Manny Pacquiao Says Hotline Is Always Open If Floyd Mayweather Wants to Fight

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 6, 2014

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The back-and-forth between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. seems as though it will never end. Perhaps Pac Man's latest push to schedule the long-awaited bout will yield tangible results.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated on Wednesday, Feb. 5, Pacquiao stated he would battle Mayweather in the ring if his prospective opponent would sign off on it. 

"All I can say is our hotline is open 24 hours," said Pacquiao. "If (Mayweather) calls and lets us know, if he wants to fight, then the fight will be on."

Mayweather previously dismissed Pacquiao as a possible adversary since Pac Man had lost consecutive fights to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. That can't really be used as leverage to avoid the bout anymore, though, because Pacquiao dominated in his most recent unanimous-decision triumph over Brandon Rios on Nov. 24.

A rematch with Bradley is on tap for Pacquiao on April 12, while Mayweather prepares to put his unblemished 45-0 record on the line May 3 against either Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana. The undefeated fighter posted a photo on Instagram to encourage his fans to vote for his upcoming opponent:

While engaging followers through social media is a savvy, brand-boosting tactic, it doesn't do Mayweather any favors for those who want to see him finally tangle with Pacquiao.

David Kano of TVMix points out who he thinks is to blame for the fight not happening:

A spat between the two camps may provide a further complication. Back in December 2013, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said he didn't want to work with Bob Arum to organize a fight. Arum, the CEO of Top Rank, the company that represents Pacquiao, felt the fight between his client and Mayweather was indeed a possibility.

As reported by USA Today's Bob Velin, the 82-year-old Arum implied it'd be dumb for the clash not to take place:

Yes, if people stop posturing. Absolutely. It can happen. It's stupid if it doesn't happen. They owe it to the sport. What, is Mayweather going to fight Amir Khan? Who gives a (expletive)? We've announced we're willing to make anything happen. Now somebody has got to contact us so we can sit down and explore how it can happen.

The attack-minded, powerful Pacquiao and the technical, defense-oriented Mayweather would be a duel for the ages and go down as one of the biggest fights in boxing history. Fans have been dreaming of this matchup for years, and the ball is in Mayweather's court to make it happen now.

Stay tuned for the latest in the verbal sparring war, because even the possibility of these two living legends going toe to toe is fascinating.