Could the long-anticipated, much-hyped fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally happen?
According to boxing promoter Bob Arum, it could -- as soon as next year. Arum told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday that he is "very optimistic" the two will finally square off, as the networks representing both fighters -- Showtime/CBS for Pacquiao and HBO for Mayweather -- have discussed a potential fight. Arum said both networks were eager to have the fight finally come to fruition.
"Both networks want this fight to happen," Arum said. "All signs seem to point to the fight happening early next year."
The 35-year-old Pacquiao was in San Francisco on Thursday to promote his Nov. 22 fight with Chris Algieri in Macau, China, for the WBO welterweight title. The 37-year-old Mayweather, who is still undefeated at 46-0, will fight Marcos Maidana Sept. 13 in Las Vegas for the WBC welterweight and super welterweight titles.
Since both boxers are creeping toward 40, Arum knows it's imperative to make the fight happen soon.
"There is a sell-by date, where it becomes, 'Who cares?' It has to happen by the first six months of next year," Arum told the paper. "And if it happens, there should be a provision with a different percentage for the rematch. So that the winner is rewarded for winning the fight.
"I would love to see these guys fight twice next year."
Still, a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight has been close to happening for years, only to have anything from a minor or major dispute get in the way during negotiations.