By Rick Reeno
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum discussed the possibility of making a 2012 super-fight between welterweight champions Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao returns this Saturday night, and defends the WBO title against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather, through his adviser Leonard Ellerbe, recently announced his desire to fight Pacquiao in May.
According to Arum, the biggest issue in the fight, which is Mayweather's demand for both boxers to undergo a pre-fight random drug testing protocol - is "not an issue" and hasn't been an issue for a long time.
Arum gives his opinion on Mayweather's announcement, what needs to happen to make that fight a reality, and more.
Is Mayweather making the possibility of a fight difficult?
It's not a question of him making it so difficult. He's making it impossible because he's not making it. I said to myself 'maybe he has some point, although I think it's baloney, on this doping drug testing.' So Manny and I discussed it. I told Manny, 'they are not going to go in your dressing room on the night of the fight, and even if they do let them take [the blood] from your ass and not from your arm. We talked and he said 'okay, no conditions, none.' And then [Mayweather] is on [television] this [past] weekend saying 'I'll fight him, take the test.' What is he saying and why doesn't the press pick him up on it? How many times do we have to say that is not an issue. It isn't an issue.
Thoughts on Mayweather's team announcing a return date of May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with Pacquiao as the preferred opponent.
I laughed, because there's a whole track record. every time pacquaoio fights, Mayweather does something to try and take the limelight away. But for me it's great because we know now how to handle it and we turned it into a plus for the Pacquiao-Marquez fight.
What needs to happen to get Pacquiao-Mayweather fight done?
To get a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight to happen, you need to have real negotiations - not in the press, but in private. And you don't have real negotiations when you send out a press release with a date and a site - because that signals to me that they are not serious. Nobody in their right mind would come out and say that it takes place at the MGM Grand, and maybe it ends up there, but what about Steve Wynn putting it in the Sam Boyd Stadium or Jerry Jones putting it in Cowboys Stadium. Dont you at least want to hear what those people have to say?
Who much money are Pacquiao and Marquez guaranteed for the trilogy? How much will Manny make total?
Manny will make well over $30 million. Manny is guaranteed $22 million and Marquez $5 [million].
Reaction to Mayweather's boasts of being guaranteed $40-50 million a fight.
I tell people, that's like me guaranteeing Top Rank $10 million dollars. I guarantee myself. He's guaranteeing himself. It's a joke. [Golden Boy CEO Richard] Schaefer is not guaranteeing [that money] for the little fee that he got [to co-promote]. Who is guaranteeing [Mayweather] the money? Himself. Okay, that's good.
Reaction to Golden Boy's announced buyrate figure of 1.25 million for the Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz pay-per-view, which took place in September.
I don't believe a word that they say. Now if HBO had come out, like they always do, and said that that fight did an x-amount number of buys, with a little exaggeration you can take it to the bank. But they wouldn't come out and give a number.