Mayweather in Pac Man sights

TRAINER Freddie Roach has put Floyd Mayweather Jr firmly in his sights as the next opponent for his victorious charge Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) cemented his claim to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet when he stopped WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto in the 12th and final round of their Las Vegas showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.

And having blown away box office blockbuster opponents Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and now Cotto in consecutive fights over the last 12 months, the stage has been set for a fight to top them all against the undefeated Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs).

The brash American returned to the ring from a short-lived retirement following his December 2007 victory over Britain’s Hatton with a clinical unanimous decision win over Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez.

Yet Mayweather’s prior inactivity cost him his pound-for-pound top ranking status and all the talk has been of a megafight with the Filipino to settle the issue.

Publicly the former welterweight champion has said he would only fight Pacquiao if he got the lion’s share of any purse while Pacquaio was reticent to talk about his plans for future fights in the immediate aftermath of his victory over Puerto Rico’s Cotto.

“My job is to fight in the ring and I think that depends on (Top Rank’s Bob) Arum my promoter to negotiate that fight,” Pacquiao said.

“I’m just going to take a vacation first and spend time with my family and have fun.”

Yet there was no stopping Pacquiao’s trainer from picking out an opponent for his southpaw star.

“The whole world wants to see him fight Mayweather and I want Mayweather,” Roach said.

Hall of fame trainer Emanuel Steward was at ringside for Pacquiao-Cotto as a TV summariser and like Roach, felt there was only one logical next step for the 30-year-old Filipino.

“There’s no doubt you have to go with Mayweather,” Steward said.

“You have a fight that’s been made by the public more than the fighters – that’s what happened with Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. The public said ‘we want that fight to happen’ and that’s why it happened.

“I think they’ll come together on the money but it’s going to be a very intriguing fight because Floyd’s a technical fighter. He knows how to wait back and box a little bit and it’s going to be a lot different than it was against a guy who comes forward and is not that great on his defence.

“But I think it will happen, it’s just a case of when and who gets what in terms of money. I think it should be a 50-50. Manny has earned his position not just as pound for pound but as one of the all-time greats.

“I’d put him up there with the Ray Robinsons and Alis.”

Having gone down to a second defeat in 16 months, 29-year-old Cotto (34-2, 27 KOs) insisted he still had a future in the ring. “I will continue fighting,” Cotto insisted.

Pacquaio started out his professional career at 107lbs but suggested he would not be going any further up through the weights. “For me I think this is the last weight division I’m going to fight in and I think my trainer will be happy to hear that because 154 is too big for me and 147 is my regular weight,” he said.

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