By Ivan G. Goldman
Here’s an Internet flash. A few scattered, less than credible web sites are claiming that a wealthy group in the United Arab Emirates is offering to put up $150 million for a Floyd-Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight and that the fighters’ dealmakers are preventing it. Most of the sites appear to have been put together in strange corners of the earth by people who know as much about prizefighting as I do about life on the planet Zango (as far as I know, no such planet exists).
There is, however, one U.S. website that claims this bout will take place by November — it doesn’t specify a year, but I think you’ll agree with me that under normal October circumstances, when someone is talking about “November” without a year attached, one means next month. A $150 million fight next month in Dubai. Yes, of course. No time to train, do any marketing or … Why go on?
If the rumor is true and the fight goes on next month, that’s terrible timing for me because I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that I plan to launch a manned mission to Mars in November, which means I might have to miss the fight. On the other hand, maybe the U.S. site is talking about November of 2013. If so, that betrays another form of sloppiness. Language sloppiness.
I can confirm that there is some guy named “anonymous” who is distributing an official-looking contract for such a fight under the auspices of the Royal Emirates Group with offices in London and Dubai. No promoter is named. No network is named. No specific venue, as far as I can tell, is named. Not one dollar, as far as I can tell, has changed hands.
Now as to the theory that the fighters’ dealmakers are standing in the way of the fight because it will cost them money and power. Hmm. I’d guess Pacquiao must pay Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions a slice no matter what — under their contract. And advisor Al Haymon might have a similar deal with Floyd. The theory that middlemen are preventing this sought-after match has been out there for a while. In the past it was a rumor encouraged by Floyd, who wanted us to think he would fight Manny were it not for Arum. This has never made sense. Why would the biggest promotional company not wish to promote the biggest money fight in history? Especially when the promoter’s fighter (Pac-man is 33) has lots of battle scars and is close to the end of his career. That’s when promotional instincts slide into home plate. Yeah. Time to cash in.
As for the fighters themselves, they love money, yes, but they want to fight in front of their fans, not a bunch of oil sheiks who know nothing about the sport. It would be very weird. HBO would also be less than thrilled. Everything went wrong in Muhammad Ali’s fights in Manila & Zaire. Everything, though the fighters did get paid. Manila had no functioning air conditioning. Zaire had no seats in the “stadium.” These events taught fight guys a lesson. No more weird venues. Maybe they’ll have to learn the lesson all over again, but I doubt it.
If I were either fighter I would reply to this group of fellows that I will talk to them if they give me $1 million up front to prove the seriousness of their intentions. Anyway, against my better instincts I’ve paid attention to this rumor. But if the fight takes place in Dubai I invite you all to ride my rocket ship to Mars.
Ivan G. Goldman’s critically acclaimed novel The Barfighter is set in the world of boxing. Information HERE