Floyd Mayweather has shrugged off the Word Boxing Council's decision to install Manny Pacquiao as the number one contender to his WBC welterweight title, insisting the Filipino fighter can have the belt if he wants it.
Speculation as to who will step into the ring with the unbeaten 36-year-old for his next scheduled fight in May 2014 remains intense with Pacquiao and his former stable mate Amir Khan both in contention.
Pacquiao's chances of being given the nod received a significant boost when the WBC updated their rankings to place the 34-year-old next in line to challenge for Mayweather's title, a decision seemingly justified by his dominant victory over Brandon Rios in November.
But the five weight world champion Mayweather remains unconcerned by the ranking upheaval, while questioning how his potential challenger rose to his number one contender position in the first place.
"Everybody keeps talking about the title and that he's the mandatory. He can have the belt. A belt doesn't make me," Mayweather told Fight Hype.
"You know, when you talk about the Manny Pacquiao story, Manny Pacquiao was at welterweight, and he lost to Timothy Bradley. No matter how you cut it, slice it or weigh it, he lost to Timothy Bradley.
"He got knocked out by (Juan Manuel) Marquez. He came back and then he goes the distance with a lightweight," Mayweather continued, in reference to Rios.
"Now all of a sudden, he's the mandatory for my title."
While Mayweather remains unsure of a clash with Pacquiao, Khan is growing increasingly confident of confirmation of a lucrative super-fight between the duo likely to place in Las Vegas in May.
"It's the fight I've always been after and we're very close now; not too far away," Khan told Press Association Sport.
"Hopefully something is going to be announced within the next couple of weeks."
After the 27-year-old's December bout with Devon Alexander was shelved, the Bolton-born fighter has been keen to arrange a clash with the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
Although Khan will have sat out of action for 13 months by the time his proposed match with Mayweather comes about, he is insistent the time out of the limelight working with trainer Virgil Hunter will prove to be key to correcting the mistakes that marred his scare against Julio Diaz in April.
"The break has been so good for me because over the last few years I've been training or fighting all the time and this time I've focused on building my relationship with Virgil," Khan continued.
"Next time I go into camp I'm going to know exactly what I'm doing with him. I've already been working on correcting the mistakes I've made in the past, so you're only going to see improvement."
To contact the editor, e-mail: