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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Manny Pacquiao signs with Premier Boxing Champions paving way for potential Floyd Mayweather rematch

'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

Manny Pacquiao won the WBA Welterweight title with a brutal stoppage of Lucas Matthysse at the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15, 2018. Reuters
Manny Pacquiao won the WBA Welterweight title with a brutal stoppage of Lucas Matthysse at the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15, 2018. Reuters

Manny Pacquiao has signed with Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) promotion, paving the way for a potential blockbuster rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The Filipino, who has won titles at an unprecedented eight weight divisions during a 23-year professional career, has signed on with Mayweather adviser Haymon's organisation, ending a long association with Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions.

"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's first bout under the PBC umbrella looks likely to be against former four-division world champion Adrien Broner in the new year in Las Vegas, with negotiations at an advanced stage.

"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.

While Broner (33-3-1) certainly comes under the category of elite opponent, it is the potential for a rematch with the American's stablemate that is most likely behind Pacquiao's decision to switch to PBC, assuming he can coax Mayweather out of retirement.

Their 2015 megafight generated a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys earning $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) and ended with the American Mayweather winning on points.

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Unbeaten Mayweather, who hasn't fought since beating 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.

Pacquiao's powers looked to be on the wane following a surprise defeat to unheralded Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane in 2017 but the "Pac-Man" bounced back in brutal fashion in July, sending Argentina's Lucas Matthysse to the canvas three times on his way to a seventh-round stoppage. It was the first time the Filipino had knocked out an opponent in nine years.

Pacquiao immediately called out Mayweather following the Matthysse fight in Kuala Lumpur, telling his nemesis: "If he decides to go back to boxing then that is the time we are going to call the shots."

The deal with Haymon represents a new chapter for the 39-year-old Pacquiao, who has been promoted for the majority of his career by 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.