x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Pacquiao interview Part II: ‘I’m sure’ Dubai fight would be great experience

In Part II of Omar Al Raisi's exclusive interview with Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxing hero says he would have interest in fighting in Dubai and claims Floyd Mayweather 'doesn't have interest in fighting me'.

Manny Pacquiao trains on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles. Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Timothy Bradley on April 12 in a WBO welterweight title bout. Nick Ut / AP
Manny Pacquiao trains on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles. Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Timothy Bradley on April 12 in a WBO welterweight title bout. Nick Ut / AP

Manny Pacquiao fights an unbeaten American world champion next weekend, but not the one fans for years have hoped he would meet in the ring.

The Filipino will square off with Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday for the latter’s WBO welterweight championship, rather than Floyd Mayweather Jr, holder of the mythical “best-pound-for-pound” title, as well as two more tangible belts.

Read Part I of The National’s interview with Manny Pacquiao here

“The truth is, he doesn’t have interest in fighting me,” Pacquiao told The National in an email interview. “If he wants to fight, I am here. The answer has to come from him.”

Mayweather, according to Pacquiao, has never had the desire to make the fight all boxing fans want to see happen. The dream bout has remained unrealised for several years. Some believe Mayweather has ducked Pacquiao, suggesting the WBC welterweight and WBA super welterweight champion’s terms and conditions – pre-fight drugs tests, an unequal purse split, an insistence on Pacquiao breaking from his promoter, Bob Arum – have been ploys to sabotage the bout.

Pacquiao said he cannot afford to spend time thinking about Mayweather, not with the Bradley fight just days away.

“I am only focused on my upcoming fight with Timothy Bradley,” he said, before Mayweather seemed to creep back into his mind. “Business is best negotiated behind closed doors and face-to-face,” he added. “I have a good relation with Bob Arum and Top Rank, and I don’t see [me] changing my promoter.”

Unlike Mayweather, who since 2006 has fought only in Las Vegas, with all eight of his most recent fights at the MGM Grand, Pacquiao is willing to get into the ring in other jurisdictions.

He defeated Brandon Rios in Macau in November, and twice fought in Cowboys Stadium in the US state of Texas. The eight-division world champion said he also could see himself in a match-up in Dubai.

“The Venetian Macau and Cowboys Stadium were great experiences. I’m sure Dubai would be, too,” he said. “Naturally, a lot would depend on the details if I want to fight in Dubai.”

He might not have to look too far to find a willing opponent, were he to fight in the UAE. Amir Khan, the Briton of Pakistani origin, has expressed his desire to be part of a championship fight in Dubai, and he said he would willingly meet Pacquiao there.

“Manny is a great fighter, he is a good friend, but boxing is a business and, if it is possible, I will fight Manny Pacquiao,” Khan told The National.

Mayweather has won all 45 of his professional contests, 26 by knock-out. He has declared himself “TBE” (The Best Ever), but Pacquiao is willing to countenance the possibility of great fighters before him.

“I cannot name just one,” he said. “I grew up watching and admiring Roy Jones Jr. Certainly, Oscar De La Hoya, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard and Lennox Lewis are on my list, as are Muhammad Ali, ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson and ‘Flash’ Elorde.”

He probably would put Mayweather on another list, if he could: one that he would like to see in the ring before he retires from boxing.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE