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Banter livens talk of a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao II, Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin in fall

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao trade blows during their welterweight title fight on May 2, 2015.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao trade blows during their welterweight title fight on May 2, 2015.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

If there’s a possible path to a fall doubleheader of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao and Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez, consider the verbal jostling officially underway.

Mayweather -- of course -- launched it earlier this month when he told Southland video reporter Elie Seckbach that Golovkin is “cherry picking” fights in the middleweight division and avoiding unbeaten former super-middleweight champion Andre Ward.

“We’ve yet to see Triple G move up in weight classes,” Mayweather told Seckbach. “So when it’s all said and done, when we’re talking about cherry picking, I think it’s really Triple G that’s cherry picking. He never called out Andre Ward, he’s ducking and dodging Andre Ward.

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“I think he should move up to 168 pounds and move up to light-heavyweight [where Sergey Kovalev owns three 175-pound belts] and see what he can do. I went from 130 pounds to 135 pounds to 140 pounds to 147 pounds to 154 pounds – and I wasn’t even a 154-pounder.”

Ward has moved up to light-heavyweight, where he’s expected to take a summer bout in the weight class and then fight Kovalev in the late fall.

Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, has said if ongoing Alvarez talks crumble, he’s entertaining the idea of a late 2016 bout against World Boxing Organization super-middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez. But other attempts to make a Ward bout have proven futile as the talented Oakland fighter endured a prior contractual dispute with late promoter Dan Goossen, then expressed interest in Golovkin after Golovkin’s October fight against David Lemieux was made.

Loeffler, in an email to The Times, chafed at Mayweather’s opinion, and voiced some of the public’s disdain for the unbeaten (49-0) fighter’s style that made for a lacking-in-action May 2015 showdown with Pacquiao.

“He doesn’t want to see Canelo fight ‘GGG’ because it would be a completely different situation than his fight with Manny,” Loeffler wrote. “It [would] give the fans what they want [with] two warriors [who] actually fought in the ring instead of dancing to a 12-round decision. That’s not how ‘GGG’ is built and he wants to give fans their money’s worth instead of taking their money for boring decisions.”

He added in an interview Monday: “I don’t know why [Mayweather would] want to talk about two champions fighting in their prime. One of the things he’s been criticized for is fighting guys who are too young old or too young. ... With Mayweather-Pacquiao, they made so many excuses not to fight, the public got tired. It happened five years too late, and even though they made a lot more money, the boxing fans felt they got ripped off.

“Ours is the type of fight -- with their styles, being in their prime -- it’s the kind of fight you could see two or three times.”

Loeffler is in Europe this week after Alvarez last week vacated his World Boxing Council belt because he rejected the sanctioning body’s Tuesday deadline to sign a deal to fight Golovkin, which sources have said would’ve called for a 55-45 percent purse split in Alvarez’s favor.

Loeffler and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions are expected to resume negotiations by June 1 to establish if they can strike a deal for a bout that could be fought at AT&T Stadium outside Dallas on Sept. 17.

After announcing he was retired in September, Mayweather, 39, has said recently he’s open to a return for a “nine-figure” payday. He’s expressed interest in a novelty boxing bout against the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s charismatic Irish featherweight champion Conor McGregor.

And a legal settlement revealed last week that stopped a lawsuit by Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum against Mayweather’s powerful manager Al Haymon could also provide traction to a rematch.

“I haven’t been directly involved, but from everything I’ve heard, the possibility of a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch was not really a factor in the settlement,” said Showtime Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza, who staged Mayweather’s last six fights on the network. “Having said that, now that that bit of business is out of the way, if Floyd decides he’s coming back and if Manny decides he wants to fight again, then having the lawsuit removed as a possible impediment will make it that much easier.

“Right now, neither one of the guys have said, ‘I’m definitely coming back and I want a rematch.’ But, if that were to one day happen, it’s good to have the lawsuit out of the way as a possible obstacle.”

Asked if Arum could also place other fighters of his versus Haymon’s on Showtime due to the settlement, Espinoza said, “There was never an embargo, never [a Haymon directive] to say ‘Hey, don’t mention those fights.’ If it does open things and make things easier, it’s a positive. From the standpoint of the business as a whole, fewer lawsuits is always good.”

The first Mayweather-Pacquiao bout drew a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys and stands as the richest one-day sporting event in history, with more than $600 million generated by the television and live-gate sales.

Although the outcome was panned, Pacquiao sustained a training camp shoulder injury and aggravated it during his best attack on Mayweather in the fourth round – an injury that required surgery -- so there would be an obvious selling point in how a “healthy” Pacquiao would fare.

“We’d like to see [Mayweather] back in whatever form he comes back,” Espinoza said. “If it takes the form of a Pacquiao rematch, great. Whatever we can do to get him back is a positive for the network and it’s a positive for fight fans.”

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire


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