Boxing fans believe boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao was calling out former rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a New Year’s resolution tweet.
“Here is an early New Year’s resolution. To continue to only fight experienced opponents who are my size or bigger,” the eight-division champion wrote in a tweet on January 1, 2019 where he tagged the social media accounts of boxing promotion firms.
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) December 31, 2018
Fans immediately responded by pointing out who the tweet was likely directed at.
— Darwin Campos 🕶 (@drwncmps) January 1, 2019
Pacquiao’s former rival Mayweather, the undefeated pound-for-pound legend who bested him in the match dubbed the “Fight of the Century” and the “Battle for Greatness” in May 2015, had just come from a first-round victory over 20-year-old Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a New Year’s Eve exhibition match.
The match, which Mayweather won after scoring three knockdowns in 140 seconds, has been dubbed by some media outlets as a “sham,” pointing out Mayweather’s obvious advantage over a younger, lighter opponent from a different discipline.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) January 1, 2019
Nasukawa, despite the skepticism showered upon Mayweather’s victory, said he underestimated the 41-year-old boxing veteran.
“I thought this was an opportunity of a lifetime, and although there were significant differences in accomplishments and weight classes, I felt that I must not run and take on the challenge,” he explained in interviews after the fight.
The rivalry between pound-for-pound contemporaries Pacquiao and Mayweather appeared to have been briefly resuscitated when the two were seen taunting each other at a music festival in Tokyo in September 2018.
An Instagram post from Mayweather in which he declared he would be fighting Pacquiao that year gave birth to speculation that a rematch between the two would take place by the end of 2018.
Pacquiao, on the one hand, uploaded a video of the encounter with the caption “50-1. No excuses,” in reference to Mayweather’s 50-0 professional record.
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) September 15, 2018
The announcement however had a lukewarm reception, with many recalling how disappointing the highly-touted “Fight of the Century” was. Many criticized Mayweather’s use of defense-oriented maneuvering to survive the twelve rounds to win via the scorecard rather than attempt to knockout Pacquiao.
Mayweather later dispelled the speculation and clarified that a rematch with Pacquiao was not part of his official schedule.
Despite fans’ and experts’ disappointment with how the match went, it was noted for being the highest-grossing fight in the history of boxing after earning at least $400 million in television revenue, with more than $100 million additional from ticket sales, streaming and other broadcasts.
Since the bout, Pacquiao and Mayweather have gone on different trajectories, with Pacquiao juggling his Senate position with his boxing career and Mayweather formally retiring but occasionally returning to the ring to face unlikely opponents, such as Nasukawa and mixed-martial artist Connor McGregor.
Pacquiao in July 2018 won his 60th professional fight with a stoppage victory over Lucas Matthysse in a fight for WBA welterweight belt. He is scheduled to defend the title against Adrien Broner on January 19, 2019 in Las Vegas.