Pacquiao-Mayweather 2 still alive

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EDDIE G. ALINEA

LOS ANGELES: World Boxing Association welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, who is currently in this, the world’s entertainment capital, for the penultimate leg of his preparation for his first defense of his title against American challenger Adrien Broner.

The fight where he is staking his crown takes place exactly a week from now on Saturday, January 19 (Sunday, January 20 Manila time) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Being the biggest Filipino sports luminary presently in the city, the eight-division world titlist was invited to be a special guest in the celebration of the NBA Filipino Heritage Week held annually in honor of the Filipino followers and supporters of the oldest and biggest pro-basketball league in the world.

And so, the Filipino fighting senator, with beautiful wife Jinkee in tow, went to the Staple Center on Tuesday night to watch the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Charlotte Hornets, 129-108.

But that wasn’t the real story of Pacquiao’ visit to Staple Center. The presence, too, of archrival Floyd Mayweather Jr. was.

Mayweather lives in Los Angeles and often goes to Clippers games, which he did Tuesday night.

And, well, the two legendary fighters, who fought five years ago, ran into each other courtside at Staples Center.

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Pacquiao left at halftime to get a good night’s rest as his fight with Broner draws inches closer. He met Floyd, who was also seated at courtside, right across the Filipino icon. They shook hands and talked a little in whispers.

Nobody knew what the two talked about. Maybe, just maybe, the Filipino ring icon reminded the owner of the undefeated 50-0 win-loss record of his promise to unretire to meet him anew in a rematch, possibly later this year after the Broner fight, which, based on the American’s latest statements, he seems denying.

That happened after Manny helped throw some Filipino Heritage t-shirts. Mayweather didn’t seem all that interested in seeing Pacquiao at all. It was like he was saying a quick hello to some fan that came up to him.

And, maybe, Floyd answered back, also in whisper: “Don’t worry, Manny, I won’t forget that. Don’t believe in rumors going around. I’m committed to unretire to face you again and we’ll talk about that later after this fight.”

And that’s exactly what Manny told media men where, during the Media Day that followed the next day at the Wild Card Gym of former chief trainer Freddie Roach, he uttered when asked: “I can’t talk about future fights (against Mayweather) untiI I do what I have to do (beat Broner) on January 19). You can ask me again after this one.”

“My plan is to take it one fight at a time, he added. “This fight means a lot. It’s my first fight at the age of 40 so I’m excited to give my best and show the world what I can still do.”

“Boxing is my passion, and public service is my mission. I love to bring honor to my country,” he assured. Before the accidental meeting, Pacquiao had said he wants a rematch with Mayweather but Floyd has said he’s retired.

As I said, no one was privy as to what really happened. None from Team Pacquiao’s media group was given ticket so that what was reported after the event was that Pacquiao instead challenged Mayweather to a game on one-on-one basketball.

Fans worldwide are disappointed when the “Money,” through an Instagram post moments before his exhibition match against Japanese Tenhin Nasukawa, Mayweather said:

“I’m retired. I’m just having a little fun entertaining my fans but I’m still going to pick up that bag (of cash) and have a little fun for nine minutes.”

The undefeated American may not totally be ruling out the Pacquiao 2 fight, but when asked inside his dressing room after knocking out his young 20-year old opponent in the first round, if he was, indeed, coming back from retirement, he did confirm he won’t be.

“I’m not coming back. I’m still retired. I just came over here (to Japan) as they got a little guy who is shorter than me,” Mayweather said.

But now that the duo met again in LA, hopes of the Pacquiao-Mayweather 2 sprung back.

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