Mayweather needs Manny to stay relevant
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Floyd Mayweather Jr. has announced that he’s coming out of a third retirement to fight this year and there are hints that Money is considering two events with UFC president Dana White in his team. Mayweather hasn’t fought an official fight since halting MMA brawler Conor McGregor in 2017 to raise his unblemished record to 50-0 but made a cameo 139-second appearance to demolish Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa for $9 million in Saitama a year later.

Mayweather will be 43 on Feb. 24 and it appears he may finally stop running to face the man who’s been chasing him for five years. Super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao, 41, has called out Mayweather for a rematch that could happen in the fall. They met in 2015, set a new pay-per-view record with 4.6 million buys and raked in P72.2 million in gate receipts to create the richest fight in history. It makes sense to do a repeat, particularly as Pacquiao was dazzling in defeating Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman last year with fans conjuring visions of Mayweather losing his perfect record in a classic Hero vs. Villain matchup.

Pacquiao’s Australian strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune, who runs a gym in Los Angeles, said Mayweather needs Pacquiao to stay relevant. “For Mayweather, irrelevance is death,” said Fortune in an overseas phone interview. “I think the fans would pay to watch a rematch. Remember, when they first fought, Manny would’ve beaten him for sure if not for that shoulder injury in the fourth round. In a rematch, Manny wins, no question about it. That could set up a trilogy, why not? Mayweather’s about money and I think with the way Manny’s been fighting, fans want to see him win a rematch. Mayweather hasn’t fought in a while and Manny continues to stay active. Mayweather won’t beat Manny again.”

Fortune said he has no idea whom Pacquiao will face next and when. “That’s up to Manny,” he said. “The thing about Manny is even if he hasn’t fought since July, he keeps in shape, he stays fit. He can’t sit still. Once a fight is confirmed, he’ll be ready.”

It’s possible that Pacquiao could take on former two-time world champion Danny Garcia in the summer. Garcia, 31, is coming off a seventh round disposal of Adrian Granados and will battle Ukraine’s Ivan Redkach in Brooklyn on Jan. 25. “Garcia takes out Redkach in six or seven,” said Fortune. “If Garcia fights Manny, it doesn’t go 12 rounds. Garcia will be right there for Manny. He doesn’t take a step back. Garcia will stay in front of Manny and he’ll get hit.”

Fortune laughed off the possibility of Pacquiao meeting McGregor. The Irishman lost to Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov on a submission off a neck crank in October 2018 and will lock horns with Donald Cerrone in a UFC contest at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila). McGregor said he wants a rematch with Mayweather and didn’t rule out engaging Pacquiao.

“Fighting McGregor does nothing for Manny’s legacy,” said Fortune. “It’s silly. When Manny leaves boxing, he’ll retire as one of the top three best boxers of all time. I don’t think Manny fighting McGregor will ever happen.”

Regarding unbeaten IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence, Fortune said it may take several months before he fights again. Spence figured in a car accident in Dallas in October last year. “Spence’s a dangerous fighter if he’s in condition,” said Fortune. “But we don’t know how he’s recovering. It’s common sense to take about 10 months of rest from an accident like that then he should do a warm-up fight to find out if he’s still functioning the way he used to. You don’t walk away from an accident and fight Manny to see if you’re ready. Spence’s problem is he doesn’t get insurance for the accident because he was a DUI. That means he’ll need some money to pay for his hospital and rehab bills.”

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