LAS VEGAS • Soon after Manny Pacquiao's convincing, unanimous-decision triumph over Jessie Vargas on Saturday, the question on most boxing fans' lips was whether the Filipino icon would next have a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, who watched the fight from ringside at Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas.
Mayweather is now retired.
But, after the American accepted a Pacquiao invitation to attend the fight on Saturday, talk is rife that they will meet again after their long-anticipated bout in May last year generated a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys and more than US$600 million (S$834million).
"There's no discussions for now and that's not in my mind right now," said Pacquiao, who resumes his work as a senator in the Philippines today, after his victory on Saturday.
Yet, the invitation extended to Mayweather shows the two are in touch, the opposite to the frosty relationship that existed before their long-delayed first fight.
Not only for myself, but if the fans in boxing want that rematch, then why not? We can easily talk about that.
MANNY PACQUIAO, on how he viewed a possible rematch with Floyd Mayweather.
Back then, as Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum and Mayweather manager Al Haymon presided over talks that repeatedly failed, it took a chance face-to-face meeting at a National Basketball Association game to propel the fighters to strike a deal, noted The Los Angeles Times.
"Because we have this contact now, this can be easier to talk about if there is a rematch," Pacquiao said on Sunday.
The Filipino seemed more interested in taking on Mayweather, rather than contending with super- lightweight Terence Crawford or super-featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, who are being considered as his likely opponents next.
"Not only for myself, but if the fans in boxing want that rematch, then why not?" Pacquiao said. "We can easily talk about that. It's not a problem."
The Filipino earned US$100 million for the Mayweather fight and was paid at least US$20 million for his last several fights. But that figure fell on Saturday.
He was guaranteed a minimum of US$4 million, half of which, he said, he spent on buying tickets for the fight, which he gave away to fans.
Pacquaio obviously is look for a bigger pay cheque as he also recently built 1,000 houses in the Philippines at a cost of nearly US$2 million which he gave away to the poor and homeless, noted USA Today.
But would he be fit enough to tackle Mayweather, to whom he lost last time around?
Pacquiao (59 wins, 6 losses, 2 draws) took great satisfaction from his win on Saturday, when he claimed the World Boxing Organisation welterweight belt for a fourth time.
"If the rematch happens, I want to make sure the fans love it," he told reporters from his Las Vegas suite on Sunday. "I will give all I can to give my best to the fans."
Though he will be 38 next month and his Senate workload forced him to spend six weeks of training camp in the Philippines, Pacquiao produced a showing that Mayweather rated "not bad".
Mayweather turns 40 in February, and could finish 50-0 should he opt for a rematch of a fight he convincingly won as Pacquiao laboured through a serious shoulder injury.
When someone asked Pacquiao how much he had left in the tank on Sunday, he spoke of how much fresher he felt than in his past two bouts and replied, "Full tank."
Arum said: "When he's moving and punching like that, disappears around a guy and comes out on the other side throwing punches - that's great craftsmanship."