Manila: A potential blockbuster rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather moved a step closer as the Filipino star confirmed he has signed with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).
Eight-weight world champion Pacquiao said he would close out his storied career by facing “top PBC fighters” in announcing late on Monday the tie-up with influential Mayweather adviser Haymon’s organisation.
“My team will work closely with Al Haymon for the remainder of my career to deliver the most-anticipated fights with the top PBC fighters,” Pacquiao said.
“Those are the fights the fans want to see and the ones I want to have to close out my career,” he added.
Pacquiao said last week that he was “90 per cent” sure a bout with former four-division world champion Adrien Broner would happen in January, possibly in Las Vegas.
“Pacquiao’s first defence of the World Boxing Association welterweight world title will kick off the new partnership,” a PBC statement said.
“The new alliance will have team Pacquiao and Haymon work together to navigate the remainder of his illustrious career,” it added.
The deal could pave the way for a Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch of the 2015 megafight, which generated a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys earning $600 million and ended with the American winning on points.
Unbeaten Mayweather, who hasn’t fought since knocking out mixed martial artist Conor McGregor last year, said in September he would come out of retirement to face Pacquiao later this year, possibly in the UAE.
The American, 41, has since hinted at taking a warm-up fight first, talking on social media of a “huge boxing event” in Tokyo and then last week said he would be willing to accept a challenge to fight against McGregor’s MMA conqueror Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The deal with Haymon represents a new chapter for the 39-year-old Pacquiao, who has been promoted for the majority of his 20-year professional career by Bob Arum’s Top Rank organisation.
“I wish him the best of luck, a tremendous warrior, and whatever he’s doing in the future, he deserves,” Arum said of Pacquiao on Fighthub TV in Las Vegas at the weekend.
Pacquiao pumped new life into his storied career in July when he delivered his first knockout in nine years against Lucas Matthysse of Argentina.
Ahead of the fight against big-punching Matthysse, Pacquiao said he considered himself the “underdog”, but he rolled back the years to register a 60th win and take the Argentine’s WBA welterweight belt.