Manny Pacquiao was in attendance at Rizin 45. He was introduced to the Saitama Super Arena audience on New Year’s Eve and made a big announcement.
Pacquiao was welcomed into the ring by Nobuyuki Sakakibara in the aftermath of Koike Kleber’s win over Yutaka Saito. The boxer declared to the watching fans that,
“I hope to see you in Japan for a big fight against Floyd Mayweather.”
CEO Sakakibara: "Could you please fight against Floyd Mayweather?"
Manny Pacquiao: "I'm ready."
— RIZIN FF English (@rizin_English) December 31, 2023
Exactly 12 months previuosly the boxer also attended Rizin 40 in 2022. Pacquaio announced at that event that he would be competing in a Rizin card in 2023 so fans probably shouldn’t get too excited about the fight with Mayweather.
Mayhweather has fought on two Rizin cards in the past. He stopped Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin 14 and then did the same thing to Mikuru Asakura at Super Rizin 2.
During his heyday Mayweather faced some of the biggest names in the sport of boxing and beyond. His fights with Conor McGregor, Oscar de la Hoya, Saul Alvarez and, of course, Pacquiao generated hundreds of millions of dollars.
But in recent years Mayweather, who turns 47 next month, has been sharing a ring with the likes of John Gotti III, Aaron Chalmers and Deji Olatunji. Meanwhile Pacquiao’s most recent opponent was a Korean YouTuber called DK Yoo.
View this post on Instagram
Pacquiao is 45 and this fight would clearly be much cheaper to make in 2024 then it would have been a decade ago. The Filipino is booked to face Buakaw Banchamek in Bangkok on April 20th.
Mayweather doesn’t appear to have anything booked in 2o24. There had been rumours he might rematch John Gotti III, the first fight ended in a no contest after a brawl broke out in the ring.
Conor McGregor recently told Cristiano Ronaldo he wanted to fight Pacquiao. The Irishman subsequently announced his next fight would be at 185lbs which might explain why the Filipino 154lber doesn’t want to fight him.
Pacquiao was initially reluctant to mention Mayweather’s name. He needed prompting from Sakakibara before delcaring he would be rematching the undefeated American.
The veteran Rizin promoter is clearly very confident that he can make this match. Time will tell whether or not this confidence is misplaced.