Promoter Bob Arum (left) has been trying to negotiate a fight between his star client Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Jae Hong/AP)
Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, says the latest buzz of a possible Floyd Mayweather-Pacquiao bout on May 5 is just Mayweather’s way of trying to take attention away from Pacquiao’s Nov. 12 showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez (HBO PPV, 9 p.m.) at the MGM Grand.
“They are playing games,” Arum told SI.com after hearing that Mayweather will return to the ring in May and that the MGM Grand Garden Arena has been contacted. “You don’t negotiate this way. This is Floyd trying to move Manny out of the spotlight. This is no way to negotiate a fight. The MGM on May 5th? Who the hell is Floyd to say that? I know they are not serious. We put Floyd in a corner when we made it crystal clear that the issue of drug testing is over. So he comes out and makes this statement? Nobody even knows if he is going to be around in May.”
That last sentence, of course, was Arum’s not-so-subtle way of pointing out that Floyd’s legal problems could land him in prison on the date he is planning to fight. Cheap shots aside, it’s clear that Arum is determined not to let Mayweather dictate the terms of the fight everyone wants to see happen. According to Arum, Jerry Jones has a $30 million offer on the table to hold the fight at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“What happens if the MGM is not putting up any guarantees?” Arum said. “They have a call in to reserve it. Big deal. Has anyone sat down and negotiated with them? What if Jerry or the Wynn are putting up $30 million? Wouldn’t you consider that? The negotiation on the site is a major element in any of these promotions. They know that. It’s why I believe this is not sincere. This is bull----. If the fight was to happen Mayweather would want to maximize revenue. He wouldn’t tie himself to one place. He would see what other offers were out there. Even if he says I don’t want to fight in Texas, OK, there are offers.
“I’m not reaching out to anybody. They know my number. I want it done right. I want to maximize the revenue for everybody. And what is the magic of May 5? May 5th is Cinco de Mayo. What does that have to do with anything? It makes no sense.”
Making the richest fight in boxing history -- --Mayweather-Pacquiao could generate three million PPV buys and $180 million in revenue -- will require some finesse. That could mean a more prominent roles for Top Rank President Todd duBoef (who has maintained a relationship with Mayweather over the years), Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and perhaps incoming HBO Sports President Ken Hershman, who brokered the complicated deals that created Showtime’s Super Six tournament.
The clock is already ticking. While Mayweather will certainly not make any deals until Pacquiao’s fight with Marquez is finished, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe made it clear that Mayweather won’t be waiting around for anybody.
“When the boss man decides to lace them up, it’s time to go,” Ellerbe said. “He doesn’t want to take any extended time off. Floyd Mayweather is fighting on May 5th at the MGM Grand and he is looking to fight in the biggest fight out there. It isn’t no rocket science [who that is]. He wants the biggest fight out there. We want to give the fans exactly what they want. If we came out and said some stupid s---, that he was going to fight Matthew Hatton or Paulie Malignaggi, no disrespect to those guys, but that’s dumb. It’s disrespectful to the public. That’s not what the fans want to see. If we can’t make [Pacquiao] happen, we’re going to find the biggest fight.”
-- Chris Mannix