By Kirk Jackson
Its official, the fight of the century between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will have to wait. A consistent occurrence, with abysmal negotiations between the two camps seemingly not being able to agree on anything, the dream matchup fans have been dying to see now for the past three years is on the back burner.
As Mayweather prepares to face Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto for his WBA Super Welterweight Title May 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Pacquiao will more than likely face one of his Top Rank colleagues Timothy Bradley, or newly crowned IBF Junior Welterweight champion Lamont Peterson in June.
It has been hinted at for a few years now, that Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum has been against a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao, and for obvious reasons.
Stylistically, this is a bad matchup for Pacquiao because of Mayweather’s defensive skill, counter punching ability, overall speed and reach advantages, and the chances of him winning are slim. In recent years, Pacquiao is accustomed to fighting slower, older, weight drained fighters in recent years. See Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margarito, Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, etc.
So Arum is basically protecting his most prized possession by keeping him away from Mayweather. Of course, a few of his buddies at ESPN will probably try to spin it around and say this is another attempt of Mayweather ducking Pacquiao, but let’s look at the history.
When Mayweather’s management team wanted to engage in negotiations with Pacquiao after his third fight against Marquez, his efforts were immediately shot down.
Arum was quoted by Espn.com saying, “We are pursuing a fourth fight with Marquez. If we decide we want to do a rematch with Marquez, there is no reason to sit down with Mayweather.”
Mayweather even went as far as to call Pacquiao out over public media vessels such as Twitter and Facebook. He even called his rival’s phone.
The current p4p champion has been adamant about wanting to fight Pacquiao; he even stated so in many press conferences leading up to a fight against his last opponent Victor Ortiz.
“Do I want the Pacquiao fight? Absolutely,” Mayweather said at a press conference Tuesday in New York City to announce his September 17th fight against Ortiz.
Mayweather wants this fight, and has made attempts to lure Pacquiao into a matchup. Pacquiao has responded in a sense, and seemingly wants to make this dream a reality as well.
Pacquiao was quoted a few months ago, stating he is willing to take a smaller split in order to make the fight happen.
As reported to Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin, from his home in General Santos City, Pacquiao said, “Walang problema kahit na mas maliit ang premyo ko. Ang importante ay matuloy lang ang laban,” which loosely translated means, “I have no problem taking smaller prize. The important thing is making the fight.”
Arum wants at least a 50/50 split between the two super stars.
But Mayweather has all the leverage in that regard anyways. Pacquiao said he was willing to take smaller portion of the split and rightfully so; he looked terrible against an aging Marquez, who is a guy by the way Mayweather easily dominated at the same weight.
Mayweather is also undefeated, has better PPV numbers and generates more money. With the exception of Marquez, against the same opponents in comparison to Pacquiao, he has higher PPV numbers. That’s counting fights against Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley. Mayweather also has a string of five-straight fights producing over one million PPV buys, a feat never accomplished in the history of the sport.
Even if Pacquiao takes a pay cut, he would still be making the most money he has ever made in his career. Even compared to the amount of money he has already amassed, that is a gargantuan upgrade in revenue.
As illustrated before, it seems the problem is Bob Arum. What is it? Do you just want to make money off of two Top Rank fighters, like you have been doing the past five Pacquiao fights? Does that hold precedence over giving the fans what they want to see?
Another step, in this mockery of a negotiation were talks of wanting to change the venue from Las Vegas, to another city like Dallas or New York, and even a change in stadiums within the city of Las Vegas were in discussion.
So the MGM Grand isn’t grand enough, you actually want to construct an outdoor stadium, just to host this mega event in Las Vegas? You have the financial resources for that? Why would you want to do that all of sudden?
All these options are just convenient excuses to back out of a fight you have to take, without making it look like you’re backing out of a fight. Just like with the whole drug testing issues.
When it looked like Mayweather was going to be incarcerated in January, it appeared like Pacquiao was willing ready to fight in May, but when they found out his sentence was suspended until June because of an already looming fight date and booking with MGM Grand, Arum says, “Manny isn’t going to be ready to fight until summer time.”
Of course he won’t be ready until then.
We can even go back three years ago, when the only thing holding the fight up was random drug was testing.
I don’t even understand how people could question Mayweather for wanting random drug testing, if anything, Pacquiao’s integrity for the sport should have been questioned for refusing to submit to random testing for steroids. Especially with all the foul play with Top Rank fighters and Promoter Bob Arum, anyone remember Antonio Margarito?
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach and his Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Ariza, have a history of working with boxers and other athletes involved with steroid use. Does James Toney ring a bell?
Now we do not know for sure whether Pacman has been juicing or not, but there is an interesting quote from his strength and conditioning coach that may raise some eye brows.
As reported to Thomas Hauser of secondsout.com a few days before Pacquiao’s fight against Cotto, Ariza said, “Athletes start to backslide around age twenty-eight if they haven’t started to decline before then. Manny is thirty and he’s getting better.
Ariza added, “Our records don’t lie. Not only is he getting stronger; he’s actually getting faster as he moves up in weight. I’ve worked with some great athletes, but I’ve never worked with an athlete like Manny.”
“But there’s one thing that’s very frustrating for me, Manny won’t let me do all the tests I want to do with him. There are tests I’d love to do to determine his lung capacity, but they’re invasive and he won’t let me do them. And there are other measurements, quite a few, that I’d like to take, but I can’t because Manny is very protective of his body.”
Looks kinda fishy to me.
But the whole drug testing issue was a reason for this fight not coming into fruition in years past. Refusing to take random blood tests is not a valid excuse to duck a fight. If you’re a clean fighter as you claim to be, there shouldn’t be a problem. Ortiz agreed to it, Marquez agreed to it, Cotto has signed on, and even former steroid user Mosley agreed to it.
And I refuse to believe all the nonsense about being afraid of needles. The numerous tattoos suggest something different.
Roach can complain and say the random Olympic style testing is beyond the jurisdiction and not part of the Nevada State Athletic Commission regulations and rules, and blah blah blah.
Well the demands for catch weights, weight rehydration limits, weight request for the gloves, ten million dollar weight penalties and all of the other concessions you mandate are not part of the rules and regulations of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, or any state athletic commission for that matter.
And at the end of the day, Mayweather is willing to undergo the same random testing Pacquiao will be going through. There was no advantage.
I won’t doubt that Pacquiao wants to fight Mayweather. At this point in the boxing game, I don’t think fighters are afraid to fight each other; they have been fighting all their lives.
Maybe there are a few exceptions, facing the likes of a Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston or a young George Foreman. Intimidating fighters like that struck fear in the hearts of their opponents. And although they’re exceptionally skilled fighters, I don’t think anyone views Mayweather or Pacquiao as unrelenting menaces inside the ring.
Is he afraid? Yes, Arum that is. He is afraid of losing his cash cow once he probably meets defeat at the hands of Mayweather. Unless he is waiting for him to fall off and then make the fight.
Who knows if we will ever see this fight?
As suggested by his trainer Roach, when he was recently interviewed by Foxsports.com, he said, “Bob has to give Manny what he wants. If Manny says, ‘I want Mayweather,’ Bob will have to give him Mayweather. He needs to be pushy. He’s got to step up and tell (Arum) who he wants to fight.”
Maybe The Congressman has to be more aggressive verbally as he is inside the boxing ring. Until then, we will be left with Mayweather vs. Cotto and Pacquiao vs. Peterson, Bradley, or some other Top Rank fighter.