Ryan Garcia appeared to confirm a fight against Manny Pacquiao, saying it would be "a dream turned reality".

Garcia (21-0) was reported to be in talks for a bout against Filipino great Pacquiao (62-7-2).

The American seemed to confirm that fight was going ahead in an Instagram post on Sunday.

"A dream turned reality," Garcia wrote.

"It's an honour to share the ring with @mannypacquiao. I will always respect what you did in and out the ring.

"Here's to the best man winning."

Garcia fought on January 2, beating Luke Campbell to win the interim WBC lightweight title.

Pacquiao, 42, was last in action in July 2019 in a split-decision victory over Keith Thurman to win the WBA welterweight crown.

Floyd Mayweather Jr does not think anyone wants to see Conor McGregor return to boxing to face Manny Pacquiao following the Irishman's defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Sunday.

Poirier became the first man to knockout McGregor in mixed martial arts with a string of punches to the head during the second round of their lightweight bout in Abu Dhabi.

It was the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion's first fight in a year and his second since being submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

His bout with Nurmagomedov came after he switched to boxing to take on former five-division champion Mayweather, who came out of retirement and put his 49-0 record on the line.

Mayweather triumphed over McGregor by TKO in round 10, but the Irishman has been linked with a return to the ring to face Pacquiao – an eight-division champion and the WBA welterweight title holder.

However, it has been reported Pacquiao is closing in on an agreement with Ryan Garcia and McGregor's loss to Poirier will have done his chances of facing the Filipino no good.

Mayweather likened the prospect of Pacquiao, who he defeated by unanimous decision in their long-awaited welterweight bout in 2015, taking on McGregor as "my leftovers eating leftovers".

Sharing an image of a post asking why Mayweather is hated for the way he carries himself, but McGregor is loved for acting in the same manner, he wrote: "I seen this post and my take on it is that the world knows Con Artist McLoser can steal everything from me and be loved but I'm hated. That just lets you all know that racism still exist.

"Just know, that bum will never be me or be on my level. I'm just built different, my mindset is on another planet, my skills are second to none, I'm a natural born winner and yes I talk a lot of trash, but every time I back it up! This is what they hate.

"It's sad that you can be a poor black kid from the ghetto that has dealt with racism your whole life and work extremely hard to put yourself and your family in a better position, and most of the hate comes from my own people.

"Conor cannot even win in his own sport, but talking about coming back to boxing to fight Pacquiao. Nobody wants to see that, it's like my leftovers eating leftovers."

Prior to his fight with Poirier, McGregor said he was committed to a prolonged stint in the UFC's lightweight division.

Despite his loss, the 32-year-old said he feels there are still plenty of match-ups in the Octagon that interest him.

Terence Crawford said he was looking for a fight against Manny Pacquiao after defending his WBO welterweight title on Saturday.

In action for the first time in almost a year, Crawford improved to 37-0 and retained his WBO crown with a fourth-round knockout of Kell Brook at the MGM Grand.

The American said he was eyeing a bout with WBA holder Pacquiao, 41, next.

"I'm looking to secure a Pacquiao fight," Crawford told ESPN.

"We were close to securing a Pacquiao fight prior to this fight, but being that COVID was getting out of hand, the fans couldn't attend the fight so we had to put a halt to it.

"That's when we decided to go with Kell Brook, he was the next known welterweight that was available to fight so now we're going to go back to the drawing board and try to revisit that fight with Manny Pacquiao."

Unbeaten and holding the WBC and IBF welterweight titles, Errol Spence Jr. was touted as Crawford's potential next opponent.

Spence will defend his titles against Danny Garcia in Texas on December 5.

Crawford's promoter Bob Arum believes Spence (26-0) is trying to avoid Crawford.

"Errol Spence will try to avoid Terence Crawford as long as he can because he knows he can't beat Terence Crawford," he said.

"You saw the performance tonight. He'll take out Errol Spence in about the same number of rounds like he took out Kell Brook."

UFC stars Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier have agreed to face one another in a charity mixed martial arts fight.

The pair discussed the exhibition proposed by McGregor – who claimed to be retired for a third time in June – on Twitter, with the former featherweight and lightweight champion saying it would have "zero to do with the UFC".

