The buildup to the first fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao featured a will-they-or-won't-they tug of war typically seen on daytime soap operas. It appeared we might avoid a similar situation the second time around after both boxers said publicly they were open to a rematch.
Not so fast.
In an exclusive interview with Showtime's Jim Gray, Mayweather called Pacquiao a "coward" and indicated there would be no rematch as previously speculated.
"Did I text Stephen A. Smith and say I will fight him again? Yeah, but I change my mind," Mayweather told Gray, per Sports Illustrated. "At this particular time, no, because he's a sore loser and he's a coward. ... If you lost, accept the loss and say, 'Mayweather, you were the better fighter.'"
Since his unanimous-decision loss on May 2, Pacquiao and his camp have gone on the offensive, citing a shoulder injury as the main reason the Filipino boxer lost. Pacquiao said he suffered a rotator cuff tear during the lead-up to the bout and was denied an anti-inflammatory shot by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to a paperwork snafu, per Ryan Songalia of Rappler.
"We filled it out, but also I'm so disappointed because for the first time in my boxing career, more than 20 years, they hold my vitamins, they hold my water [from] the dressing room. This is new," Pacquiao said, per Rongalia.
Pacquiao indicated the shoulder began bothering him during the bout's fourth round, by far his best of the fight. Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reported Wednesday that Pacquiao underwent surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He is expected to miss between nine months and a year.
"Excuses, excuses, excuses," Mayweather said, per Sports Illustrated. "I'm not going to buy into the bulls--t...and I don’t want the public to buy into the bulls--t. He lost. He knows he lost. I lost a lot of respect for him after all of this."
Of course, a long recovery period for Pacquiao would likely take him out of contention for a Mayweather rematch anyway. Mayweather is currently scheduled to fight in September, the last of his six-match agreement with Showtime. The pound-for-pound king has long maintained he would retire at the end of that contract.
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