Sports fans around the world held their breath in anticipation last winter as it became obvious that Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were nearing the finish line for a welterweight title bout between the two superstars.
Mayweather won that bout on May 2 in Las Vegas and has subsequently announced his retirement following a Sept. 12 victory over Andre Berto.
But that hasn't stopped rumors of a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch. The source of the latest rumor, though, is a bit unusual.
Pacquiao himself told Agence France Presse during a trip to Doha that he was in talks for either a rematch with Mayweather or a bout with Amir Khan. He also said there is a chance the fight could be held in the Middle East.
Pacquiao, a member of Congress in his native Philippines, has recently announced a run for the Senate there. Thus, he needs to fight in the U.S. no later than April 9 so he can return to campaign. But he told an AFP reporter that he was in talks to face Mayweather.
I will fight anybody, anywhere. I am going to fight probably before the election. The election is coming next year, May, and before that I will probably have one fight.
Notice that Pacquiao did not specifically mention Mayweather's name in that quote, though the story written by the AFP reporter says that.
The news came as a shock to Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, who said he regarded Mayweather as retired and said he had had no contact with anyone about a rematch.
"I have no idea what he's talking about," Arum told Yahoo Sports. "He said it, not me. But I have had no talks with anyone about that. None. Zero. Not one. Mayweather is retired and I take him at his word. But second, you know there is no way that Mayweather is ever going to fight in the Gulf, even if he did decide to fight again, so it's all [expletive]."
Arum said he suspected that the cause of confusion was a language barrier. English is Pacquiao's second language and Arum didn't know how good the AFP reporter's English is. He said something may have been lost in translation and that one side or the other didn't understand fully.
Arum said he's been talking to Khan's representatives, but said three other fights will also be considered. If Timothy Bradley and Terence Crawford win their upcoming fights, respectively, they will be considered for a match with Pacquiao, Arum said. In addiiton, he said Top Rank president Todd duBoef is flying to Mexico City during the weekend to meet with Juan Manuel Marquez's Mexican promoter, Fernando Beltran.
Arum said he doesn't know if Marquez is interested in fighting again or, if he is, if he'd be interested in a fifth fight with Pacquiao. But Arum said that Top Rank will at least look into the possibility.
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe couldn't be reached for comment.
But Arum's guess is the most likely answer. Is it out of the realm of possibility that Mayweather will at some point unretire and consider a Pacquiao rematch? No. But it's not even one month since his retirement.
It just doesn't sound right, so don't get your hopes up any time soon for Mayweather-Pacquao II. (That is, if you would be even interested at all, given the result of the first fight).