The Irishman said the proceeds of a pay-per-view deal could be donated to charities chosen by both fighters and suggested a date of December 12 in Dublin.

In a tweet to Poirier, McGregor said: "Hey bro! You want to do an MMA charity fight? Zero to do with the UFC.

"I will donate half a mil [sic] towards your charity for it. Sell it on PPV or work a TV deal and we work out other charities that are close to my heart also. I am engaged in many. Strictly a charity 'exhibition'.

"No weigh ins. Open weight, unified rules. I will arrange all travel fare for you and family. McGregor Sports and Entertainment MMA, in association with The Good Fight Foundation."

Poirier responded: "I'm in! Let's do it! A lot of people will benefit from this."

At that point, McGregor said they should continue the conversation in private.

McGregor was the victor when he fought Poirier at UFC 178 in September 2014, scoring a first-round TKO.

The 32-year-old is set to return to the boxing ring and face eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, whose camp has said he will donate his earnings from the fight to victims of the coronavirus pandemic in the Philippines.

Talks are ongoing and no date or venue has been set, though McGregor claimed it would take place in the Middle East.

Conor McGregor slammed the UFC for holding him back from fighting in the octagon as the former champion switches to boxing and prepares for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

McGregor and boxing legend Pacquiao are set to go head-to-head in the ring in 2021 – a huge portion of the earnings to be donated to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the latter's aide Jayke Joson said on Saturday.

Irishman McGregor announced his decision to retire in June, having returned to the UFC in January after a 15-month absence and knocked out Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds.

McGregor has not fought since – the former featherweight and lightweight champion had been planning to fight three times in 2020, but the COVID-19 crisis scuppered that strategy.

UFC president Dana White has previously hinted at a possible comeback next year after revealing he is working on some "fun stuff" for McGregor, however, the 32-year-old hit out via Instagram.

"The very first shot of the fight," McGregor wrote as he discussed his 2017 defeat to unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. "Right on the button through the guard. I didn't even put anything into that shot. Just placed it. It was hard for me not to dwell on the full 12 rounds that were potentially ahead of me and hold back my shots early.

"Still tho [sic] right on the absolute button. The first punch thrown. Remember the experts saying I wouldn't land even one lol. I landed more than them all. The picture above is the very first punch of the fight thrown, and landed, and inside the very first second of the fight. Bums all of them 'experts'. Listen to none of them! Really I should have just sat right thru that shot and took his head off and f*** the distance. If it didn't work out just give him a good boot into the neck and get DQ'd [disqualified] and fined and who'd give a f***. I'm upset I fully followed the rules for that fight to be honest. Floyd deserved a volley at the least. A shoulder even, break the face.

"Manny not so much tho [sic] I don't think, but I will see how the build-up goes and wait to hear what bitter old Freddie Roach has to say and then make a decision. My Whiskeys at half a b and climbing I could take a fine. I'd rather fight MMA anyway not sure why I've been held back like this, it's borderline criminal at this stage.

"The biggest number generator in the game asking for four fights since February this year and getting left on seen. It's pretty f***** up when I keep thinking of it. I've been right here this whole time. Bob Chapek, do you copy! I repeat, Bob Chapek - Do You Copy!

"Anyways boxing it is for now and I'm up for this! I hope no bottling takes place here. I'm already agreeing to these limited rules and holding back my full array of weapons. Let's get it going guys. Much love, the champ champ."

Manny Pacquiao will fight former UFC champion Conor McGregor in 2021 to raise money for victims of coronavirus.

On Friday, McGregor – who sensationally retired in June – claimed he was set to step into the ring with boxing legend Pacquiao in the Middle East next year.

Pacquiao's camp confirmed the bout on Saturday, with the 41-year-old's Filipino aide Jayke Joson saying via ESPN: "For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year.

"The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic."

McGregor – who has not fought since his win over Donald Cerrone in January – lost to unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017.

Pacquiao (62-7-2) fought twice last year, winning the WBA (Super) welterweight title by beating Keith Thurman in July 2019.

Conor McGregor claimed he was set to fight Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East in his next outing.

McGregor, a former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, sensationally retired in June, but it was hinted earlier this month that the Irishman would return next year.

After a long Twitter rant during which he vented his frustration at a lack of action this year – his only fight has been a win over Donald Cerrone in January – McGregor said he was set for a return to boxing.

McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017 and is now set to meet 41-year-old Filipino Pacquiao.

"I'm boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East," he wrote.

"It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era, afraid of a fight."

Pacquiao (62-7-2) fought twice last year, winning the WBA (Super) welterweight title by beating Keith Thurman in July 2019.

Jose Ramirez is motivated by the prospect of facing some of the biggest names in boxing as he plots a move to welterweight - but not before he has a unification showdown with Josh Taylor.

The reigning WBC and WBO light-welterweight champion, Ramirez defends his titles on Saturday when he takes on experienced challenger Viktor Postol in Las Vegas.

It is a bout that looks set to finally go ahead at the third attempt, as initial dates in February and May were scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The postponements have seen Ramirez inactive for over a year, yet the Californian says the time since his impressive stoppage win over Maurice Hooker in July 2019 has gone by like a "blur".

While he must deal with Postol first, the 28-year-old is already plotting ahead as he targets Scotsman Taylor, who currently holds the WBA and IBF titles, and is willing to travel to make it happen.

"I do want that fight, for sure. That's the fight I want next. That's still my plan," Ramirez told Stats Perform News. 

"Not to be insincere, I know he has a mandatory late September so if the fight doesn't happen this year, it could happen early next year.   

"Now, as far as the venue, I would be excited to go to the United Kingdom and fight there. I would be more than happy and motivated to do that.  

"I think it would be lovely for me to be able to showcase my talent in front of a whole different crowd, different fans. I would be willing to do that, whatever it takes for the fight to happen and wherever it's going to bring the most momentum."

Whenever and wherever the Taylor fight takes place, Ramirez acknowledged that he has a limited amount of time left at the 10-stone limit. A switch to welterweight not only makes life easier on the scales but also opens up a number of lucrative possibilities, too. 

Terence Crawford holds the WBO title, while Errol Spence Jr has the IBF and WBC belts. Then there is the legendary Manny Pacquiao, who sits in the position of 'super' champion with the WBA. 

"I think there's two more fights at 140 [the light-welterweight limit], hopefully, and then I move to 147," Ramirez said when asked about his long-term future. 

"It's time for me to let my body grow and see how much I can develop and let my power also develop and put some extra mass and be a bigger fighter that I know I can be.   

"If it's Terence Crawford or any other champion, my goal will be to become a world champion at 147 as well." 

He added: "I think those things motivate me the most. So, two more fights and I will be happy to make that move to 147, especially if I fight Josh Taylor for all four belts.   

"There wouldn't be any reason to stay at 140. I know there's some good 135-pounders out there, but nothing motivates me [more] than the names Crawford, Pacquaio, Spence – those types of champions. 

"I know if I let my body grow, I know I could be a much better 147-pounder than a 140-pounder."

Promoter Bob Arum has revealed a fight between Terence Crawford and Manny Pacquiao could still be on the cards, potentially before the end of 2020.

A bout between the two has long been talked about but has failed to materialise, though Top Rank boss Arum has raised hopes over what would be a lucrative showdown.

WBO welterweight champion Crawford plans to be in action before the end of the year after twice defending his title in 2019, recording stoppage victories over Amir Khan and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

A unification clash with Pacquiao, who holds the WBA 'Super' title, is a possibility, albeit "nothing is concrete" as negotiations continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Pacquiao fight, obviously we'd like to do it," Arum – who promotes Crawford – told BoxingScene.com.

"Whether we can do it, how we can do it, that's what we're figuring out now.

"Obviously, if it can happen it'll happen, and if it can't happen, it won't happen. But nothing is concrete on that. We hope we can do it. We're trying, but this is not a usual situation."

Whether it is Pacquiao next remains to be seen, but Crawford has been told to be ready for action in November.

Kell Brook, the former IBF champion, has also been rumoured as a potential option for 'Bud', who boasts an unblemished 36-fight record in the paid ranks.

"We told Terence that he's scheduled to fight in November," Arum added.

"If it can't be Pacquiao for various reasons, then we'll match him with somebody else. But we told Terence to prepare for mid-November, whether it's November 14 or 21."

Terence Crawford is likely to return to the ring in September or October and a fight against Manny Pacquiao is the preferred option, says his promoter Bob Arum.

