Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao closer to rematch with Floyd Mayweather after Filipino signs with PBC to ‘face top fighters’

Eight-weight world champion is moving to the same company that holds sway with unbeaten fighter Mayweather as he seeks a big-money career finale

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 9:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 10:50pm

A potential blockbuster rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather moved a step closer as the Filipino icon confirmed he has signed with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

Eight-weight world champion Pacquiao said he would close out his storied career by facing “top PBC fighters” in announcing late Monday the tie-up with influential Mayweather adviser Haymon’s organisation.

“My team will work closely with Al Haymon for the remainder of my career to deliver the most anticipated fights with the top PBC fighters,” Pacquiao said in a statement.

“Those are the fights the fans want to see and the ones I want to have to close out my career,” he added.

Pacquiao said last week that he was “90 per cent” sure a bout with former four-division world champion Adrien Broner would happen in January, possibly in Las Vegas.

“Pacquiao’s first defence of the World Boxing Association welterweight world title will kick off the new partnership,” Haymon’s PBC said in a statement without giving further details.

“The new alliance will have team Pacquiao and Haymon work together to navigate the remainder of his illustrious career,” it added.

The deal could pave the way for a Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch of the 2015 megafight which generated a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys earning US$600 million and ended with the American winning on points.

Unbeaten Mayweather, who hasn’t fought since knocking out mixed martial artist Conor McGregor last year, said in September he would come out of retirement to face Pacquiao later this year.

The American, 41, has since hinted at taking a warm-up fight first, talking on social media of a “huge boxing event” in Tokyo and then last week said he would be willing to accept a challenge to fight against McGregor’s MMA conqueror Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The deal with Haymon represents a new chapter for the 39-year-old Pacquiao, who has been promoted for the majority of his 20-year professional career by Bob Arum’s Top Rank organisation.

“I wish him the best of luck, a tremendous warrior, and whatever he’s doing in the future, he deserves,” Arum said of Pacquiao on Fighthub TV in Las Vegas at the weekend.

Pacquiao pumped new life into his storied career in July when he delivered his first knockout in nine years against Lucas Matthysse of Argentina.

Ahead of the fight against big-punching Matthysse, Pacquiao said he considered himself the “underdog”, but he rolled back the years to register a 60th win and take the Argentine’s WBA welterweight belt.

Last week, UFC president Dana White said Mayweather had not contacted UFC about a boxing match with Khabib Nurmagomedov despite both sides hyping the prospect.

“Don’t pay attention to it,” White said. “The Mayweather team has not approached us at all. Khabib is under contract with the UFC. We haven’t talked to anybody from the Mayweather team. Floyd is very good at getting his name back out there when he’s ready.”

Russia’s Nurmagomedov, 30, defended his UFC lightweight crown with a submission victory over McGregor two weeks ago in the top-selling UFC fight ever, improving his record to 27-0.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has suspended Nurmagomedov temporarily for his post-fight actions after beating McGregor, climbing out of the octagon and fighting members of the Irishman’s entourage. A disciplinary ban into next year is possible.