By Michael "Not Chris LaBate" Marley
Contrary to repeated assertions and allegations that his promotional ego is out of control and that he's blocking the path to making the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao Super Fight, Bob Arum said Tuesday that he and his Top Rank company will only play "a functionary role" if the two fighters select any one of three investor group offers.
In essence, Arum explained, the three groups, all acting separately, are laying out huge offers to completely underwrite what is expected to be boxing's richest event ever with Floyd and Manny purses hovering around the $50 million mark.
"That's why we have (Pacquiao agent Michael) Koncz carrying the ball on this right now. That is why he went to the Mayweather gym and met and spoke to Floyd. Michael was invited there by one of the three groups," Arum said before attending a Miguel Cotto open workout at the Trinity Boxing Gym, hard by Occupy Wall Street locale Zuccotti Park, Cotto is hoping to occupy Margarito, I guess.
"Everything is subject to negotiation and I will take the offers to Manny and, if Manny agrees then we can go to Floyd."
Arum conceded that historically he is not used to having such a huge promotion completely financed. But the Top Rank major domo, who turns age 80 on Dec. 8, said he knows another octogenarian promoter who has done so.
""I've never worked like this, really," Arum said. "If we get Manny and then Floyd to agree on a package, then my company would take a functional role, we would handle the nuts and bolts, the boxing aspects of the promotion. Of course, these investors, having made a fabulous investment in the fight, would have plenty to say about every aspect of it.
"If a group is selected, would they have great input? Absolutely, they would have that. The pasty master of this kind of promotion is not me, it's like what Don King did in Zaire (Ali-Foreman) and in Manila (Ali-Foreman III).
"Who knows, maybe Don would turn up for a reprise."
(I think BA was being jocular at this point.)
Arum declined to indetify the money men except to reveal that all three are involved in "a mixture" of "finance, sports and entertainment" businesses.
"That's what they all have in common," Arum said. "One group from New York approached me initially and I think the other two made their approach to Koncz."
Arum said there was no great rush to delineate the respective offers. He said he would visit Pacquiao in the Philippines early into the New Year to sit down and put pencil to paper if he has firm, detailed offers in hand.
"I can't attend Manny's birthday party this year (Dec. 17) because of a personal committment but I'd go see him soon after that," Arum said. "We would be crazy not to carefully explore these unprecedented offers."
Arum said he thinks all the groups prefer a U.S. site (which translates probably to Las Vegas) and added that Pacquiao would look for a date in June, not the May 5 MGM Grand Hotel & Casino date that Mayweather keeps pushing.
"Manny needs time for that eye cut (from the Nov. 12 Marquez III bout) to heal properly." Arum said.
"This whole thing looks like it can be a win-win for Manny and for Floyd, for everybody who is involved."
In response to a major verbal blast, attacking him as a habitual liar, from Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer Monday, Arum said it did not bother him.
"It's understandable because Richard is on the outside looking in," Arum said. "Who knows and who cares what Richard says?
"They have no contract with Floyd, that's fact. Just like Manny, aside from our contract with him, can choose who he wants representing him so can Floyd do the same thing. We don't tell Floyd or Manny who they can have working for them."
And so, as Linda and not Leonard Ellerbe used to say, it goes.
I asked Arum about Ellerbe's remark that Koncz did not speak to Mayweather during his gym visit and that Floyd did not who the Canadian was.
"Isn't that sad?" Arum said. "Michael was there with the investor group. They had a meeting, a concise meeting about the situation and anything else said on that is bulls**t."
Finally, Arum said he has a fond regard for the whole Mayweather clan. Top Rank formerly promoted Floyd Jr., uncle Roger when he was a world champ and uncle Jeff when he was a pro boxer.
"I consider myself friendly with all the Mayweathers," Arum said. "I handled Roger and Jeff also, I think they are all great guys."
Now it's turning into a fistic lovefest, folks. Cue up the O'Jays singing their smash hit, "For The Love of Money."