American Crawford, who is the WBO welterweight champion and undefeated in 36 career bouts, ideally wishes to return when spectators are allowed back into venues once the coronavirus pandemic has eased sufficiently.

Pacquiao, 41, was previously a Top Rank fighter like Crawford but did not face him during that period.

His last fight was a split decision victory over Keith Thurman in July 2019, while Crawford, who is seeking a high-profile contest, stopped Egidijus Kavaliauskas in December.

The other options to fight Crawford are Kell Brook, Yordenis Ugas, Shawn Porter and Thurman.

"We're going to have Terence fight in September, or October, period," Arum said, per ESPN.

"We're looking to either match him with Pacquiao, Kell Brook, Ugas or Porter."

Of facing Pacquiao, Arum added to talkSPORT: "That's the opponent that I would most like Terence to fight, and I think he would.

"Now, that requires a lot of money and we've had proposals from the Mid-East. 

"I don't know whether the Mid-East venues will allow spectators this year, they may not allow it until there's a vaccine. That is the problem.

"We're hamstrung because none of these [venues] want to commit to a fight this year because of the coronavirus.

"Otherwise, we have to look for Terence Crawford to fight a major welterweight. There are a number that are possibilities. Thurman, Porter or this kid Ugas, the Cuban who is a good, good welterweight.

"They're with Al [Haymon's] company PBC, but we're working well together with that company, so I don't think that'll be a problem.

"And then finally there is Kell Brook, whose management contacts me on almost a weekly basis.

"So the first possibility is Pacquiao, if that's possible. Second possibility is a fight against one of Al's guys. And the third possibility is Kell Brook if we can get him in the United States."

Manny Pacquiao has suggested Floyd Mayweather Jr is jealous of his prolonged career after the American labelled the veteran welterweight an "old man".

Mayweather was critical of younger fighters "chasing" a bout with 41-year-old Pacquiao, who won his most recent fight against the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to claim the WBA super welterweight title last July.

However, Pacquiao has little regard for Mayweather's comments, claiming the 43-year-old, who last fought in 2017 against UFC star Conor McGregor, wishes he was still fighting.

"He is just envious because he's already retired. We're still active and have a crown," Pacquiao told The Manila Times.

"I'm not thinking about that yet. I'm concerned first and foremost about our countrymen. No retirement [plans] yet. I'm still training, God is good."

With the majority of sporting events currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pacquiao – who is also a senator in the Philippines government – is focused on helping his country's people during the crisis. 

"I'm concerned first and foremost about our countrymen and about how to resolve this [coronavirus] pandemic," he added.

One could argue Manchester United have still not recovered from the departure of the great Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson quit after leading United to the 2012-13 Premier League title, the 13th of his reign and their 20th in total. He won the Champions League twice, too.

United have toiled in the intervening years, unable to replace one of sport's all-time finest leaders.

The announcement of Ferguson's exit came on May 8, 2013, allowing us to reflect on that news among other notable sporting events on this day.
 

2004 - Controversy as Marquez makes recovery

Few boxers are able to recover from the sort of first-round barrage Manny Pacquiao inflicted upon Juan Manuel Marquez in their 2004 featherweight title fight.

And, as it turned out, Marquez should not have been able to either.

The Mexican was sent to the canvas three times before the first round was up and, although he subsequently outboxed Pacquiao, Marquez would have narrowly lost but for a scoring error.

Burt Clements judged the bout 113-113, prompting a draw as Guy Jutras and John Stewart went 115-110 each way. But Clements scored the opening round 10-7 to Pacquiao, rather than 10-6, and later acknowledged: "I screwed up."

Pacquiao had to wait almost four years to defeat Marquez - again by split decision - before another disputed verdict went in his favour in 2011. A year later in their fourth encounter, Marquez took the judges out of the equation with a brutal sixth-round knockout of his great rival.
 

2013 - Ferguson leaves a champion

Having suffered final-day pain at the hands of rivals Manchester City in 2011-12, Ferguson made sure to bow out on a high with the 2012-13 Premier League crown.

After 26 years at the helm, the Scot confirmed his departure on May 8 - this time not backtracking on this decision as he had in 2001.

David Moyes and Jose Mourinho were among the early favourites to replace Ferguson, with the former appointed on the outgoing manager's recommendation.

Moyes' stint was short and unsuccessful, though, and neither Louis van Gaal, Mourinho nor now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have been able to add to United's tally of 20 top-flight championships.
 

2014 - Beckham and Donald arrive in NFL

It is six years since some of the most prominent names in the NFL were drafted, with Odell Beckham Jr and Aaron Donald both selected in 2014.

Beckham went to the New York Giants with the 12th pick, establishing himself as a star at wide receiver before moving on to the Cleveland Browns last year.

Donald is now a two-time Defensive Player of the Year but then followed one pick after Beckham, going to the St Louis Rams. Khalil Mack was another standout at number five.

But the first overall pick was used by the Houston Texans to secure Jadeveon Clowney. Traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, the defensive end is now a free agent looking to put persistent injury troubles behind him.
 

2019 - Another Champions League classic

Just 24 hours after Liverpool stunned Barcelona with a 4-3 aggregate semi-final win, the 2018-19 Champions League was at it again.

Tottenham looked down and out when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech netted for Ajax to add to their 1-0 first-leg lead, with Mauricio Pochettino's men needing three goals in Amsterdam.

However, Lucas Moura netted twice in the space of five second-half minutes, and Spurs kept pushing deep into stoppage time.

With 96 minutes on the clock, Moura struck once more to seal his hat-trick and Tottenham's place alongside Liverpool in the final, leaving a previously inspired young Ajax side bruised and beaten on the turf.

When it comes to whetting the appetite for the big event through a combination of chicanery, politicking and delaying tactics, boxing is a sport in a league of its own.

But, while most leading promoters view their abilities to let an anticipated bout "marinate" as something akin to an art, frustration among fans generally sets in long before the fights they want to happen come to fruition.

Floyd Mayweather Jr's unanimous points win over Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas five years ago today is a case in point.

Talk of pound-for-pound king Mayweather taking on Pacquiao first emerged when the Filipino sensation jumped two weight classes to batter a shopworn Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008. The intervening period did Pacquiao and the sport itself few favours.

As the list below shows, it takes a special fight to handle the weight of such expectation.

JOE FRAZIER v MUHAMMAD ALI I (MARCH 8, 1971)

We can't really blame promoters for the wait for this one, as Ali endured an enforced three-and-a-half-year ring absence following a refusal to be drafted for the Vietnam War. In his absence, Frazier became a formidable heavyweight champion in his own right and, four years on from his previous title defence, Ali had the chance to regain his title at an expectant Madison Square Garden.

Was it worth the wait?

Absolutely. It takes a special fight to live up to and surpass the promotional banner of 'The Fight of the Century'. This was special. Ali's quicksilver skills were to the fore early on but Frazier was typically unrelenting and turned the tide on 'The Greatest'. A signature left hook shook Ali to his boots in round 11 and another put him on the seat of his shorts during a dramatic final round. Frazier won a unanimous points verdict and the most riveting rivalry in boxing history was on the road to the gripping and horrifying brutality of its final act in Manila.

MARVIN HAGLER v TOMMY HEARNS (APRIL 15, 1985)

Middleweight king Hagler was slated to face Hearns three years earlier before the latter suffered a hand injury. A delay became a cancellation, something that left simmering animosity within Hagler. That was stoked by a press tour of 21 cities to promote 'The War'. Enough was enough and, when the first bell sounded at Caesars Palace, the two men promptly set about trying to take each other's heads off.

Was it worth the wait?

Yes, yes and thrice yes. The eight minutes of unruly mayhem Hagler and Hearns shared together are frequently cited as the best fight of all time and serve as a barometer against which all other pretentions for boxing entertainment are measured. The first round remains scarcely believable as both men unloaded a torrent of heavy shots. Both were hurt, Hagler was cut badly but the exertions took more out of Hearns, who was unable to beat the count when 'Marvelous' deposited his exhausted frame on the canvas a minute into round three.

LENNOX LEWIS v MIKE TYSON (JUNE 8, 2002)

After sparring as teenagers, Lewis was unlikely to have anticipated both he and Tyson would be approaching 40 by the time they met in a professional ring. But the Briton's first reign as heavyweight champion coincided with Tyson's prison sentence for rape, while he won the title for a second time against an Evander Holyfield with infamously diminished ears following a rematch with 'Iron Mike'. Throw in both men being on either side of the HBO and Showtime pay-per-view divide, Lewis' shock loss to Hasim Rahman and Tyson biting his foe at the initial media event and it's a wonder their Memphis meeting ever came to pass.

