Pacquiao, Mayweather share MMA interest
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An interest in mixed martial arts is something that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. have in common but it’s unlikely they’ll ever face off in the octagon. Mayweather said recently if he makes a comeback as a fighter, it will be in MMA not in the boxing ring.

Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao isn’t entertaining any notion of fighting in MMA. His interest in MMA is purely as an investor. Pacquiao disclosed to BBC Sport in a recent interview that he has invested in ONE Championship, a Singapore-based MMA promotion launched in 2011 with a global broadcast reach of over a billion homes in 128 countries. ONE Championship has a reported capital of over $100 Million and has produced events in Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Dubai, Taipei, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hefei, Yangon, Singapore, Changsha and Macau. 

“I am a shareholder of ONE Championship, so both sides (boxing and MMA) I have an interest in,” Pacquiao told BBC Sport. “But I will not enter into it or fight in MMA.” Pacquiao has his own boxing outfit MP Promotions that has staged events solely or in joint ventures in Beijing, the Philippines, Macau and the US. MP Promotions is producing Pacquiao’s fight against WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina in Kuala Lumpur on July 15.

Pacquiao, who is busy training for Matthysse, said MMA isn’t a threat to boxing as a competitor for both fans and advertising revenue. “Boxing is boxing, it will always be there,” he said. 

As for taking on Mayweather in a rematch, Pacquiao said he’s open to it. “Floyd and I are in contact,” he said without hinting if they’ve ever discussed the possibility of a return duel. Pacquiao, 39, said he’s not done with boxing. “This is not my last fight,” he said, referring to his coming bout against Matthysse. “I want to prove that my career is not over. Boxing is my passion, I love to fight. I keep fighting because I love raising the flag of the Philippines. I want to inspire people all over the world. I came from nothing and I want people to realize that you can become something even if you come from nothing. I want them to remember me after my career not only as a champion but as being an inspiration to everyone, being a good person.”

Mayweather, 41, said he’s ruling out a comeback as a professional boxer. But he’s repeatedly unretired in the past so nothing is ever final with “Money” Mayweather if the price is right. One of Mayweather’s claims to fame is compiling a 50-0 record, including 27 KOs, in the ring, eclipsing the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark. But Mexico’s Ricardo Lopez holds the record for most wins in an unbeaten career, retiring in 2001 at the age of 35 with a 51-0-1 slate, including 38 KOs, as the IBF lightflyweight champion. Thailand’s reigning WBC minimumweight titlist Wanheng Menayothin, 32, has a shot at setting a new record as he’s still active with a 50-0 mark, including 18 KOs, in a career that started in 2007.

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