FLOYD Mayweather Jr. is that you?
In a rare, un-Mayweather-like moment, the unbeaten boxing champion praised nemesis Manny Pacquiao and looked forward to fighting the ring icon from Philippines in a highly-anticipated showdown.
“I think Pacquiao’s an unbelievable fighter, and hopefully we can make the fight happen in the future,” Floyd Jr. told Sports Illustrated in his first public interview since he was released last week after two months in jail for domestic misdemeanor.
The compliment was a big surprise especially coming from a brash talking-fighter who once launched a tirade against the soft-spoken Pacquiao which the Filipino had deemed as racist. He had also accused his rival of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Mayweather, who now sports thin, curly hair, attended the VIP screening of the movie Freelancers, starring Robert de Niro, Forest Whitaker and rapper and friend 50 Cent, who has been named in recent reports as Floyd Jr’s new promoter.
The entry of 50 Cent to the picture has raised new hope for a possible Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, a mega-rich fight whose negotiations had been stalled time and again since 2009 owing to disagreements between rival promoters Golden Boy (Mayweather) and Top Rank (Pacquiao).
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is currently in the country for a meeting with Pacquiao regarding his next fight supposed to be scheduled on November 10.
The former boxing champion and Sarangani congressman expressed his preference to fight Mayweather, and is willing to forego a November schedule if it meant meeting Floyd Jr. early in 2013.
But Arum has already given him three possible choices in case a deal with Mayweather is not made. Heading the list is Timothy Bradley, who wrested Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown last June in a controversial split decision, Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez, and Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto.