Money still central sticking point in Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations
NEW YORK -- With the buzz for a potential super fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao once again reaching a fever pitch, there continue to be indications that the finances of this anticipated showdown will be a significant obstacle. According to a source close to Mayweather, if a Pacquiao fight were to happen, Mayweather would need to receive close to two-thirds of the revenue.
In a telephone interview with SI.com, Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, disputed the number. Arum declined to discuss specifics of the split but said he has been in contact with CBS CEO Les Moonves this week -- CBS is the parent company of Showtime, which has an exclusive deal with Mayweather -- and that "based on my conversations, that is not accurate."
Negotiations between Top Rank and CBS have continued after disappointing pay-per-view numbers for Manny Pacquiao’s welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri last month have come in. According to Arum, Pacquiao-Algieri generated just over 400,000 pay-per-view buys, while industry sources say that number is somewhere between 350,000 and 375,000.
Still, Arum insists that he is not unhappy with the fight’s performance at the box office.
"It’s good for a fight that takes place in Macau," Arum said. "If it takes place out of the U.S., that’s an automatic 40-50 percent reduction. There is no ESPN around the clock, not all the media is involved. In the U.S., that fight does 700-800,000 buys. This goes back to ancient times. The worst performing fight in the Ali-Frazier trilogy was the Thrilla in Manila because it took place outside the country. Even the Ali-Foreman fight didn’t perform that well in closed circuit in the U.S. People say, 'Well why are you doing it?' It’s because of the tremendous amount that we make in China."
Recently, promoter M. Akbar Muhammad, a boxing executive and one of the principals of an Abu Dhabi-based investment group, offered a $110 million purse to Mayweather and combined purses of $200 million for the right to stage Pacquiao-Mayweather in the United Arab Emirates. Arum says that while he has not seen the proposal, he has no objection to the fight taking place abroad.
"If Mayweather signs on, if the deal with us is OK, we have no objection to fighting in Abu Dhabi," Arum said. "Do I know whether it is real, if it’s real money, of course not. I'm not paying any attention to it. Until they get Mayweather, there is no reason to. There is an awful lot of oil money in the Middle East, and there are people who don’t care about making a profit, but do it for other reasons."