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Is a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao exhibition match in Japan actually possible?

Floyd Mayweather came out over the weekend claiming he was working on a rematch with Manny Pacquiao. But is it all just smoke and mirrors?


Is Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2 about to come together?

That’s what one half of the “Fight of the Century” would have you believe. On Saturday afternoon, boxing GOAT Floyd Mayweather took to Instagram to make an incredible claim: “What I’m working on right now is the Mayweather-Pacquaio exhibition right here in Tokyo, Japan,” he said in a video. “Stay tuned.”

That’s right, it’s the much-discussed (but highly doubted) rematch to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight that went down in 2015. The original (which saw Mayweather win via unanimous decision) was largely considered a dud of a fight, but still raked in more than $600 million. Add in speculation on how things would have went if Pacquiao hadn’t been fighting with an injured shoulder, and there’s always been enough of an angle to generate interest in a rematch should both fighters come to terms on one.

Alas, Mayweather retired from serious competition in 2015. And while he did step back into the ring to box Conor McGregor in 2017 and smash Japanese kickboxer Tenshin in 2018, he showed little interest in fighting the still-active Pacquiao, who had gone 5-1 since his loss to “Money.”

So is there any truth to what Mayweather is saying? As it stands, Pacquiao and his team have remained mum on the topic. In fact, the whole boxing world’s response to the news has been notably muted, which tells us they’re not exactly taking the whole situation that seriously at this point. Mayweather has cried wolf in the past: earlier this year he claimed May-Pac 2 would go down in Saudi Arabia. Later he admitted, “I got paid $2.2 million to make the video. The truth is, the fight will never happen again.”

But the last time he made an odd announcement in Japan — namely, that he’d participate in an exhibition fight with Tenshin Nasukawa on New Years Eve — he did indeed go through with it. That was a partnership with Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN, whose name isn’t anywhere to be seen this time around. There have been unsubstantiated reports that Mayweather is looking to do some sort of repeat, with potential opponents like kickboxer Masato and mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Wanderlei Silva being considered. While he may technically make an offer to Pacquiao, Mayweather could just be using his biggest rival’s name to build attention for whatever more realistic money grab is actually in the works.

For now, we’ll just have to sit back and see what develops. But with Mayweather bragging he made $9 million off last year’s exhibition with Tenshin, it’s unsurprising he’d be back again looking for another easy paycheck. A fight against Pacquiao, though? In Japan, under exhibition rules? Unless there’s some major tax loophole involved that we don’t know about, it just doesn’t make sense.

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