By Ivan G. Goldman
You don’t have to look too closely to see all the signs that Floyd Mayweather once again refuses to take yes for an answer from Manny Pacquiao.
Lately he’s endorsed a statement from someone in his entourage who went online raving that there are no real negotiations for a May 2 showdown, that Bob Arum is a kind of devil, and that Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, has signed a secret deal with casino operators in Macau that prevents him from letting Pacquiao fight anywhere else (which would mean negotiations for a fight in Las Vegas are a sham).
At least I think that’s what he said. It’s hard to know, exactly. It’s a puzzling, topsy-turvy rant from Alex Ariza, the guy who once kicked Parkinson’s disease sufferer Freddie Roach in the chest on camera. The kick came after he got tired of cruelly mimicking Roach’s speech, which is somewhat impaired from the disease.
One point the less than kindhearted Ariza makes clearly in his tirade is that he considers everyone in the media to be a bozo. The guy is really worked up, though it’s not clear why. Maybe he should check his medicine cabinet for tranquilizing agents.
“Thanks for setting the record straight, Alex Ariza,” tweeted an admiring Mayweather. See that comma between the words “straight” and “Alex”? That literate detail is a strong clue he got someone else to send the tweet. Floyd has admitted his literacy level isn’t terribly high.
If Mayweather were more of a reader and got out from under his traveling entourage, which includes bodyguards glaring daggers at anyone who gets within forty feet of their master, he’d be able to gauge public sentiment more accurately.
Anyway, he may be setting up the public for another pay-per-view opponent for May 2, the closest Saturday to Cinco de Mayo, a sacred holiday to hard drinkers all over America. Or maybe these antics are just part of the negotiating process. According to Arum, Pacquiao has said yes to everything – money split, blood testing, etc. By the way, that might not be completely true either.
Arum once said that Antonio Margarito, caught with loads in his hand wraps, was being picked on by the California commission just because he’s a Mexican. The commission was filled with ethnic minorities, including the Mexican-American kind.
Big-time media such as the Los Angeles Times report that deep sources confirm negotiations are going on. The reason I know this is true is Arum’s declaration that Les Moonves, the big chief of CBS and Showtime, is a participant.
Arum, infamous for once saying yesterday he was lying but today he’s telling the truth, is too smart to use the Moonves name in vain. Moonves could squash him like a bug. Which is why it’s nuts to believe Arum is pulling both Showtime and HBO into protracted negotiations for a fight in Las Vegas that legally can’t happen. That’s the kind of lie that could destroy his company.
Pacquiao says he’s agreed to everything Mayweather’s team demanded and that if he doesn’t get a signature from him by the end of the month he’ll move on. Mayweather says it’s terribly difficult to negotiate with Arum and that he wants the fight to happen. Which doesn’t jibe with the rant from Ariza.
Mayweather, a man who recently called himself “Money” before switching to TBE (The Best Ever), periodically shows up on videos caressing, cherishing and paying homage to big bundles of cash. Yet he fights for far smaller purses than he’d make fighting Pacquiao.
That doesn’t make sense to Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, Sugar Ray Leonard, and lots of other fight luminaries who say Mayweather is afraid to fight explosive southpaw Pacquiao. It would be the biggest-money fight in history. Floyd says he wants Arum out of the way. In other words, fire your promoter, Manny, even though you have a contract with him, and maybe we’ll talk.
None of this penetrates Floyd’s hard-core fans, who form a kind of Flat Earth Society that sometimes says Pacquiao isn’t worth fighting and sometimes that Arum won’t allow the fight to happen. Oddsmakers have made Floyd a 3-1 favorite for May 2 – if there’s a fight.
I wouldn’t bet on that last part. But hey, there’s always another Cinco de Mayo.
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.