Manny Pacquiao seems to get it. The Filipino fighter, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight classes, seems to understand what boxing fans want. Like those fans, he also seems to have accepted that the only person with control over whether that long-awaited thing ever actually happens is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao, 35, poked fun at the years of drama over a potential fight between himself and Mayweather, 37, in a recent ad for Foot Locker. In the commercial, Pacquiao overhears part of a conversation at a gym while working out and believes that Mayweather has agreed to the bout. The reigning welterweight champ celebrates just like many boxing fans might if a deal between the two feuding camps was ever brokered.
The video was released ahead of a welterweight title fight between Pacquiao (56-6-2, 38 ) and undefeated Chris Algieri (20-0) set for Saturday in Macau. That fight could be a prelude to an eventual bout between Pacquiao and Mayweather.
"I'm crossing my fingers that that fight will happen but right now my mind is already set to focus on my next fight with Algieri," Pacquiao told AFP in October. "I think the time to talk about that issue is after the fight."
Negotiations between the fighters' camps broke down in 2009 over payout splits and Mayweather's demand for Olympic-style drug testing. In the years since, Mayweather has been dogged by criticisms that he dodged the fight while Pacquiao went on to suffer a pair of surprise defeats, one controversial and the other meme-level embarrassing.
Mayweather, who served two months in jail in 2012 relating to a misdemeanor domestic battery case, kept his boxing record unblemished as he fought his way closer to a planned 2015 retirement. All the while, he lived up to his "Money" nickname by bragging about his in-ring earnings and out-of-the-ring spending on Twitter and Instagram.
Mayweather also used social media to criticize Pacquiao for his 2012 defeat to Juan Manual Marquez when verbal sparring between the two picked up again in September 2014.
....Miss Pac Man is broke and desperate for a pay day. Your Pay-Per-View numbers are a joke. 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/qmhOBvibG5
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) September 26, 2014
Hopes that these two might eventually trade punches instead of tweets were bolstered by comments from boxing promoter Bob Arum just days before Pacquiao's fight with Aligeri.
"I am now more optimistic that the fight is going to happen than I was three or four years ago," Arum, who represents Pacquiao, told GMA News. "I am talking to responsible people who are in touch with the Mayweather guys. All of these people have the ability to move it ahead and make it happen."
If the sides can ever agree to a fight, fans may have a sense of how Pacquiao might react to the news thanks.
"I hope it's true, but I don't see it happening. I don't see it," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach told Dan Rafael of ESPN. "It's been three to four years. It should have happened by now. What makes it different this time? If Manny looks good against Algieri, it will make Mayweather say no even more, so I just laugh at all this. Negotiating the money alone won't happen. They'll never agree on the split Mayweather wants. There's a lot of work to be done, and I don't think it's possible."