By Ivan G. Goldman
No more Mister Nice Guy. That’s Manny Pacquiao’s new message to Floyd Mayweather. If the Philippines Congressman can’t entice the champ out of his hole with the fragrance of fresh currency, he’ll set a brushfire and try to smoke
Since Floyd says he refuses to do business with Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, said Pacquiao, then why not take business out of the equation entirely and fight for charity? That’s a scenario he posed to The Inquirer, a Philippines news outlet.
Floyd was off his verbal game this week because he was touring South Africa on a goodwill tour, which left him wide open to questions from members of the South African news media trailing after him. When Mayweather is back in the States he and his handlers take questions only from carefully selected people who basically agree with everything he says.
So when Floyd got caught flat-footed by new queries about his reluctance to fight Pacquiao, he responded by saying Pacquiao wants the fight because he’s desperate to solve his financial problems. His Philippines bank accounts have been frozen by the government there, which is run by his political opposition. The government claims the step was necessary in order to investigate Pacquiao’s tax situation.
“All of a sudden, he loses to Timothy Bradley, he loses to Marquez … he has tax problems now,” Mayweather told reporters in South Africa. “So, two losses and tax problems later, now he all of a sudden wants to say: ‘You know what? I’d do anything to make the fight happen,’ when he’s really saying, ‘Floyd, can you help me solve my tax problems, get me out of debt?’”
Pacquiao, hearing the accusation, shot back that he’d be willing to forego any purse whatsoever if Floyd will do the same. “I’m not desperate to fight him just for the sake of money or material things,” he told The Inquirer. “I’m not the one seeking this fight. Rather, it’s the boxing fans all over the world.”
He added, “I am ready to submit myself to any kind of stringent drug testing. Above all, I challenge him to include in our fight contract that both of us will not receive anything out of this fight. We will donate all the proceeds of the fight – guaranteed prize, should there be any, gate receipts, pay-per-view and endorsements – to charities around the world.”
He strongly hinted that if Mayweather, who owns pieces of both the welterweight and super welterweight world titles, won’t fight him under these conditions he has clearly run out of excuses and must be “afraid.”
Pacquiao, 55-5-2 (38 KOs), who in recent years appears to have taken Christian teachings to heart, has been going to great lengths to say nothing negative about anybody, including Floyd. He even congratulated Timothy Bradley on a questionable split decision victory over him in June 2012 in Las Vegas. Pacquiao refused to say anything derogatory about judges Duane Ford or C.J. Ross, who both scored it for Bradley. Jerry Roth had it for Pacquiao. The WBO later had the decision reviewed by a five-judge panel. All five judges scored it for Paqcuiao, but the Las Vegas decision was allowed to stand.
In Pacquiao’s next fight six months later, Pacquiao, ahead on the cards, was knocked out at the end of the sixth round when Juan Manuel Marquez caught him with a spectacular right hand. Mayweather’s reaction was stunningly peculiar. Rather than expressing sorrow that he’d lost the opportunity to earn a tremendous purse fighting Pacquiao, he was curiously buoyant, as though he’d just dodged a bullet.
Mayweather, when he speaks about a potential match with Pacquiao, which would surely be the biggest money fight of all time, has used a variety of excuses for avoiding it. His die-hard fans note that he once offered Pacquiao, speaking through the media, a flat $40 million purse to fight him. But both fighters in the main event always get a piece of the pay-per-view pie. Mayweather’s offer, if that’s what it was, would have reduced his opponent to the level of an employee and given Mayweather complete control of the promotion.
Mayweather’s next opponent, on May 3, will apparently be either Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana. They’re both flawed but excellent fighters. Neither match would generate anywhere near the amount of money a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout would produce.
Mayweather, 45-0 (26 KOs), is clearly one of the most talented fighters to ever put on the gloves, but he’s been dogged for much of his career by the accusation that he’s too careful a manager, picking and choosing opponents with zealous concern for how their styles might match up against his, rather than taking on all legitimate challengers. The world has been clamoring for a Mayweather-Pacquiao contest for several years, and the clamor was renewed when Pacquiao looked like his old self in his last fight against Brandon Rios, displaying speed, movement, power, and elusiveness.
In Mayweather’s last fight, against tough Canelo Alvarez, Floyd toyed with the hard-hitting Mexican superstar, making him look like a sparring partner. Floyd, who will be 37 next month, says his last fight will be in September 2015. Pacquiao, who’s fought in many wars, is now 35.
“I have carved my own niche in the annals of boxing,” Pacquiao told The Enquirer, and said he doesn’t need a Mayweather bout. “But since the boxing fans worldwide are seeking and demanding for Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, I don’t want to disappoint them,” he said.
It’s very unlikely that a contest of such magnitude would actually be fought for charity, but if it were to happen, it would be so unprecedented it would win a special place in history regardless of the outcome. If the fight doesn’t happen that would also make history, but not the kind that’s flattering to a champion.
Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag, by New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman, was released in 2013 by Potomac Books, a University of Nebraska Press imprint. It can be purchased here.