LAS VEGAS (AFP) – Manny Pacquiao extended his promotional deal with Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum through the end of 2016, likely scuttling any chance he will fight unbeaten US rival Floyd Mayweather.
Fans have long sought a showdown between Filipino southpaw Pacquiao, 56-5 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, and Mayweather, 46-0 with 26 knockouts.
But Mayweather, 37, has vowed never to fight Pacquiao while he is promoted by Arum and the new deal carries Pacquiao, 35, to the point where he has indicated he would likely conclude his career.
Pacquiao is a lawmaker in his homeland and could choose to focus on politics or his business and entertainment interests.
But until the end of 2016, he looks ready to provide boxing fans more excitement.
“We are pleased that together with our partners at HBO we will continue presenting to the public fights of the great Manny Pacquiao through the end of 2016,’’ Arum said.
“The partnership among Manny, Top Rank, MP Promotions and HBO has been a wonderful one for all parties and for the public and it’s great that is will continue for the years to come.’’
Pacquiao reclaimed the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown last month by avenging an earlier controversial loss and defeating previously unbeaten Tim Bradley.
Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, who has a win and a draw in four fights with Pacquiao, made himself the mandatory next opponent for “PacMan’’ with a victory last Saturday over Mike Alvarado.
Marquez, 56-7 with one draw and 40 knockouts, said after his victory he would not make an immediate decision on whether he would chase the title and fight Pacquiao again.
However, taking the title from the Filipino icon would make 40-year-old Marquez the first Mexican fighter to win world titles in five weight classes and he said that his decision would be “good for the Mexican fans.’’
Mayweather and Pacquiao missed a chance to make a fight in 2010 due to issues over pre-fight blood testing.
Since then, Pacquiao was beaten by Bradley and Marquez, losing to the Mexican by sixth-round knockout in 2012 in their most recent and most decisive meeting.