By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Manny Pacquiao has been fully focused on next weekend’s fight with Adrien Broner but on Thursday the Filipino eight-division world champion still found time to take a subtle jab at Floyd Mayweather.
Pacquiao, who has been repeatedly asked about a possible rematch with Mayweather, pulled no punches when commenting on his former foe’s one-sided New Year’s Eve exhibition victory over a Japanese kickboxer that lasted two minutes.
“It’s my first time to see an exhibition where you knock your opponent out,” WBA welterweight champion Pacquiao, 40, told a conference call to promote his Jan. 19 fight against American Broner.
“Supposedly an exhibition is just to entertain people, nothing serious, for three rounds. But that’s what I understand about exhibitions.”
It was the second time in as many weeks that Pacquiao has taken a shot at Mayweather – who said he earned $9 million for fighting Tenshin Nasukawa – with the Filipino having also tweeted after the fight that his New Year’s resolution would be to “only fight experienced opponents who are my size or bigger.”
There has been speculation about a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch ever since the American scored a unanimous decision in their 2015 bout that was dubbed “The Fight of the Century” but never lived up to its billing.
Some pundits have even suggested that Pacquiao’s WBA welterweight title defence against Broner is an ideal tune-up for such a rematch since the 29-year-old American has a defensive style that many experts feel is similar to Mayweather.
“Let me clarify, Adrien Broner is not a tune-up fight. He is a former champion. He is fast and he’s a good boxer,” said Pacquiao. “That’s why I don’t want to talk about my next fight until I finish this business against Adrien Broner.”
Mayweather, 41, retired in 2017 with a 50-0 record and said on Instagram in September that a rematch of the much-hyped 2015 fight with Pacquiao would take place. The post included a video of the pair talking to each other at a Tokyo music festival.
Pacquiao may be eyeing a lucrative rematch with Mayweather but he refused to shows his cards and said such talk would have to wait until after next week’s welterweight title defence.
“I have no problem fighting anybody as long as there is no problems with the negotiations,” said Pacquiao. “My plan is just one at a time.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)