Manny Pacquiao Appears at RIZIN 45, Bout with Floyd Mayweather Teased

Manny pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao vs Yordenis Ugas on 08-21-21. Photo: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

If you take what occurred in the ring at RIZIN 45 on New Year’s Eve at face value, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. might just be set to run it back in 2024 — inside the RIZIN ring.

During Sunday’s broadcast at the Saitama Super Arena, RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara brought boxing legend Pacquiao into the ring. The Filipino star then apologized to fans for a previously planned appearance falling through — but said that he’d compete for RIZIN during 2024.

Sakakibara then likely shocked many by asking Pacquiao “could you please fight Floyd Mayweather?”

Come again?

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao turned out to be the highest-selling match in boxing history, selling north of four million Pay-Per-Views. Both fighters have since retired, though both have found that there’s money to be made competing in exhibition bouts around the globe. Japan has been a particularly lucrative market on that front, with Mayweather competing twice for RIZIN in the past: first against Tenshin Nazukawa, and later against Mikuru Asakura.

Mayweather won both contests. Had he lost, it wouldn’t have mattered: exhibition bouts do not count on a fighter’s professional record.

Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2) retired following a 2021 loss to Yordenis Ugás, but has since appeared in (and won) a pair of exhibition bouts. He has another scheduled for early 2024, as he’s expected to face Muay Thai star Buakaw Banchamek.

Mayweather retired at 50-0 after defeating MMA superstar Conor McGregor in “Money’s” final bout. Since then, he has competed in seven exhibition contests, with the most recent, against John Gotti III, resulting in a No Contest due to unsportsmanlike conduct (excessive trash talk).

No details were provided on the RIZIN 45 broadcast on when a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao match-up might transpire. It would presumably be an exhibition contest, and whether the public has an appetite for a second appearance by the aging boxing stars remains to be seen. Despite its financial success, “MayPac” turned out to be a mostly lackluster affair in the ring.