Nobody saw it coming. Retired boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. has challenged Sen. Manny Pacquiao to a rematch after an unlikely meeting between the two in Japan.
News of the possible rematch spread after Mayweather posted an Instagram video of him having a heated exchange of words with Pacquiao during what appeared to be a music festival in Japan.
Pacquiao can be heard saying “I have the belt” while Mayweather replies by saying “I’m gonna take it from you like I did before.”
The camps of the two boxers had reportedly been exchanging taunts all night.
Tingnan ang post na ito sa Instagram
I’m coming back to fight Manny Pacquiao this year. Another 9 figure pay day on the way @mayweatherpromotions
Some of the boxing world’s pundits and analysts however appear mostly uninterested by the renewed hostilities between the once-storied boxing greats.
Pacquiao had just torn his rotator cuff when he fought Mayweather in May 2015. Should've won anyway bc HE was the aggressor start to finish (as Holyfield said). BUT I'M SORRY, IT WILL BE HARD TO GET NEARLY AS EXCITED ABOUT A REMATCH IN DEC WHEN THEY'RE BOTH 40-PLUS YEARS OLD.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 15, 2018
Dear Mayweather/Pacquiao: Boxing’s fine. We got this. Please stay home. Signed, Canelo/GGG.
— Sid Seixeiro (@Sid_Seixeiro) September 16, 2018
Deadspin, a sports journal known for publishing sarcastic and brutally honest columns, called the planned the rematch “History’s Least Wanted Rematch” while ESPN writer Dan Rafael expressed his disinterest and panned the 2015 match, which Mayweather won via unanimous decision.
Filipino fans meanwhile appear largely divided over the idea of Pacquiao getting his revenge.
Me finding out Mayweather and Pacquiao might have a rematch: pic.twitter.com/pYzzljGXho
— Kagey Gozun (@travelkage) September 15, 2018
Pacman Pacquiao Vs Money Mayweather 2 in December?! 2018 is the year of legendary fights!
— Yee Coprada (@ycoprada) September 15, 2018
The 2015 bout was billed at the “Fight of the Century” and “The Battle for Greatness” as the culmination of years of animosity between the two pound-for-pound fighters regarded as the best of their generation and ranked among the best in the history of the sport.
Southpaw Pacquiao, an unlikely star from the Philippines who rose from poverty and obscurity, won acclaim for winning numerous belts in the 2000s and 2010s while Mayweather, an orthodox defensive boxer groomed by a boxing family, was hailed for going undefeated throughout his career.
Many foresaw an eventual meeting between the two but despite public taunting, a match was never successfully negotiated until 2015.
The match was the highest grossing in the history of boxing, earning at least $400 million in television revenue, with more than $100 million additional from ticket sales, streaming and other broadcasts.
The fight itself however disappointed fans and sports media, as Mayweather survived the 12 rounds by employing his technical and defensive strategy geared towards winning the scorecard rather than knocking out his opponent. Pacquiao on the one hand struggled to put up his usual skill and aggression due to a shoulder injury that was only disclosed later on.
A column by USA Today called the match a “complete waste of time and money” and “the uber-bout that wasn’t.”
Since the “Fight of the Century”
Since the “Fight of the Century,” both fighters have solidified their respective places in boxing’s pantheon of greats.
Pacquiao, now 39-years old and currently with a record of 60-7-2 including 39 knockouts, has juggled a seat in the Philippine Senate with his boxing career. In July 2018, he beat Argentinian Lucas Mathysse to win the WBA Welterweight Title.
Mayweather, now 41 years-old, retired with an unblemished 50-0-0 record. His last fight was a highly-publicized bout with mixed martial artist Connor McGregor in August 2017, whom he defeated via technical knockout in the tenth round.