Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao could come out of retirement and face each other in a rematch of their $410m (£281m) megafight from 2015, according to promoter Bob Arum. Both fighters have hung up their gloves in the last eight months, but the pair continue to be linked with one last foray into the ring.
Mayweather (49-0) retired with an unbeaten record last September after vanquishing Andre Berton and has since denied any suggestion he may be tempted to return to the sport for a third time. However, while ringside for Badou Jack's win over Lucian Bute on 30 April, the American said he was in discussions over a comeback.
After losing to Mayweather in May last year, Pacquiao – who has recently been under fire for making homophobic comments – underwent shoulder surgery before his final bout against Timothy Bradley, which ended with the Filipino claiming a unanimous decision win before calling time on his career. But Pacquiao's former promoter Arum, the Top Rank chief executive, says the pair could yet clash one last time.
"I would say there is a possibility a rematch happens, yes," he said, according to ESPN. "How big a possibility that is, I can't really measure." Mayweather and Pacquiao's fight in May 2015 smashed pay-per-view and live gate records and is regarded as the richest fight in the sport's history. A rematch would generate significant interest, even though it would likely fall short of the figures produced from their first bout.
Speculation Mayweather is ready to come out of retirement for a third time were sparked in New York when he told broadcaster Showtime he had entered into discussions with television companies over a comeback fight. The 39-year-old remains one victory short of achieving 50 without defeat or drawing – a milestone no boxer has reached.
"I'm happy to be where I'm at," he told Showtime. "Everyone is asking, asking me, 'Is Floyd Mayweather coming back?' "Right now, I'm happy on this side, but I've been talking with CBS and Showtime and you just never know. As of right now, you know, some crazy numbers have been thrown my way, upwards of, of course, nine figures.
"I'm truly blessed, way beyond belief. I don't know what we're going to do, but right now, I'm happy being on this side helping fighters. If I came back, of course, it would have to be a nine-figure payday and probably a championship fight."