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Just when it felt like any hopes for a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao rematch were dead, Pacquiao himself threw the boxing world for a loop by saying he is in negotiations with Mayweather for a rematch, according to an AFP report.
Pacquiao announced that he wants to fight one more time before hanging up his gloves for good and pursuing a full-time career as a politician in his native Philippines early next year, a timetable that seemed to make a rematch unlikely.
However, Pacquiao told AFP that not only is the rematch possible, but confirmed talks are ongoing with Mayweather and one other fighter.
Pacquiao confirmed he is in negotiations with American Mayweather and Briton [Amir] Khan but said he had no preference over who to fight … “I will fight anybody, anywhere,” he said. “I am going to fight probably before the election … The election is coming next year, May, and before that I will probably have one fight.”
With any potential fight needing to happen before the elections in May and Mayweather in retirement and seemingly in no hurry to return to the ring, it seemed unlikely that a rematch could happen. However, if there was one thing that made the rematch still seem possible it was the money and how much each fighter would be leaving on the table if they couldn’t reach a deal on a rematch.
Their highly anticipated bout earlier this year shattered all the records for a boxing match, generating nearly $600 million in revenue and making the fighters the two highest-paid athletes in the world. Even if a rematch generated only half of that interest, that is still a lot of money for both fighters – money they won’t make anywhere else.
Adding to the intrigue and potential riches is the idea that neither fighter is contractually tied to a venue in Las Vegas. According to the AFP report, Pacquiao told Al Jazeera his last fight could happen in one of the wealthy Persian Gulf states.
Earlier this week, Pacquiao talked about his political ambitions, a career that would likely make returning to the ring impossible past May of next year.
“I think I’m ready (to retire). I’ve been in boxing for more than 20 years,” Pacquiao said in an interview with the ABS-CBN television network. “I will have to give up the other things that require my attention. If you are a senator, your focus should only be your job and your family.”
According to the AFP report, polls have Pacquiao winning one of the 12 senate seats up for grabs, and he has vowed to be a “serious” senator despite recent reports that he missed 66 of 70 legislative sessions this year while serving as a local congressman.
We have reached out to Mayweather for comment.