Pacman targeting Mayweather bout

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MANILA, May 12 – World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao said Wednesday he was finally ready to fight Floyd Mayweather for the last professional bout of his career and potentially the richest in history.Pacquiao made the announcement about the potential Mayweather clash, which US promoter Bob Arum said could take place on November 13 in Texas or Las Vegas, after winning a seat in the Philippine parliament.

"Many fans really want me to fight Floyd Mayweather so I asked my Mama if we can give them one more fight, she said okay," Pacquiao said in an interview with broadcaster ABS-CBN.

"We spoke yesterday and she said just one last fight, Mayweather."

"Pacman", 31, is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes and fans are clamouring for a clash with former champion Mayweather, 33, to determine who is the greatest welterweight of their generation.

Negotiations for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight fell through earlier this year when the American insisted on Olympic-style random drug testing, which the Filipino rejected as too intrusive before a bout.

Pacquiao, the only boxer in history to have seven world titles in as many weight divisions and widely regarded to be the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, made no mention of the drugs issue in the television interview.

Pacquiao’s mother, Dionisia, in her 60s, had been imploring him to retire from boxing.

And the launch of his political career — he secured a landslide win in national elections on Monday for a seat representing the southern province of Sarangani — appears to have pushed him towards acceding to her requests.

Arum, who flew to Sarangani to watch Pacquiao campaign for the election, told the Manila Standard newspaper he had reserved November 13 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"The cable television companies and satellite providers have put the date aside for us, so the table is set," said the flamboyant Top Rank boss, adding a government title would be a boost for Pacquiao.

"I think this is a real plus and the confidence that it will give him to have this lifelong dream of being identified as a congressman when he’s introduced at press conferences and in the ring is something spectacular."

Pacquiao was among dozens of celebrities who ran for positions, ranging from president to town councillor, in national elections across the boxing-mad Philippines, one of Asia’s most boisterous democracies.

He is regarded as a national treasure in the impoverished Philippines, where even Muslim extremists and soldiers silence their guns during his fights.

Pacquiao has said that public office would be his way of paying society back by helping poor Filipinos after his fighting career is over.

Pacquiao defeated Ghana’s Joshua Clottey to retain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt in the United States in March.

One of Pacquiao’s most spectacular victories was over Oscar de la Hoya, who endured eight rounds of humiliation in December 2008 that sent him into retirement.

Last year, Pacquiao was listed by Forbes magazine as the world’s sixth highest paid athlete, earning 40 million dollars in the 12 months to June 2009.

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