LAS VEGAS (AFP) – Boxer Floyd Mayweather, fresh off his lopsided victory over Marcos Maidana, denied he is trying to safeguard his undefeated record by avoiding Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather has admitted he handpicked opponents in the past but says there is nothing unscrupulous about not fighting Pacquiao, one of the few fighters who can match the American’s hand speed.
“I am not ducking or dodging no opponent,” said Mayweather, who turns 38 in February. “If a Pacquiao fight presents itself then let’s make it happen.” Mayweather said Saturday after beating Maidana for the second time in four months that he is open to a fight against Pacquiao, but it would have to be on Mayweather’s terms.
On Sunday, Stephen Espinoza, vice president of sports cable channel Showtime, told the Los Angeles Times that Pacquiao is “absolutely” his first choice as Mayweather’s next opponent.
Mayweather is in the middle of a six-fight deal with Showtime.
In the past, Mayweather (47-0) has always tried to sidestep questions about facing Pacquiao, who is getting set to fight in Macau in November against Chris Algieri.
“Pacquiao needs to focus on the guy in front of him. Then we’ll see what the future holds,” Mayweather said.
Pacquiao and Mayweather have held talks about staging a mega-fight before but they always broke down before a deal could be signed. It is unlikely Pacquiao would agree to the terms that Maidana did for his rematch, allowing Mayweather to handpick his referee, Kenny Bayless, and change two of the three judges from the first fight.
Mayweather says Pacquiao is too worried about fighting him and forgets to train for his regular fights.
“In the past, if you look at Pacquiao when he fought (Juan Manuel) Marquez, he was too focused on Floyd Mayweather instead of the guy in front of him and you saw what happened,” he said, recalling Pacquiao’s knockout defeat.
“I never think about Pacquiao. That’s not my focus. I could care less what Pacquiao does. If it happens, it happens.
“I want to enjoy my time off. We don’t know who we going to be fighting. We are not in a rush. We are the A side and we are going to take our time.”
Another possible opponent is British boxer Amir Khan, who sat ringside at Saturday’s fight.
“Of course, Amir Kahn would be a potential opponent,” said Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions. “Amir Khan is a very good fighter, just like a lot of other potential opponents.”