Ring legend Manny Pacquiao says he expects Floyd Mayweather to return from retirement on New Year’s Eve to embark on his 51st professional boxing bout.
It would be the 41-year-old Mayweather’s first fight since defeating UFC fighter Conor McGregor by TKO10 in a boxing bout in August last year.
According to the Filipino icon, Mayweather will have a tune-up bout on the last day of the year before pursuing a rematch with Pacquiao in 2019, who will himself return to action in January when he takes on former titleholder Adrien Broner.
“Floyd is going to fight on December 31 and I’m going to fight January 12,” said Pacquiao in comments published by The Mirror. “After that, we’ll know [about their rematch]… he’s coming back, we’ll discuss it after Broner.”
Pacquiao and Mayweather surprised the boxing world with the announcement they we discussing a rematch of their 2015 clash that the American won on points when the pair met at a concert in Tokyo, Japan last month.
Initially discussion had the fight taking place in December, but it now looks like May 5 is the working date – four years after their first bout.
“If that fight happens, I want Cinco de Mayo (May 5) or July,” continued Pacquiao.
One name recently mooted to share the ring with Mayweather is UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is coming off a high profile win over McGregor earlier this month.
Mayweather reportedly ‘accepted’ the fight in an interview with TMZ.
“Oh, we fighting. He called me out. So, he gotta come to my world,” he said. “I’m my own boss. So, I can’t say what’s going on on Khabib’s end. But, on my end, we can make it happen.
“When I face Khabib I’m getting a nine-figure payday. It’s more than the McGregor fight. Probably $100million more, guaranteed.
“I’m going to say somewhere between $110m and $200m guaranteed.”
Mayweather added that he would be interested in a rematch with McGregor too, who he comprehensively outclassed in Las Vegas 14 months ago.
“McGregor was talking that s***, so it ain’t over,” he said. “After me and Khabib lock up, me and McGregor we gonna lock up again.
“Why he keep fighting these MMA guys? Me and Khabib going to do crazy numbers, me and McGregor are going to do crazy numbers.”