Floyd Mayweather accepted an invite to watch Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao’s WBO title fight on Saturday, leaving many wondering if a request to step back in the ring would be next.
Mayweather had a front row seat at the Thomas & Mack Center to watch Pacquiao easily beat former champion Jessie Vargas with a unanimous decision victory.
Pacquiao said on Sunday that he is eager to avenge his 2015 loss to Mayweather and he doesn’t feel the contract negotiations would be nearly as acrimonious as they were for the first fight, which became the richest in boxing history.
“Not only for myself, but the fans of boxing want the rematch then why not?” Pacquiao told a group of reporters at his luxury suite at the Wynn hotel and casino.
“We can easily talk about that it is not a problem. Because we now have direct contact to them it would be easier to talk about when there will be a rematch.”
Pacquiao looked impressive and even showed his power with a second-round knockdown as he reclaimed the WBO welterweight title – the same belt he lost to Mayweather.
Pacquiao made sure the retired Mayweather was there to witness him win it back on Saturday night. Pacquiao said he found out on Friday that Mayweather would be attending the fight. “I met with his manager I told him I would invite Floyd and they said OK,” Pacquiao said.
There are no talks scheduled between the two and Pacquiao has no idea whether he can entice Mayweather to come out of retirement in 2017.
“We don’t have any discussions as for now,” said Pacquiao who will fly back to the Philippines so he can be there when the Senate reopens today. “It is not in my mind right now for the next fight. I want to go back to the Philippines and work at my next job,” the first-year Senator added.
Even when he has something to say, Pacquiao will never put all his cards on the table.
On Saturday he fought like a boxer who didn’t want to spoil a good thing as his comeback from a brief retirement could have easily been derailed by a carelessly getting caught by a punch from the bigger and heavier Vargas.
But Mayweather’s appearance at ringside has stirred talk of a Pacquiao-Mayweather 2.
Mayweather did not speak to reporters after Saturday’s fight and has shown no signs of wanting to come out of retirement.
Pacquiao’s last two victories have been impressive, showing that he has recovered from the shoulder injury which hampered him in his fight against Mayweather in May 2015.
“I believe if there is a rematch, or if it happens, I want to make sure the fans will love it and I will give everything to get back their trust,” said Pacquiao.
Asked why he didn’t call off the Mayweather fight because of his shoulder injury, Pacquiao said he didn’t think before the fight that the shoulder would be a problem.
“I have no regrets because I felt good one week before the fight. In that kind of fight I hurt my shoulder,” he said.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said he doesn’t know if he can entice Mayweather to fight again. “Floyd Mayweather is retired. As far as we’re concerned he’s retired and we respect that,” Arum said.
But Vargas spoke for many when he expressed an interest in seeing Pacquiao and Mayweather go at it again. “Of course,” Vargas said.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. We are still very interested in seeing what could happen again.”
As with previous Pacquiao fights, the Vargas match was watched by
millions in the Philippines and broadcast on large screens in public plazas and malls.
Pacquiao said that he exchanged texts with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. “I messaged him thanking him for his support. In Philippines we don’t call people, we message a lot,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao needed nine stitches on the top of his head because of a cut from a head butt in the final round against Vargas. “When I threw an uppercut he threw a right hand and we banged our heads.”
Masters champion Danny Willett has dropped outside the top-10 on the World Rankings and admits an end-of-season downturn in his game could not have come at a worst time.
The 29-year old Willett has enjoyed just two top-10s since being fitted last April with the famed Augusta National members green jacket.
Willett’s frustration boiled over last Sunday after finishing in a distant share of 68th place in the Turkish Airlines Open at Belek in Turkey.
Two days earlier he tweeted after a second round 74: “Well this game is really kicking me in the nuts at the minute!! If it’s not thing it’s another. Haha.”
Willett had journeyed to Turkey lying second on the Race to Dubai and needing to finish fifth or higher to move back to No. 1 in the rankings, and a place he has enjoyed since his Major Championship triumph.
And Willett was so annoyed in posting a last round 75 in Turkey his immediate reaction was to withdraw from this week’s Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa and the second of the three European Tour Final Series events.
“It couldn’t happen at a worst time,” he said in reference to his poor run of form. “Things are not just going our way, nothing feels great.”
Since finishing second in September’s Italian Open Willett missed the cut in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, that included a third round 76, while he lost the No. 1 ranking to Henrik Stenson in slumping to 75th place in the following weeks WGC – HSBC Champions event.
Willett’s scores over the four days in Shanghai were 74, 78 and a pair of 75s and a far cry from the super final round 67 he shot to win the Masters.
His poor showing in Turkey has now seen Willett drop a further place on the World Rankings to be now ranked No. 11. This is the first time he’s been outside the top-10 since moving from 12th to ninth in winning the Masters.
In fairness to the Sheffield-born golfer he is undergoing swing changes under the guidance of long-time coach, Peter Cowen.
“It just comes and goes as I would have a couple of good days and then a couple of bad days,” said Willett.
“To be honest I don’t really want to be out there playing golf.”
Willett’s name still appears in the entry list among those competing this week at Sun City and his management company indicated he’s expected to take his place in the $US 7m.
Also in the South African field is new Turkish Airlines Open winner Thorbjorn Olesen who jumped from 32nd to ninth on the Race to Dubai following his three-shot triumph in Belek. Olesen’s victory has also seen him leap-frog 23 places to be the new World No. 69.
Triple Major winning Padraig Harrington believes after Olesen collected a fourth European Tour victory, the next step for the 26-year old could be representing Europe in a Ryder Cup.
Olesen had been invited by one of four European Ryder Cup vice-captains in fellow Dane, Thomas Bjorn to join the team at Hazeltine as part of a learning process for Olesen.
And it was this experience Harrington believes could lead to Olesen becoming only the second Scandinavian player to win a Major Championship.
“When you are that close and watching other players as Thorbjorn was at Hazeltine, I am sure he could see he is every bit as good as them and in some way better, and that could only have helped him,” said Harrington.
“I think it is a good learning experience for anybody, to be around in a situation like that with the best players in Europe playing in the Ryder Cup.
“You are around them all week and you see their strengths and weaknesses and you understand you have strengths and weaknesses and maybe not to be focussing on your own weakness so much because you can see that nobody’s perfect.”
Danny Willett, who has just two top-10 finishes since being fitted last April with the famed Augusta National members green jacket, has now dropped to 11th in the world golf rankings.