By Rick Reeno
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who recently returned from a trip to the Philippines, spoke to BoxingScene.com about the latest developments, regarding a possible deal being reached for a welterweight mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather is scheduled to fight on May 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Arum, along with Team Pacquiao, are requesting a date in late-May, with a specially designed outdoor arena on the Las Vegas strip. In terms of construction time, Arum says the outdoor arena can be completed in time for a fight to take place at the end of May.
BoxingScene.com: Bob, what's the latest with the Mayweather-Pacquiao situation?
Arum: It takes two to tango. My job in representing the 50% in the fight, is to guarantee Manny Pacquiao and to work out a deal on the percentage that belongs to Pacquiao and that belongs to me, for the risk I'm taking, the promotional rights and so forth. We're all set. Pacquiao and Top Rank are all set. I went to the Philippines and made sure of that.
We are locked and ready to go. I can't say the same for the other side, because I don't know what arrangements have been made because I'm not privy to that. And indeed I don't even know if [Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard] Schaefer is involved. I sort of gather that he is so frantic with everybody and so forth, that he is not involved. Because unlike Top Rank, that has a contract with Manny, we are involved. I don't know if Schaefer is involved
BoxingScene.com: [Golden Boy Promotions President] Oscar De La Hoya has claimed that Richard Schaefer tried to call your office several times to make this fight, and nobody returns his calls.
Arum: Now wait a second. It's the same as you, calling me, and saying 'I want to do this fight, I'm promoting Mayweather, let's sit down and talk.' I wouldn't do that because I don't know if you're representing Mayweather or you aren't. You don't have a contract with Mayweather and neither does Schaefer. Schaefer has done some promotions for Mayweather for a fee, but that doesn't mean he's representing him on this type of situation.
Looking at it from Mayweather's perspective, with money this large, I wouldn't want to go naked and fight on a percentage. I would want a substantial guarantee. I know people have called me and said they talked to Mayweather and they were prepared to put up a guarantee, but I don't know if it's true or if it isn't true. It's not my f**king business. It only becomes my business when Mayweather says 'I want to do the fight and these are the people representing me because I made a deal with them.'
BoixngScene.com: We had a recent interview with [Top Rank President] Todd duBoef. He said Mayweather has his cell number and all Floyd needs to do is call him. Would him calling satisfy the situation?
Arum: I'm glad Todd said it, because that's exactly what our position is. If Floyd says 'I'm locked and loaded with Rick Reeno,' we would sit down with you and make a deal. But Floyd has to say it. We know for a fact there is no contract with anybody. Contrary to what a guy who is prostituting himself for access is saying, we are the ones acting reasonably. We are acting like business people. To say we don't want the fight is ludicrous. We don't want to sit down with somebody who may not be authorized, or use our sitting down with him as a way to slither his way into the promotion.
What Todd is saying is 100% correct. And it doesn't even have to be a call. The kid [Mayweather] knows how text very well. He and Todd exchange texts from time to time.
BoxingScene.com: I know Pacquaio has advised you as to his preference outside of Mayweather. The name going around, according to a few people, is Miguel Cotto.
Arum: I am not authorized to talk about who it is, because whoever it is - is Plan B. When they become Plan A, we'll talk about it. Plan A is Mayweather. We are locked and loaded on our side, we're ready.
BoxingScene.com: On the other side, Mayweather could go into a May fight with Saul Alvarez.....
Arum: [Cutting in] Just listen to what Floyd is saying. Don't listen to Schaefer, he's a wannabe. Floyd has said that he doesn't want to fight anybody - unless it's Manny Pacquiao. That's what he said. Why don't you give the guy credit for meaning what he said. He doesn't want to fight Alvarez. He doesn't want to fight [Robert] Guerrero. He wants to fight Manny Pacquiao and Manny Pacquiao wants to fight him. [Mayweather] has to be satisfied that he's going to be taken care of in that type of fight. Not by Bob Arum. Not by Top Rank. But by somebody that he selects and then they'll come to us and we'll put in on a date that makes sense.
BoxingScene.com: Explain the advantage of holding the fight in the outdoor arena .
Arum: The idea of not exploring the outdoor stadium is ridiculous, especially when it brings in another 30 to 40 million dollars into the pot. Nobody who is responsible, would thumb their nose at 30 to 40 million dollars. I don't care how freaking rich they are. What we're doing is what a business person is supposed to do. I'm not playing games with them. I'm not going to sit down with anybody unless that person is authorized.