- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Floyd Mayweather Jr., who for the past two weeks has been relentlessly calling for fellow welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao to fight him on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, raised the chase to a new level on Wednesday night -- he called Pacquiao on the telephone and spoke directly with him in the Philippines.
"They spoke," Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather's advisers, told ESPN.com on Thursday.
Ellerbe would not go into the particulars of the call -- what was said or how long they spoke -- saying "the context of the conversation is between the two of them." Ellerbe said Mayweather told him about the specifics after making the call but did not want Ellerbe to go into details.
However, Mayweather provided details of his conversation with Pacquiao in an email to ESPN anchor Stan Verrett.
"I called him and asked him about us fighting May 5 and giving the World what they want to see," Mayweather's email read. "I also let him know we both can make a lot of money. He ask about a 50/50 split and I told him no that can't happen, but what can happen is you can make more money fighting me then you have made in your career. I also let him know I'm in control on my side but he needs to get on the same page with his promoter so we can make this fight happen."
The message continued: "I told him to tell his promoter that he only wants to fight Mayweather and that this fight will be the biggest fight in history. His manger came to my boxing gym a few months ago and we spoke about getting the defamation of character lawsuit dropped against me and about both fighters taking the random blood and urine test. I spoke to his manager again last night about the same thing. The call last night lasted 15 or 20 minutes. I mainly spoke to his manager he got on and off the phone real quick."
Pacquiao provided a similar account in an interview with a Filipino television network, saying he and Mayweather spoke about making the fight and doing it on a 50-50 purse split.
Their proposed showdown looms as the richest fight in boxing history if it takes place while both are universally considered the two best fighters in the world.
Ellerbe said Mayweather placed the call from Las Vegas, where he lives, to the Philippines, where Pacquiao lives and serves as a member of Congress.
Ellerbe said he was unsure how Mayweather obtained Pacquiao's direct line but added, "I'm sure that's not hard to get or find out because there have been members of Manny Pacquiao's camp who have reached out to me and other members of our team in the past. It wouldn't be that hard."
It has not been a secret that Mayweather has spoken multiple times with Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, in recent weeks.
Mayweather is insisting on May 5 because he is due to serve an 87-day jail sentence at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas after a plea deal on domestic violence charges.
The judge in the case, Judge Melissa Saragosa, delayed the beginning of Mayweather's sentence from Jan. 6 to June 1 after his attorney successfully argued that he should be allowed to fight on May 5 in order to honor an existing deal with the MGM Grand and because a Mayweather fight would inject $100 million into the ailing Las Vegas economy.
The June 1 date, attorney Richard Wright argued, would give Mayweather time to heal from any injuries he might suffer in a May 5 bout.
Various potential opponents for Mayweather have been raised, but he has insisted on Pacquiao, after years of a far more relaxed attitude toward making the fight, which fans have been demanding since it became the clear biggest fight in the sport in 2009.
On Thursday in Las Vegas, where Mayweather donated $100,000 to the Southern Nevada affiliate of the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity as part of his promise to the judge, he spoke about his desire to face Pacquiao with a handful of media on hand.
"There is no fight I want more than the Manny Pacquiao fight," Mayweather told the gathered media. "I guess he said he agreed to fight. The only thing that is stopping this fight right now, that I truly believe is stopping the fight, is Bob Arum."
Top Rank chief Arum is Pacquiao's promoter. He has said he wants to make the fight but has given numerous supposed reasons why it can't be made for May 5. He has proposed doing the fight May 26 in order to construct a temporary stadium near the Las Vegas Strip to accommodate as many as 40,000 spectators, which is more than double the capacity of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which would hold about 17,000. Arum said by keeping the fight inside the Grand Garden Arena they would be leaving millions of dollars on the table.
Arum did not return a call seeking comment.
Mayweather began to press for Pacquiao with a series of tweets beginning Jan. 11, including ones that read, "Manny Pacquiao I'm calling you out let's fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see," and "My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk."
During his media session Wednesday, Mayweather also shot down potential opponents such as junior middleweight titleholders Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, although he did say he would be interested in middleweight champion Sergio Martinez -- if he could make 150 pounds, 10 below the middleweight limit, as an alternative.
However, that fight is extremely unlikely to happen. Martinez is scheduled to defend his title against Matthew Macklin on March 17 in New York.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., who for the past two weeks has been relentlessly calling for fellow welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao to fight him, raised the chase to a new level on Wednesday -- he called Pacquiao on the telephone.