By Ronnie Nathanielsz
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, undoubtedly the most astute negotiator in the sometimes serpentine business of boxing, believes that he may succeed in getting a megabuck fight between pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr to happen in November.
In an exclusive interview with BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports in Pacquiao’s hometown of General Santos City, Arum told us “Once I talk with Manny which will be after the elections (on Monday) I will do whatever I can to make that fight a reality.”
Arum said he had never seen anything like this because “wherever I go whether its coming here to the Philippines or back in the states in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and in New York, that’s what people ask me. Everyone who comes up to me asks ‘when is Manny going to fight Mayweaher?”
Arum said “when you get an overwhelming public demand for a fight like that, which I haven’t seen since (Muhmmad) Ali and (Joe) Frazir fought the first time in 1971 you have to do everything you can to make that fight a reality.”
Arum said that after Mayweather’s easy win over Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last weekend he believes a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will be easier to make.
He said that after watching Mayweather beat Mosley and Pacquiao beat Joshua Clottey which Arum described as “not really competitive fights the fans are saying “but these guys (Pacquiao and Mayweather) are both so good. I think now the public is saying enough, enough ,we want these guys to fight each other in the biggest fight of all-time. Each makes a pot-full of money and that fight has to happen.”
Arum said “that is the reaction of fight fans, sports fans and just casual observers. He added, “now I think the fighters do want it. Manny always wanted it and couldn’t make it last time . I have my doubts whether Floyd wanted it. Floyd realizes now that he can’t putter around fighting guys that people don’t believe are competitive and I think Floyd really, genuinely now wants the fight.”
Arum epmhasized that he didn’t want to “talk about anything with regard to the negotiations because I haven’t discussed anything with Manny Pacquiao and because you don’t go into negotiations showing your cards.”
Arum however said that If the fight is going to happen these issues (of income split and random drug tests) have to be talked about in private. The more we go public the more each side gets put into a corner and less likely the fight is to happen. That was a mistake that was made the last time which was made by Mayweather and (Richard Schaefer) putting out a press release which blew up everything about the possibility that Manny was on performance enhancing drugs and that started everything. It went downhill and I don’t want that to happen again. ”
However Arum told us that “if everything goes well the good time for that fight would be November after the baseball season is over and before the football playoffs start . November would be the perfect time.”
When we pointed out that the public wants the fight and he honestly believes both fighters want the fight and there’s nobody who doesn’t want it Arum replied “that is correct and that’s why I believe this fight is going to happen.”
While admitting that they have options in case the Mayweather fight doesn’t push through Arum conceded “I didn’t feel sad last time going to the second option (the fight against Clottey) but I would feel a sadness this time going to the second time.”