Floyd Mayweather officially calls out Manny Pacquiao: Step up punk

Floyd Mayweather Jr has laid down the gauntlet. The undefeated 34-year-old has challenged welterweight rival Manny Pacquiao to follow through with his recent statements and agree to a fight later this year, on the date – May 5 – and venue – MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas – that had already been reserved by Mayweather late last year. “Step up punk,” Floyd intonated on his social media networks earlier today, Tuesday.

A Mayweather v Pacquiao match-up would be a tri-belt bout. Credit: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas

The boxing and wider sporting world has demanded a showdown between prizefighting’s two most notable names for years and is one Mayweather (42-0-0, 26ko) and his camp have publicly been pursuing since Floyd’s first gear, fourth round dismissal of former WBC welterweight world champion Victor Ortiz, in September, 2011.

Legal troubles had threatened the lucrative fisticuffs from happening this year as the libel case leveled against Floyd, by Manny, for defaming Pacquiao’s character by insinuating the foundations of the Filipino’s success had been down to ‘power pellets’ (performance enhancing drugs), combined with Mayweather’s mounting domestic violence charge that had culminated with an 87-day imprisonment, appeared to push a contest back that had already twice failed at the negotiation table.

However, Mayweather’s lawyer, just last week, had succeeded in delaying his client’s jail sentence until June so that Floyd could honour his obligation to fight in May.

All he needs is a dance partner.

Robert Guerrero has been lobbying for a shot at the fight game’s biggest draw and it was rumoured over the weekend that the California-resident had the edge over his closest rival for Cinco de Mayo with Mayweather – Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

Both fighters, though, may have to wait. Mayweather, as per his latest comments, appears to have only one candidate in mind.

“Manny Pacquiao I’m calling you out; let’s fight [on] May 5th and give the world what they want to see,” said the current incumbent of the WBC championship at 147lbs.

Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko), who holds the WBO title, has entered discussions with his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing over whom he most wants to fight next. There had been four candidates to be presented to him: Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley or Lamont Peterson, yet Pacquiao claimed yesterday that he would reject them all in order to accommodate a match-up with Mayweather.

“My jail sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in,” continued Mayweather, before sending a direct message to Pacman: “Step up punk.”

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