Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has thrown shade at Manny Pacquaio for withdrawing from a planned rematch with WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, accusing the future Hall of Famer of running scared.
Ms Palaszczuk, whose government was supporting the planned November rematch, said on Saturday she was disappointed by Pacquiao's withdrawal.
"Frankly, I think he's a bit too scared to come and face Jeff Horn," she told reporters in Brisbane.
Back in July, Horn pulled off a major upset by winning a twelve round unanimous decision over Pacquiao before a crowd of 51,000 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. The victory gave him the WBO world title.
Pacquiao, a sector of observers, felt the decision was controversial. The WBO conducted an investigation and ruled that Horn was the legitimate winner.
There was an immediate rematch clause, which Pacquiao planned to exercise, but he advised his team on Friday that a rematch was not going to happen in 2017 - because there were scheduling conflicts with his duties as a senator back in the Philippines.
But Palaszczuk said his refusal to take part in the proposed second bout showed the Filipino star knew he'd been beaten.
"For Manny not to reappear, really says to me that he knows Jeff is the world champion," she said.
The hunt is now on for a new opponent for Horn, with former two division world champion Jesse Vargas touted as a leading contender - but Palaszczuk has another name in her sights: UFC superstar Conor McGregor. She feels his star power, in a fight with Horn, would sell out any venue in the country.
"If we could get McGregor, that would be great," she said.
Last Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, McGregor made his professional boxing debut and was stopped in the tenth round by five division champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
After the Mayweather bout was over, McGregor made it known that he was very interesting in boxing again - but also noted that his next fight would take place in the UFC, where he still holds the lightweight title.