Respected boxing analyst Larry Merchant has not completely lost hope in a potential mega-fight between superstars Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., but said it may happen when both boxers are already past their prime.
“I’ve been telling people for three or four years that I thought it would happen, and I’ve been consistently wrong,” Merchant acknowledged to Boxing Scene when asked about the fight. “So I don’t claim to be an expert on that.”
“Obviously, there are other considerations for both of them. They’ve made a lot of fights. They’ve made a lot of money,” he added. “It’s not going to happen any time real soon.”
Merchant said this even after Pacquiao challenged Mayweather earlier this week to fight him in a charity match, wherein the proceeds of the bout will go to different foundations all over the world.
But the analyst said it is unlikely that the fight will happen even with Pacquiao’s challenge, although he does not discount the possibility of the fight happening in the future.
He noted that the heavyweight fight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson happened when both men were already past their primes, in 2002.
“Listen, Tyson and Lewis didn’t happen in their primes, and yet it was a huge event when it happened,” he said. “So, is it conceivable? Yes. But I think there’s a question about Manny, and whether he’s the Manny of story and song, whether he’s really going to be an elite fighter for very long.”
The Pacquiao and Mayweather camps have not been able to resolve the issues that have blocked the mega-fight from happening for years now, and both fighters have gone their separate ways after each failed round of negotiations.
Pacquiao, coming off a 12-round whitewashing of Brandon Rios last November, will return to the ring on April 12, potentially against Timothy Bradley Jr.
Mayweather, who fought twice in 2013 and won both matches convincingly, will reportedly fight Britain’s Amir Khan on May 3.