RING legends Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis have added their voice to the clamor for a 'grand finale' between pound-for-pound kings Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Moments after Mayweather's majority decision win over a scrappy Marcos Maidana on Sunday, both Ali and Lewis came out with public statements encouraging the two celebrated fighters to push through with a long-awaited showdown that has been years in the making.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account @MuhammadAli, the boxer recognized as ‘The Greatest’ congratulated Mayweather for the close win over Maidana before egging on the outspoken American to begin working on the Pacquiao fight.
“Congratulations Floyd Mayweather. Maybe after you rest up, we can see you rumble with Manny Pacquiao,” posted Ali in his verified account managed by his official publicist.
Lewis, another former heavyweight champion, said it's the only fight he wants to see right now.
“Honestly, the only fight I want to see for Mayweather is Pacquiao,” tweeted Lewis with the hashtag #TheGrandFinale.
During his time, Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay, fought the best fighters in his division, from Joe Frazier to Leon Spinks to Ken Norton to Sonny Liston to George Foreman.
In contrast, talks over a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, concededly bound to become the richest fight in boxing history, have time and again bogged down due to several issues, from drug-testing procedures to disagreements between rival promoters.
There is also the general impression that Mayweather just won't stake his unbeaten record against a hard puncher like Pacquiao - a belief only bolstered by his close shave against Maidana.
“May takot naman talaga si Mayweather. Kita mo ilang ulit na namin siyang pinagbibigyan sa mga demands niya, pero every time magkakasunod na sa laban, biglang may bagong hihingin,” said Nonoy Neri, Pacquiao’s conditioning assistant and nutrionist.
“Kami naman ready na labanan si Floyd anytime. Siya ba ready na kay boss (Pacquiao)?” added the now Davao City-based trainer.
Pacquiao himself bared to Spin.ph his most recent attempt to negotiate with Team Mayweather last December, which the American fighter readily dismissed.
And with the scare Mayweather got from the much slower Maidana, Sports Radio anchorman Renato Lirio expects the flamboyant fighter to only distance himself from a Pacquiao fight.
“Lumalabas na ang edad ni Mayweather. Tingin ko sa nilaro ni Mayweather against Maidana, matutulog 'yun,” said the veteran boxing commentator.
“Yung style nga ni Maidana na higit na mabagal kay Manny eh at halos alam mong puro galing sa taas ang suntok, hindi nakuhang i-dominate ni Mayweather, paano pa si Pacquiao na mayroong bilis at iba’t ibang klase ng suntok yung bata natin.”
Even American fans who saw the WBA-WBC unification bout Sunday were convinced that Mayweather is there for the taking for the Pacman.
“I think Pacquiao would beat Mayweather,” tweeted LA Lakers’ fan based account @LASportsRadio. “Pacman is a lot more accurate though - with power!”
British boxer and former Pacquiao sparring partner Amir Khan said he ‘saw decline and weakness in Floyd’ after the 114-114, 117-111 and 116-112 victory over the more aggressive Maidana.