One of the biggest boxing bouts in history looks set for round two, with Manny Pacquiao suggesting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is coming in 2024. The rematch news comes just a week after Pacquiao, the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing, told RIZIN Fighting Federation president Nobuyuki Sakakibara that he was “ready’ to fight whenever. The statement sent the rumour mill into overdrive and while many suggested it was simply the 45-year-old legend playing up to the crowd, Pacquiao double-down on his claim.
“Thank you so much for inviting me here again,” Pacquiao told the crowd at RIZIN 45 on New Year’s Eve. “I’m sorry for the last time, we (were) meant to fight last year as Mr. Sakakibara explained. Next year I hope to see you here in Japan for a big fight against … Floyd Mayweather! I thought you wouldn’t want me to (announce) that. But I am excited for that.”
If true, the monumental rematch would mark a surprising, but not unfamiliar, return to the ring for both fighters. The two former world champions originally locked horns in 2015, in a bout that would go on to be the best-selling event in the history of combat sports. More than 4 million pay-per-view purchases were made for the fight, generating a whopping USD$410 million in revenue.
Sadly, the fight itself failed to live up to expectations, with Mayweather securing a relatively one-sided victory. Even at the time, fans lamented that it had taken too long to get the two champions in the ring together. By 2015, both Pacquiao and Mayweather were well past their primes. Nine years later, it remains to be seen whether the two fighters will have enough left in the tank to put on a good show.
At the time of writing, Mayweather’s team has yet to confirm the fight however, it is important to note just how arduous the pre-fight process can be. Famously, 2010’s failed attempt to bring the two fighters together earned the title of ‘Event of the Year’ by The Ring and should this bout go ahead, it likely wouldn’t take place until mid-2024. Mayweather is currently gearing up to fight John Gotti III on February 11, while Pacquiao is preparing to fight muay Thai icon Buakaw Banchamek in a special rules match on April 20
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