LAS VEGAS // Floyd Mayweather Jr threw down another provocative gauntlet to boxing rival Manny Pacquiao, using Twitter to taunt the Filipino boxer after getting a reprieve from the court on a jail sentence.
The unbeaten US boxer Mayweather was to serve 90 days in prison on domestic violence charges but a judge postponed Mayweather's trip behind bars until after his already-booked May 5 fight with Pacquiao. The American has been challenging Pacquiao for a mega-fight showdown between the world's top pound-for-pound fighters.
The move comes as Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum is visiting Pacquiao in the Philippines to discuss who the Asian superstar should fight next.
Arum originally said that Mayweather was not among possible next foes for "Pac-Man", listing Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez, Puerto Rican southpaw and Americans Tim Bradley and Lamont Peterson as candidates.
But that was assuming Mayweather was going to serve his sentence starting last week.
All that has changed prompting Mayweather to use the social media to dare his rival, asking him to "step up punk".
"Manny Pacquiao I'm calling you out let's fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see," Mayweather posted on Twitter.
"My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk".
Pacquiao, who has won 15 fights in a row over the past seven years, has told Filipino media that he wants the opportunity to fight Mayweather to be a top priority.
However, Mayweather squandered a chance to make a fight earlier by seeking extraordinary blood testing measures, which Pacquiao refused leading to a bout of verbal exchanges so far.
But Arum has ripped Mayweather's May 5 plan, saying he could secure US$20 million (Dh74m) more with the construction of a temporary venue in Las Vegas to stage such a long-awaited fight before more than twice as many spectators.
Critics see that and other moves as Arum wanting to avoid pitching Pacquiao, 54-3 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, against Mayweather, 42-0 with 26 knockouts.
Past near-deals for Mayweather-Pacquiao have fallen apart for years, sending Pacquiao and Mayweather against different rivals with similar results.
But this time, both fighters are coming off controversial victories.
Pacquiao, a 33-year-old southpaw, won a majority decision over Marquez last November, giving him two wins and a draw over the Mexican but none of them by such a margin that Marquez's claims he was wronged could be dismissed.
Mayweather, who turns 35 next month, won the World Boxing Council welterweight title with a fourth-round knockout of compatriot Victor Ortiz, but he landed the decisive blow while Ortiz was distracted after the referee had separated the fighters then said they could resume.
Should Pacquiao not be next on Mayweather's hit list, "Pretty Boy Floyd" has been mentioned as filling the May 5 date with either US southpaw Robert Guerrero, 29-1-1 with 18 knockouts, or Mexico's Saul "Cinnamon" Alvarez, the WBC light-middleweight champion who is 39-0 with one drawn and 29 knockouts.