A long-rumored return for Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather has taken on a new dimension following a superb win over Keith Thurman.
Pacquiao proved 40 is the new 30 when dropping and defeating the younger, undefeated champion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Calls are now getting louder for Mayweather to dust off his gloves and give the fans a second helping of a 2015 super-fight.
Many in boxing felt short-changed four years ago. The ‘Pacman’ looked out of sorts when seemingly not one hundred percent.
Citing a shoulder injury suffered during the build-up, Pacquiao was out-classed and out-pointed on that fateful night.
For two years, talk of a rematch filled column inches. That subsided in 2018 when Mayweather was fiercely adamant on his retirement.
Then – late in the year, Mayweather and Pacquiao reignited those reports when meeting up to discuss another battle.
Mayweather even signed Pacquiao to his promotional company. The deal came with a promise of the pair trading blows after an Adrien Broner fight.
Duly taking care of Broner in January 2019, the expected confirmation never came. And once Pacquiao signed to face Thurman in the summer the Mayweather whispers were drowned out again.
Fast forward to July 21st, and Pacquiao’s victory – which cemented him as the number one welterweight on the planet – gave the clash a renewed interest.
It’s no longer about a prime meeting between the two legends. It’s now more of whether Mayweather can hang with this version of Pacquiao in his forties.
At 42, the general consensus thus far is that Pacquiao would be too much for Mayweather on current form. But wouldn’t it be just like the ‘Money’ man to want to prove everybody wrong one more time?
There’s also the small mention of a lump of cash on offer. Mayweather stands to make upwards of $150 million if they collide later in 2019.
Pay-Per-View figures for Pacquiao v Thurman gave clarification that ‘MayPac 2’ could do at least two million buys in the current climate.
At $99.95 a pop, that’s a tidy sum for Mayweather. Add to that the worldwide TV rights which can ultimately guarantee a nine-figure purse.
After making $80 million the first time around, Pacquiao would stand to pocket at least half that for his part despite being the title holder.
Knowing $10 million is about his maximum without Mayweather on board, Pacquiao would be quite happy to accept a solid check of four times that for Floyd.
Getting anywhere near the 4.6m buys they reached the first time around seems an impossible task, but interest in this fight is certainly still at a high level.
We wait and see what transpires. But with Pacquiao having an open window between September and November as he waits for the winner of Errol Spence v Shawn Porter, Mayweather has a massive opportunity to step in.
Whether he’s trained enough in the interim to be ready for Pacquiao by then is perhaps another matter.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay