Manny Pacquiao says he is ready to negotiate a bout with Floyd Mayweather. The Filipino star avenged his defeat against Timothy Bradley at the weekend and said after the bout in Las Vegas: "The line is open 24 hours, seven days a week."
His victory over Bradley rectified what many critics saw as a bad judging mistake in 2012 when Bradley was awarded a split-decision win and the WBO welterweight title.
Pacquiao's energy and precision in the rematch backed the 35-year-old Filipino’s claim that his boxing journey is far from over, making talk of a mouth-watering fight against the undefeated Mayweather inevitable.
"If he wants to fight, the fight will be on," Pacquiao said, although history has shown it's not that easy.
In late 2009 and early 2010, Pacquiao and Mayweather were considered the world's top fighters pound-for-pound and record profits were expected from a showdown. But a disagreement over pre-fight blood testing scuttled talks.
Other negotiations broke down over the division of the purse, and the intervening years have brought a further chill to relations between Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions and Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.
"It's really hard to talk about that," Pacquiao said. "How many years have we walked about it and it hasn't happened?"
His trainer, Freddie Roach, seems to flip-flop as to whether the bout will ever take place. He said earlier this month he thought it would be possible because the pool of potential opponents for Pacquiao and Mayweather was so small.
In the days before the weekend’s fight, he seemed less optimistic, but said if it did happen it could be as a career finale for both men.
"On our side, I think Bob wants that fight to be our last fight," Roach said.
Pacquiao looks set to clash later this year with the winner of the fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado on May 17. Pacquiao has fought Marquez four times, and was knocked out by the Mexican in their last encounter in December 2012.
Mayweather, 37, will put his 45-0 record on the line in a welterweight title bout against Argentina's Marcos Maidana on May 3.
Arum insisted on Saturday night that he was ready to try again.
"If they want to operate in good faith and want to get something done, everything is possible," Arum said. "Any excuse for it not happening is just posturing."