Sports

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s trips to Manny Pacquiao’s gym ignite rematch talk

Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights Manny Pacquiao
Floyd Mayweather Jr. lands a punch in the eighth round against Manny Pacquiao during their welterweight title fight on May 2, 2015.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

What would encourage Floyd Mayweather Jr. to pay a visit to Manny Pacquiao’s Hollywood gym?

Perhaps a rematch of the richest one-day sporting event in history?

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that the unbeaten and retired Mayweather (49-0) has paid two visits to Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood this month, one in which Mayweather and Roach talked pleasantly without addressing the million-dollar question.

Which is, will either of the retired former multidivision champions fight again?

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“Very unusual now how Mayweather’s been here twice,” Roach said. “He wanted to watch sparring the other day. I wasn’t here. But the first time he came by, he came upstairs and saw me. Very nice talk, yes. Me and him are OK.”

Roach, a former boxer who has known Mayweather since he was a child, presented him with a gift — a speed bag painted with Mayweather’s face that Pacquiao was supposed to punch during his training for their May 2015 super-fight that generated a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys and more than $600 million in total revenue.

Pacquiao refused to hit the bag out of respect, Roach said.

“I thought Mayweather would like it. He did, so I gave it to him,” Roach said. “We talked a little bit not about the fight. Not one word about fighting.

“He has a home here now, and this might be the only gym he knows around here,” Roach said. “But it’s interesting. I keep waiting for him to bring [a Pacquiao rematch] up, but he hasn’t, so I don’t.”

When he previously participated on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” Mayweather received permission to do some early-morning training at Wild Card, Roach said.

As for Pacquiao, who defeated Timothy Bradley by unanimous decision April 9 in what he said would be his final fight and who was proclaimed a senator in the Philippines this week, Roach said he has yet to be instructed about what the 37-year-old former eight-division champion will do.

“They’ll call me and let me know what’s going to happen,” Roach said. “Manny and [his manager Michael] Koncz both told me after the last fight that they do feel strongly about trying to get Mayweather one more time. I think that’s the only fight he’d come back for.

“He could come back for Canelo [Alvarez], too, but he’s not as big a draw as Mayweather-Pacquiao II. One more fight, I would like to see it, but does he have time to do it as a senator? I’m sure there’s a lot more work to do. But I know he has at least one more [fight] in him. He showed flashes of the old Manny last fight.”

While Pacquiao also has mentioned the possibility of participating in the Summer Games now that professionals have been approved to participate in Olympic boxing, the Mayweather fight is obviously a greater challenge.

Justin Fortune, Pacquiao’s conditioning coach, said Tuesday there could be a rematch of the lackluster first fight. In that bout, Mayweather out-boxed Pacquiao, who complained afterward that in the fourth round, he aggravated a right shoulder injury suffered in training camp that required post-fight surgery.

“Manny with two good hands beats Floyd,” Fortune said. “He had one hand. He was coming back in the fourth round when the shoulder went out. Manny is very strong, and he needs both shoulders because he throws punches in bunches.”

Fortune said even though it would take away from Pacquiao’s public-service commitments, Fortune could envision Pacquiao returning for a Mayweather fight with the support of his countrymen because of the financial benefits.

“Manny’s whole deal is to help people, which is why this fight can happen,” Fortune said. “If this [Mayweather] fight happens, and [Pacquiao] earns millions and millions, he can use it to help his people. That’s why he’d fight again, the sole reason. People can say that’s stupid. No, it’s admirable.

“He has enough money for his family, for himself. If he fights again, it’s solely to help people.”

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