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It might happen. Finally, the fight boxing fans have been pining over for years looks to be materializing. No, really, we're serious this time.

Okay, maybe remaining skeptical isn't the worst idea given how often the specter of a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight has been raised only to fizzle out, but the most recent noise about such a bout appears to have a little more substance to it than usual, and that's a good thing.

Perhaps it is the thought of a payday that could be the largest in boxing history, perhaps it is the advancing ages of both fighters, perhaps it's something else entirely, but the noise feels more substantial than ever before.

The undefeated Mayweather has been a very public target of ridicule recently, most notably with rapper 50 Cent questioning the champion's ability to read. Now Pacquiao is adding his voice to the mix, questioning whether Mayweather's fear of defeat is what has prevented a fight between the welterweights.

“Well, I think he is worried about his record. He talks about his zero losses. The zero that means so much to him means nothing when measured against who he fought,” Pacquiao said. “You talk pound-for-pound best, or undefeated champion. If you don’t defend against the best, none of that means anything.”

Following those statements, Pacquiao's camp kept talking about a possible match, with Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum saying that officials from HBO (where Pacquiao fights) and Showtime (Mayweather's home channel) had talked about a possible fight in early 2015.

“Both networks want this fight to happen,” Arum said. “All signs seem to point to the fight happening early next year.”

All that chatter is tantalizing to boxing fans who have long lamented the lack of a fight between the two men that have dominated their weight classes, and arguably the entire sport, for years. Still, both fighters have contests already on their schedules to worry about before the details of a match between them can be finalized.

Pacquiao will face undefeated Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) with Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title on the line on November 22. The title holder is a big favorite in that bout, currently sporting odds around 1/16 to retain. Less favored is Mayweather, who is giving Argentine Marcos Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) a rematch from their May bout on September 13.

In that first fight, Maidana surprised many by giving Mayweather a shockingly competitive fight before losing via majority decision. By utilizing an unorthodox style focused on throwing many heavy blows, Maidana was able to win a few rounds and make something of a name for himself.

Indeed, while still a big underdog, Maidana's odds are markedly improved from those given before their first fight. Gambling.com's fight preview has the big-swinging Argentine at 9/2 to pull off the upset, while back in May he sat around 8/1. Similarly, Mayweather was a 1/10 favorite before the first match, but is just 1/7 for the rematch.

That Maidana fight is the first step in maintaining the undefeated record Pacquiao is using as ammunition in his war of words with Money May, and it could be crucial to getting a deal done.

While so far only Pacquiao's camp has been speaking about a possible deal, that could all change once the Maidana fight is behind Mayweather, at which point speculation and hopes throughout the boxing world should ramp up to incredible levels.

Just by raising the possibility of a fight, these two have proven yet again that they are the kings of their sport. Now the wait begins to see if they can take their rule to a whole new level.


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