Ever since Floyd Mayweather Jr. took on Manny Pacquiao in the Fight of the Century four years ago, boxing fans have been itching for a rematch and towards the end of last year it really looked like it was on. The rumors eventually turned out to be unfounded though, with Pacquiao dishing out a lesson to Adrien Broner instead, while Mayweather went to Japan to fight in an exhibition match. That hasn’t dampened interest in a rematch though. Pacquiao polled his 2.5 million Twitter followers on who he should fight next and 73 percent voted for Mayweather.
Of course, Mayweather is not obliged to give a hoot what anyone on Twitter thinks, but it does put some pressure on him to agree to a second fight. Pacquiao has to put the heat on publicly because, as the loser in 2015, he is the one who has something to gain from a rematch. A big sticking point is that Mayweather has retired from the ring and is showing very little enthusiasm for coming back and putting his undefeated professional record at risk. There is really no reason why he needs to fight Pacquiao a second time, meaning money and/or public goading are likely to be the only motivators that could work. By contrast, Pacquiao is still bothered by the earlier loss, saying he won’t be able to “retire with peace of mind” unless there is a rematch. He would certainly have a strong chance in any follow-up, as Mayweather hasn’t fought competitively since August 2017, whereas Pacquiao has remained in action. The Filipino would also have the benefit of being free of the shoulder injury that hampered his attack last time. On the other hand, if he were to lose to a fighter who has effectively been in retirement for two years it would deal a serious blow to Pacquiao’s reputation.
It is not as if he has a shortage of other potential opponents, with one hot contender being Errol Spence Jr. Given the way he dominated Mikey Garcia to retain his welterweight title earlier this year, Spence Jr. is perhaps the most exciting challenge for Pacquiao outside of Mayweather and there is no doubt that Spence Jr. would love to have a shot at taking down a boxing legend. Another possible fighter for Pacquiao to take on next would be Keith Thurman. He held onto his WBA title against Josesito Lopez back in January, but the underdog made him work for it and even at over 40 years old, Pacquiao would feel he had a good shot. The big personality of Thurman and the equally huge popularity of Pacquiao would also ensure real appeal for the public.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. looks unwilling to come out of retirement for a rematch against the man he beat four years ago and it is easy to see why. Pacquiao and boxing fans may need to look elsewhere for their fight action.