MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum believes the long-awaited showdown between Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. can finally happen in 2015.
The "super fight" between Pacquiao and Mayweather has been discussed time and again, but has never come to fruition due to discord between the two camps.
Arum told The San Francisco Chronicle that the television networks who deal with both fighters – HBO for Pacquiao and Showtime for Mayweather – have discussed the bout.
"Both networks want this fight to happen. All signs seem to point to the fight happening early next year," Arum revealed.
Mayweather fights exclusively on Showtime, with whom he signed a lucrative six-fight deal in 2013. On September 13, he will fight Argentina's Marcos Maidana in what will be the fourth bout in his Showtime contract.
Pacquiao, for his part, fights almost exclusively on HBO and is set to defend his welterweight title on November 22 against American Chris Algieri in Macau.
Arum told the Chronicle that the showdown between Pacquiao and Mayweather has a "sell-by date."
"It has to happen by the first six months of next year," he stressed. "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," he added.
Arum has never stopped being optimistic about a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, and even points out that a lot of the issues that has hindered previous rounds of negotiation – including Pacquiao's refusal to undergo drug testing – have now been resolved.
"Now it's up to the fight camps to resolve the deal," said Arum.
Pacquiao has repeatedly said that he is open to fighting Mayweather anytime. His trainer, Hall-of-Famer Freddie Roach, was also quoted in the report as saying that they "have a better shot now" as he believes that Mayweather is "a little shot."
"It's still the biggest fight out there, and there is still a huge audience that wants to see it," Roach also said.
It remains to be seen if Arum's optimism is well-founded, however. Mayweather has already declared that he will not fight Pacquiao as long as the Filipino is promoted by Arum, with whom the American superstar had a bitter falling out early in his boxing career.