By Ryan Maquiñana
In a conversation with BoxingScene.com Thursday morning, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum confirmed that a chat between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather occurred over the telephone last night.
“Floyd called [Pacquiao’s advisor] Michael Koncz, who put him on the line with Manny,” Arum said.
Pacquiao told ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo that he said that a proposed “50-50” split was “approved” and that it was “in [Mayweather’s] hands” now. However, the interview did not divulge Mayweather’s answer to Pacquiao’s assertions.
“He just said, O.K., goodbye,” Arum said, referring to Mayweather’s response. “Michael was there for the whole conversation. It was two minutes.”
Arum elaborated on Koncz’s role in the matter.
“Look, this is nothing new. Floyd’s been talking to Michael for awhile,” Arum said. “The only thing that’s news was that Manny was there and Michael put him on to talk. This talk about a 50-50 split has been going on for a while. It’s just that this was the first time they (Mayweather and Pacquiao) spoke to each other on the phone.”
Arum then addressed a statement from Mayweather’s attorney Karen Winckler that her client has “contractual obligations” to fight on May 5, a date that directly contrasts with Team Pacquiao’s desire for it to take place on May 26.
“They got to get off this May 5 date,” said the Harvard Law School graduate. “Their statement that they’re obligated by the court to fight on May 5 is complete and utter poppycock. We have the court order. It doesn’t say anything like that.”
If a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight is not made, which still seems to be the case, Arum has offered four potential matchups for a June 9 date—newly crowned 140-pound champ Lamont Peterson, Peterson's fellow junior welterweight title claimant Timothy Bradley, a fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, and what seems to be gaining steam as of late, a rematch with Miguel Cotto.
“We’re going to resolve it one way or the other this coming week,” Arum said.
Of course, Mayweather’s 90-day jail sentence was postponed by Clark County Judge Melissa Saragosa in order to allow him to fight and bring in an estimated “$100 million” to the local economy, according to Mayweather’s other attorney Richard Wright. In other words, he has to fight someone.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Robert Guerrero were reportedly the initial front-runners to land the spot, but the outspoken Mayweather wrote off both of them in addition to Cotto when speaking to BoxingScene.com's Rick Reeno and Ryan Burton yesterday.
“That’s a question you should ask Floyd,” said Arum when quizzed on what he thinks Mayweather would do in lieu of a Pacquiao fight. “Hopefully people who are interfering get out of the way and this thing can be resolved relatively easily.”
One could possibly interpret the aforementioned quote as a dig at archrival Golden Boy, which has helped handle the promotion of Mayweather’s fights in recent times.
Arum also touched on the proposed temporary 38,000-seat outdoor venue in Las Vegas that he plans on getting built for the June 9 fight, a move he told the Los Angeles Times would have garnered an extra $50.5 million in revenue if Pacquiao-Mayweather were staged there. While initial reports had the makeshift stadium headed for the Strip, Arum clarified its location.
“No. Near the strip, but not on the strip,” Arum said. “It’s close by to the original place we were thinking about. It's beautiful. Plenty of room. Great access, great parking. We visited the site yesterday. The construction people, the casino people, they all think it’s a great location.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at www.maqdown.com , or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.