LOS ANGELES – Not one to back out from any challenge, Manny Pacquiao said he’s ready to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a possible rematch next year.
But he wants himself to be 100 percent healthy once their paths crossed again as he plans to recuperate from the shoulder injury that hampered his performance in his much-hyped welterweight title showdown against the unbeaten Mayweather last weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Oo naman, fight tayo,” said Pacquiao on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) when asked about the statement made by Mayweather about facing him anew in the ring by 2016.
“Pero pahinga muna tayo. Pagalingin muna natin `yung balikat tsaka natin pag-usapan (ang rematch).”
Earlier, Mayweather hinted about giving Pacquiao another shot at him in a rematch between two of the biggest names in boxing today, even if the first one fell way short of expectations.
“I will fight him next year after his surgery,” the 38-year-old Mayweather, now 48-0, with 26 KOs after beating Pacquiao by unanimous decision, 116-112, 116-112, 118-110, said in a tweet to Stephen Smith of ESPN.
Pacquiao, though, will have a lot of things to worry about before he can think of a rematch. He is set to undergo surgery this week for a rotator cuff tear that could sideline him for up to a year, meaning a second match between the two won't happen until around this time next year.
The Filipino ring hero also faces a class action suit in the US seeking damages for anyone who paid to watch his fight because he failed to disclose his shoulder was injured.
Pacquiao, who was supposed to return to the Philippines on Thursday, has postponed his trip home until after the surgery to be performed by the same doctor that operated on LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant recently.
The Filipino southpaw, however, would not discuss the sensitive matter about the class suit filed against him and his handlers.
Owing to his injury, the eight-time world division champion is doubtful if he’s still going to fight later this year.
Asked if he’s going to have a tune-up fight first in 2016 before his return bout with Mayweather, Pacquiao said he’s more than willing to face the American great straight from recovering from his injury.
“Puwedeng diretso na,” he said.