has spoken to Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao by telephone to discuss a possible megafight next May, advisers to each fighter confirmed to several media outlets on Thursday.
Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe confirmed the call to ESPN while Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum did the same to BoxingScene.com and Pacquiao himself talked with ABS-CBN in the Philippines about the short conversation.
The Philippine report quoted Pacquiao as saying there would be no problem if Mayweather would agree to a 50-50 split of income from what is expected to be the richest fight in boxing history—as much as $100 million—if it ever comes off.
Unbeaten US star Mayweather and Pacquiao, regarded as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters, nearly made a deal for a fight once before but the American’s insistence on unique antidoping blood tests helped kill the talks.
This time, Mayweather has a May 5 date booked at a Las Vegas arena while Pacquiao’s promoter wants a late May date to assemble a huge outdoor arena so tickets can be sold to boost profits by as much as $50 million.
“Floyd wants to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 5 and he went as far as to reach out to Manny Pacquiao personally,” Ellerbe said.
‘Step Up, Punk’
Ellerbe told ESPN that Mayweather called from Las Vegas to the Philippines after earlier this month calling out southpaw Pacquiao on Twitter, making taunts, “Step Up, Punk,” to the world welterweight champion.
“I can’t say what exactly was said but I know,” Ellerbe told ESPN. “Floyd has shown more than a willingness to get this fight done and this is really, really what he wants to do and what he wants to give to the fight fans.”
Mayweather has spoken with Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz several times in recent weeks, according to all reports.
Pacquiao, 54-3 with two draws and 32 knockouts, has won his past 15 fights over a span of nearly seven years while Mayweather, 42-0 with 26 knockouts, must serve a 90-day jail sentence starting June 1 after a domestic violence conviction.
Arum said that the issue of who Pacquiao would next fight would be resolved this coming week.
Arum, who is chair of Top Rank promotions, presented four other possible foes for “Pacman” as next opponents, including Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto, Americans Lamont Peterson and Tim Bradley and Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.
Arum earlier said a fight with Mayweather at the end of May or even early June would give the Filipino champion time to heal from a 29-stitch cut he suffered in his fight with Marquez last November.
That would also give time for a 45,000-seat outdoor arena to be built—more than twice the capacity of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Pacquiao has fought before. MGM Grand can hold some 17,000 people. With reports from AFP, ESPN, USA Today