Showtime exec on potential for Mayweather-Pacquiao 2: It's up to the people

After Manny Pacquiao’s dominant performance against Timothy Bradley on Saturday, it appeared as though we had finally reached the end of both the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao eras.

Not so fast.

Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza believes that there’s a possibility that not only will both fight again, but a rematch of their 2015 megafight could also be on the table. All the general public has to do is ask for it.

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao exchange punches during their May 2, 2015 bout. (AFP)
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao exchange punches during their May 2, 2015 bout. (AFP)

Espinoza told RingTV that he was impressed by Pacquiao’s performance and spoke to Mayweather over the weekend to gauge his interest in fighting again. The impression he got was that Mayweather would consider coming out of retirement if there were enough fan interest in a rematch.

“I thought Pacquiao looked good, looked as good as he has looked in the last three or four years,” Espinoza said. “He was active. He showed the power. He was quick. But really in terms of a Mayweather rematch, it’s really up to the audience, to the fans and the writers. I know from talking to Floyd — if there’s demand for a particular fight — I think he will give it strong consideration. But I think this is one where we’re not going to put the cart before the horse. If people are interested in that fight then I think they’ll make their voices heard and we’ll start working on it.”

Ever since he defeated Andre Berto last September, Mayweather has been adamant that he is retired. However, in recent weeks he has eased up on that statement and gone as far as suggesting that he didn’t know what the future held. Mayweather was in attendance to watch Adrien Broner call him out after beating the Mayweather-promoted Ashley Theophane on April 1. Mayweather laughed off that challenge but perhaps another massive payday against Manny Pacquiao, who was impressive in dispatching of Bradley, could lure him back into a boxing ring.

“It’s certainly more interesting now than it was a couple weeks ago,” Espinoza said of a potential rematch. “With that performance, what Manny showed is that he still has the ability to perform at a high level and arguably at a higher level than he did last May. So whatever the reason, if people believe that the outcome or really the fight will be different this time, I think there could be some interest that is building for that fight.”

The record-breaking pay-per-view fight that ended up grossing over $600 million took place last May after years of hype. However, the fight failed to live up to expectations as Mayweather cruised to a one-sided unanimous decision victory. But the reason the action ended up being underwhelming comes down to whom you believe. Either Mayweather was a defensive dynamo that neutralized Pacquiao’s offense, or the shoulder injury sustained to the Filipino in training hindered his explosiveness. Either way, if Pacquiao’s performance against Bradley was any indication, a rematch could be far more interesting than the first fight. And if the fans want it, Mayweather will consider giving it to them.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. gestures during a press conference following his win over Manny Pacquiao. (AP)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. gestures during a press conference following his win over Manny Pacquiao. (AP)

“My sense is that Floyd is waiting for something to sort of pique his interest,” Espinoza said. “And if there is somebody out there that people want him to fight and there’s a big push or if he sees a fighter rise up that’s all of a sudden a big challenge to him – I think that’s what he’s looking for, something that will motivate him to get back into camp.”

But the ball isn’t only in Mayweather’s court. Pacquiao said that his stance on retirement is firm after promising his family that he will focus on being a husband, father and politician. Pacquiao did state that he’s “50/50” because he still believes he can compete at a high level. He will just have to convince his family that a hefty payday will be worth fighting again.

Let the speculation about Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 officially begin.