MANILA, Philippines - The chief executive officer of Mayweather Promotions is confident that Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao will "step up" and declare his intention to fight undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's adviser, said in an interview with The Grand Rapids Press that as an "honorable guy," Pacquiao "is going to step up and say, 'I want to fight Floyd Mayweather.'"
Mayweather is coming off a knockout victory over Victor Ortiz last September. Pacquiao, on the other hand, defeated rival Juan Manuel Marquez via a controversial majority decision last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Boxing fans and analysts have called for a mega-fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather for years, with many saying that it will be the most lucrative bout in the history of the sport.
Negotiations for a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather mega-fight have bogged down once again, however, when Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank, informed Mayweather's team that they will not negotiate for the fight.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum is instead pursuing a fourth fight with Marquez.
Ellerbe, however, says Pacquiao should step up to Arum and demand that he make the fight.
"In my opinion, the fighter needs to step up and tell the promoter, 'This is what I really want to do,' if it's really what he wants to do," Ellerbe said.
"I truly believe Manny Pacquiao will step up and make the fight happen. At the end of the day, the fighter should have the say-so on who he gets in the ring with," he added.
Ellerbe said Pacquiao will step up because the Filipino boxer would not want to disappoint his fans, especially his fellow Filipinos.
Pacquiao-Marquez IV still possible
According to Ellerbe, Pacquiao can still fight Marquez for a fourth time, but only after he fights Mayweather.
"They could make that fight anytime. When Floyd knocks out Manny Pacquiao, that fight will still be there," he said. "They can still make that fight after the chapter of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is clsoed."
Ellerbe insists that Team Mayweather "wants to make a deal for the good of the sport," and that they have been willing to put their egos aside in order to negotiate with Team Pacquiao.
"The fans deserve a fight like this," Ellerbe said. "You have to put egos aside."
If Team Pacquiao does not come to the table and negotiate, Ellerbe said they will pursue other opponents for Mayweather, who wants to fight on May 5 next year.