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Pacquiao says Floyd wants his WBA belt

 

By NICK GIONGCO

 

In his brief but wild and wooly chance encounter with Floyd Mayweather in Tokyo on Saturday night, there was one thing the brash American fighter kept on saying that convinced Manny Pacquiao that a rematch is in the offing.

In a video call held while Pacquiao was having dinner with wife Jinkee and select members of his team, the 39-year-old Filipino star kept on repeating what Mayweather had incessantly told him during their accidental meetup at a Tokyo musicfest.

“I want to take that belt, I want to take that belt,” Pacquiao said, quoting Mayweather as he feasted on a sumptuous spread of Japanese favorites.

Pacquiao holds the World Boxing Association welterweight title belt after he had stopped Lucas Matthysse of Argentina last July in Malaysia.

Though contracts have yet to be signed, Mayweather came out on social media minutes after their chance encounter’ during a concert, declaring he and Pacquiao are destined to fight each other again.

Mayweather said he is coming out of retirement in December, a date that Pacquiao had already booked.

“Everything has a purpose,” Pacquiao said just before the clock struck 12 midnight of Saturday, brushing off insinuations that the fight would happen as early as December.

Pacquiao had dropped a decision to Mayweather when they rumbled in May 2015 in Las Vegas.

But Pacquiao claimed that he fought with an injured right shoulder, something Mayweather took as a lame excuse for Pacquiao’s failure to figure him out.

Pacquiao is in Japan for an endorsement gig and those who joined him there aside from Jinkee are two-time world champ Gerry Penalosa, staffers Joe Ramos and Roger Fernandez.

Mayweather, 41, hasn’t fought since overwhelming MMA star Conor McGregor in August last year but appears pumped to make a comeback.

“We are going to take the belt,” said Mayweather in a video provided by US boxing man Sean Gibbons who was also in Tokyo. “We are gonna get the payday and I don’t want no shoulder excuses.”

Gibbons is as thrilled as Pacquiao and Mayweather and is actually given authority to become a part of the negotiations to put the fight in place for Dec. 1 or 8 in Las Vegas.

“Floyd was on the phone with (adviser) Al Haymon and he told him to do this fight,” said the Las Vegas-based Gibbons, who also represents Jerwin Ancajas and Donnie Nietes.

In fact, Gibbons was set to join Pacquiao on the flight back to Manila last night from Tokyo and part of his stay in the Philippines will be to grease the path towards completion of the deal.

Holder of a 50-0 record, Mayweather is a five-division world champion and his clash with Pacquiao over three years ago, earned over 4.5 million PPV buys.

Even if their proposed second meeting rakes in half of 4.5 million, it would still be a box-office success.

Making it happen should be a lot easier this time since Pacquiao is no longer contractually-bound to Bob Arum of Top Rank and the eight-division champion is coming off a resounding win in Malaysia.

But as the fistic world goes bonkers over the prospects of a rematch, the more likely scenario that’s going to play out is a Pacquiao tuneup fight against a handpicked Mayweather-promoted fighter in January 2019 in preparation for the huge showdown sometime in May, according to someone with knowledge of the plan to do a rematch.

Besides, even a high-grade steak needs to undergo the dry aging process before being sent to the griller.

But Gibbons believes it needs no marination. “Strike while the iron is hot,” he said.

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