Two days ago, Congressman Manny Pacquiao did a Q n A for his Facebook fans, and he fielded a query which asked him what his next fight would be.
The 37-on-December 17th boxer last gloved up in the so-called Fight of the Century, against Floyd Mayweather, on Sept. 12 in Las Vegas at the MGM, and lost a unanimous decision.
The inner circle of folks involved made off with piles of loot, but fight fans were left enthralled, being that Mayweather was his usual masterful self, a defensive wizard who epitomizes the art of “not being hit and hitting enough to win.”
Post-fight, we heard that Manny's right shoulder was torn up, and he needed surgery and rehab. Floyd, meanwhile, moved on to his next bout, a going away special against over-matched Andre Berto.
With Mayweather retired, imagine our surprise when Pacman, in that Q n A, stated he wants his next fight to be with Mayweather.
“I don't know yet my opponent next, but we're still negotiating right now about the rematch with Floyd Mayweather, so hoping for that,” said Manny.
Wait, what? Isn't “Money” over this?
Hasn't he hung up the mitts, transitioned to the next phase of his life?
Nobody and their brother thought he won't fight again, despite his May fight against Berto being sold as his adios bout. But just five months later, do we get confirmation that it looks very much like the “retirement” angle was just that, a packaged and cynical marketing ploy? Say it ain't so, Joe!
I reached out to Michael Koncz, Pacman's advisor, and asked about this video, about there being negotiations for a rematch. “No comment,” he responded.
I also requested comment from Pacman promoter Bob Arum. He checked in, and told me he knew nothing about what Manny was speaking. “None of us know anything about it, Michael Koncz or myself, nobody.” He said maybe this was a case of there being a language gap, that maybe Manny was talking about negotiating with different guys but really wanting that Floyd sequel. “That's what I think, otherwise it makes no sense.”
I emailed Mayweather publicist Kelly Swanson for comment, as well, but didn't hear back.
Me, I kinda figured that Mayweather step away for at least a year…maybe more. He was after all out of action for almost two full years, between 2007 and 2007, when he fought Ricky Hatton and then Juan Manuel Marquez. I figured the traveling to exotic locations and car collecting would get old. Also, idle time is the devil's playground..with so much free time, a guy with a previous propensity for missteps can see too many opportunities to choose the easy wrong over the hard right.
But we're hearing, from multiple people, that a comeback might very well occur in May. You might know that the MGM, Floyd's preferred platform, is building a new arena which should be complete for May 2016. The Arena, a co-construction projection between AEG and MGM, will seat 20,000 folks. Here is how it is described on their website:
A new beacon is set to shine in the desert that promises to guide the future of entertainment directly to Las Vegas. The Arena—a state-of-the-art, 20,000-seat multipurpose event center from AEG and MGM Resorts International—opens in Spring of 2016 to bring the city, and the world, a whole new place to play. Topping out the reimagined outdoor promenade linking New York-New York and Monte Carlo, The Arena is what the Coliseum was to Rome. It’s the centerpiece of the city, built for everyone to enjoy. It’s a venue that merges beauty with technology. And it will redefine and reshape how the monolithic events of our time are experienced and remembered.
The arena will have exciting events that will appeal to everyone – from boxing and UFC to top-name concerts and events…
Expectations are being set high. The breathy-y copy on the website says, ELVIS, FRANK SINATRA, TONY BENNETT, CELINE DION… HISTORY HAPPENS HERE, AND NO ENTERTAINER CAN CALL A CAREER COMPLETE WITHOUT STEPPING ON A STAGE IN VEGAS! The Arena will be the most sought-after venue to hold events. From red-carpet events to concerts, Awards shows to boxing events and UFC-Las Vegas Arena will set a new bar for what entertainment means in the city that knows it best.
So…are rumors true? Is this building in progress going to open with a flourish, with Floyd's comeback fight, in May 2016? MGM's Scott Ghertner responded to a query: “The Las Vegas Arena is moving along nicely and on schedule to open in April 2016…As far as Floyd goes, is he coming out of retirement?” Point taken…
We also hear things like: Danny Garcia is being set aside as his comeback foe. So, really, lot of chatter, not much clarity.
Lips are sealed on the matter with Team Mayweather thus far; understandable, since there would be a fiercer blowback from the public if comeback talk started five months after he left.
I did also reach out to an MGM person, to get a confirm or deny on the building being reserved for Mayweather, and will share a response with you if one comes.
Readers, feel free to offer your crystal ball take; you think Floyd will be back in May, opening that new joint?
How would a rematch play out, you think? Talk to me.