Mayweather calls out Pacquiao for May
By Dan Rafael
Floyd Mayweather Jr. could not be any clearer about the opponent he wants to fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather wants Manny Pacquiao -- at least, if you are to believe his tweets on Tuesday afternoon.
Several hours after tweeting a photo of a betting slip from a Las Vegas casino for a $400,000 win on Monday night's Allstate BCS Championship Game, Mayweather sent out two tweets calling out and antagonizing Pacquiao.
"Manny Pacquiao I'm calling you out let's fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see," read Mayweather's first tweet.
One minute later, Mayweather followed with this: "My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk."
Mayweather was due to report to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas last Friday to begin an 87-day sentence. He pleaded guilty to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges, stemming from a hair-pulling, punching and arm-twisting argument with his ex-girlfriend in front of two of their children.
However, Mayweather's attorney successfully argued that the sentence should be delayed until June 1 so he could fulfill a contractual obligation for a fight at the MGM Grand, which he estimated would pour more than $100 million into the ailing Las Vegas economy.
Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather's advisers, told ESPN.com that Mayweather was serious about calling out Pacquiao.
"You heard him," Ellerbe said, noting that Mayweather is personally responsible for the content of the tweets sent from his verified account.
So Mayweather is now free until June 1 and intends to fight May 5. However, he is without a dance partner.
The two names most often mentioned as potential opponents are junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez -- who is one division above Mayweather, the welterweight titlist -- and lightweight Robert Guerrero, who is two divisions below.
Alvarez and Guerrero are being named as likely opponents because they would be fairly easy deals to make. They are both promoted by Golden Boy, which has served as Mayweather's de facto promoter in recent years, promoting his last five bouts even though they do not have a formal promotional contract.
However, a fight between Mayweather and fellow welterweight champion and pound-for-pound star Pacquiao looms as the biggest fight in the sport -- and likely the richest fight in boxing history. There seems to be no legitimate impediment to making the match for May 5, although Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, has not seemed interested.
When Mayweather was supposed to go to jail last week, Arum talked about Pacquiao fighting on May 5 to take the spot of Mayweather. The next day, when Mayweather's sentence was delayed, Arum said Pacquiao would probably have to fight in June, blaming that on a cut Pacquiao suffered in his November majority decision win against Juan Manuel Marquez as the reason -- even though a cut taking more than six months to heal is unheard of.
Arum is in the Philippines this week, meeting with Pacquiao to talk about his next opponent. But the list of possible opponents Arum cited did not include Mayweather. Rather, it includes a rematch with junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto, whom Pacquiao stopped in the 12th round of a 2009 welterweight title bout; Marquez, for a fourth time; or a fight with junior welterweight titleholders Lamont Peterson or Timothy Bradley Jr.
After Mayweather's sentence was delayed, Arum said he was not interested in talking to Pacquiao about fighting Mayweather in May.
"We're fighting in June, one of the four guys," Arum told ESPN.com last week. "My mission is to go over to the Philippines and talk about these four guys. If Manny feels he wants to go in May, he will tell me. I want to make sure Manny's cuts are healed. We won't fall under this kind of pressure. June is much more likely for Manny's fight, not May."
Arum also said he was concerned that Mayweather might not be licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a conviction hanging over his head and jail time slated for June.
"I don't even know if Mayweather will be licensed before he serves his time," Arum said.
Although Mayweather is likely to be ordered to a hearing before the commission because of his conviction before it will license him for a May 5 fight, it is likely the commission will license him. After all, the judge in Mayweather's criminal case was swayed by the economic impact of a Mayweather fight on the Las Vegas economy as one of the reasons for the delay. It is hard to imagine the commission, all political appointees, denying Mayweather a license for a fight that would bring the local economy millions of dollars.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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