Mayweather is ‘only challenge’ left for Pacquiao

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Mayweather is ‘only challenge’ left for Pacquiao

LAS VEGAS - Manny Pacquiao offered no extra hope to fans that he will fight Floyd Mayweather next year, but his trainer says the long-awaited showdown might be the only challenge left for the Filipino icon.

Pacquiao was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers on Tuesday as he arrived at Las Vegas for his Saturday fight against Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, but he was ho-hum about Mayweather’s pitch last week for a May 5 fight with Pacquiao.

“What I’ve done, I’m happy [with],” Pacquiao said Tuesday. “Whatever fight my promoter gives me I’ll take it and fight hard. We haven’t made a decision about the next opponent. After this fight, I’m just waiting for the next.”

Unbeaten Mayweather, Pacquiao’s main rival as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter, has not made a deal to fight the Asian southpaw even though such a bout figures to bring $50 million for each fighter - if it ever happens.

“I think that fight has to happen,” said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer. “It needs to happen because it’s the only challenge out there [for Pacquiao]. I don’t see any other challengers.”

Even so, Pacquiao’s camp made it clear that Mayweather’s hand-picking a date and site for his next fight and then offering to fight “Pac-Man” is unacceptable.

“I’m kind of tired of Floyd,” Roach said. “Shut up and fight or not. We’ll fight him any day of the week. Who is he to make the rules? If that fight doesn’t happen, I’m not going to cry.”

Roach said Mayweather needs to face Pacquiao to give his unbeaten record legitimacy, saying “there will be questions” if he does not, and said Mayweather’s defensive style has produced unspectacular fights, calling the Marquez bout “a much more exciting fight than Mayweather.”

That is, in part, because Pacquiao is passionate after Marquez has claimed he truly won their prior fights, a 2004 draw and a Pacquiao split-decision victory in 2008 that was decided by one point on one judge’s scorecard.

“He disrespected me. The most important thing to me is respect,” Pacquiao said. “I’m not mad at him. I’m not mad at anybody. It’s about what I need to prove.”

Pacquiao wants to silence Marquez once and for all, saying that took priority over the $30 million payday he will have for the fight compared to the career-best $5 million Marquez will make.

“I took this fight not for the money but to give a great showing,” Pacquiao said. “This fight is one of the most important fights I’ve had.”

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