Was it worth the wait?

Lewis will certainly think so because it left him emphatically as the last man standing from a great heavyweight era, with nothing left to prove. However, Tyson was a far cry from the 'Baddest Man on the Planet' by this stage and offered little after a moderately encouraging first round. There was even a sense of Lewis propping him up until the round-eight finale to prolong the punishment. In hindsight, Lewis scrambling through adversity against a prime Vitali Klitschko next time out stands as a better achievement, while Tyson was on his way to back-to-back losses against Danny Williams and Kevin McBride and a sorry career end.

BERNARD HOPKINS v ROY JONES JR (APRIL 3, 2010)

Waiting 17 years and the duration of a record-breaking run as middleweight champion for revenge would drive most men insane. Hopkins is not most men. During their initial fight in 1993, Jones befuddled him over 12 rounds. Both would go on to achieve greatness but stay away from one another's orbits for almost two decades.

Was it worth the wait?

Like Lewis, Hopkins took huge satisfaction from this redemptive triumph. But the wily veteran's age-defying exploits at the end of his career were often more enjoyable on paper than they were in the ring. A defensive master to frustrate the best, Hopkins in his 40s was never particularly easy on the eye. And, while the Philadelphia great extended his peak impressively, Jones' best days were far back in the rear-view mirror. Either side of this fractious, foul-stained encounter, he was knocked out by Danny Green and Denis Lebedev.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR v MANNY PACQUIAO (MAY 2, 2015)

As the sport's biggest draw, Mayweather was a master at making sure he fought the best on his terms at a time of his choosing. Did the Pacquiao who scythed through Ricky Hatton and beat up Miguel Cotto in 2009 represent too much of a risk? Nine fights and five years later, 'Pacman' was yet to record another stoppage and had been brutally knocked out by his nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. The Money Team were ready to do business.

Was it worth the wait?

Mayweather was truly masterful here, perplexing Pacquiao and running out a clear winner. However, a brilliant performance does not necessarily make for a brilliant contest – a near constant during Mayweather's peerless late career. The prospect of Pacquiao throwing fewer punches than his rival would have been unfathomable five years earlier, when this contest would have been far more competitive and rewarding.

GENNADIY GOLOVKIN v SAUL 'CANELO' ALVAREZ I (SEPTEMBER 16, 2017)

Mayweather's astute timing of when to box an opponent was also evident when he schooled a greenhorn Alvarez in 2013. The Mexican pretender to his pound-for-pound crown was paying attention. Middleweight title wins against Cotto and Amir Khan came at catchweights below the 160lb limit before he stepped down a division to dethrone Liam Smith as opposed to facing Golovkin, who was busy standing a succession of full-fledged middleweights on their heads. After an all-Mexican grudge match against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, the time was right.

Was it worth the wait?

Yes - a big drama show! Canelo and GGG served up 12 rounds of high-skilled, pulsating action and soaked up one another's best shots – a particular novelty for any Golovkin opponent. Few doubted the Kazakh superstar had done enough to take the verdict on the cards but a split decision draw meant they were obliged to reconvene in Las Vegas a year later. That time another disputed decision in an even better fight went Alvarez's way and a third encounter is in the works.

Good things come to those who wait, right? Well, that is not always the case in boxing, as demonstrated when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally met on May 2, 2015.

The bout was dubbed 'Fight Of The Century', a do-not-miss battle between two long-time rivals that had been brewing for years (and years).

Instead, the main event fell a little flat, failing to live up to the hype – hardly surprising, considering for how long it had been talked about – with Mayweather emerging victorious by unanimous decision after 12 rounds in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao left the ring that night at the MGM Grand with a sore shoulder and a bruised ego. The long-awaited opportunity had rather passed him by - at 36, and with a career in politics already lined up, his future as a fighter was unclear.

Yet while Mayweather only fought once more before initially retiring – 'Money' made a comeback to face Conor McGregor for a lucrative meeting that moved his career record to 50-0 – Pac-Man is still going strong, overcoming an unexpected setback to prove his doubters wrong.

 

THE LAST HURRAH...OR NOT

Nearly a year after the Mayweather fight, Pacquiao returned to action to face a familiar foe in what he claimed beforehand would be his boxing swansong.

"I'm so happy to be hanging up the gloves after this fight because of what I have done," he told the media ahead of facing Timothy Bradley for a third time. “I'm sure I will be sad after that fight. That's life.”

Pac-Man had his eyes on becoming a senator in the Philippines, but did not look beyond Bradley, who had won their first meeting via a controversial split-decision verdict, back in 2012.

Pacquiao had prevailed in a 2014 rematch and also came out on top in the final episode of their trilogy, dropping his opponent twice on his way to a points triumph.  

That was meant to be that, except before the end of 2016 he was back between the ropes again. Jessie Vargas was no match as Mayweather watched his former opponent from close quarters at ringside, adding fuel to talk of a rematch.

Victory secured the WBO welterweight title for Pacquiao, who demonstrated that despite being just shy of his 38th birthday, he still had plenty left to give. "He's not done fighting yet," said trainer Freddie Roach.

 

AN ALMIGHTY UPSET

Jeff Horn was due to be nothing more than a stepping stone. The Australian nearly missed his big opportunity – Pacquiao at one point seemed set to face former gym-mate Amir Khan instead – but had home advantage on his side. It was one of the few things experts felt he had going in his favour.

However, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane witnessed the mother of all upsets in July 2017, in part thanks to some questionable scoring.

Horn did more than just surpass pre-fight expectations just by making it to the final bell, though. He showed a willingness to stand and trade with a legendary name, as well as coming through a ninth-round storm that looked at one stage certain to sweep him away.

He finished strongly too, but it was still a surprise to most when the challenger was declared a unanimous winner on all three cards. The verdict raised serious questions over the judges' scoring, as well as Pacquiao's future in the sport.

The WBO conducted a review into the outcome at the behest of the Philippines government, but a secondary check only vindicated the original outcome.

 

CALL IT A COMEBACK

If there were doubts over what Pacquiao had left in the tank after losing to Horn, he has emphatically quashed them since.

A year after the unexpected setback Down Under, and with Roach replaced by Restituto 'Buboy' Fernandez in his corner, a refreshed and focused fighter stopped the heavy-handed Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round in Kuala Lumpur.

Having claimed before the first bell to be the underdog, Pac-Man dissected an opponent admittedly there for the taking, knocking him down in the third and fifth rounds before a left uppercut finished the job. "I'm still here," he said afterwards, as if a first stoppage win in nearly a decade had not made that point.

After Adrien Broner managed to go the distance to lose on points in January 2019, Pacquiao gave a demonstration of his abilities when dealing with Keith Thurman just six months later.

The Filipino dropped Thurman in the first round on his way to a split-decision outcome that showed, despite this being the 71st outing as a professional, he remains at the top table in a packed welterweight division.

Mayweather may have nullified him astutely five years ago, but Pacquiao's late resurgence suggests Father Time cannot quite get the better of him just yet.

Even at 41, there are still a few chapters to be written before closing the book on a storied career.

Amir Khan has admitted it would take a fight against either Floyd Mayweather Jr or Manny Pacquiao to motivate him to make a ring return.

The former light-welterweight world champion has had 39 bouts in a professional career which began in 2005, the last of them being a stoppage win over Billy Dib in July 2019.

While he has faced pound-for-pound candidates Saul Alvarez and Terence Crawford in recent years, Khan has made no secret of his desire to go up against both Mayweather and Pacquiao before retiring, two legendary names he has chased in the past without success.

At 33, he has still not given up hope of securing a deal to take on one of the duo, though they are seemingly the only opponents that could lead to him heading back into the gym.

"I've almost had 40 fights now, so I'm just going to take my time and see what options are out there for me," Khan told Sky Sports.

"If the Pacquiao option is there, 100 per cent that is the motivation for me to go back in the gym and train hard. 

"It's very hard to have those fights now that motivate you. I'm in a very good position where I've won the world titles and financially I'm good.

"What's left out there for me? The only thing, for me, is a big fight like a Mayweather or a Manny Pacquiao.

"Who knows [if such fights will happen]? That's up to them."

Khan's comments appear to rule out a long-rumoured showdown with Kell Brook, who said himself in April that he had "given that angle up" and moved on.

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