By Rick Reeno
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions and adviser to WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., spoke to BoxingScene.com about the possibility of fighting Manny Pacquiao on May 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The two sides are stuck at one issue, or so it appears, the date. Mayweather is legally and contractually obligated to fight on May 5th, while Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, would like the fight to take place in late-May.
BoxingScene.com: This situation is dragging out. There has to be a point of time where your side has to look in another direction and finalize an opponent for May 5th.
We'll get to that point. The ball is in Bob's court. He knows what it is. He's the one who's blocking the fight. The whole world knows that. Either they are fighting on May 5th or they are not.
May 5th is wide open. We are ready to go May the 5th. Floyd Mayweather wants to fight Manny Pacquiao on May the 5th. He’s made that perfectly clear.
BoxingScene.com: If there is no Pacquiao, what about someone like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. That’s a very big fight for May 5th
Canelo is an excellent young fighter. He's young. He's undefeated. He's the WBC 154-pound champion and it would be an excellent fight between him and Floyd, if that fight comes to fruition.
BoxingScene.com: Canelo is at 154 and Floyd is at 147. Would guys meet in the middle?
No, we don't believe in the catch-weight thing. We leave that up to the other side. If we fight anybody it’s going to be at the weight. We don't believe in the catch-weight thing, so just read between the lines.
BoxingScene.com: Leonard, this situation has been going on for three years now. If the two sides are not capable with making the fight, is there a point where your side just goes their own way.
Well, I think finally the public has come to understand the reason why the fight hasn't been made at this point. There is one person and one person only that's blocking this fight and that’s Bob Arum. There have been a lot of excuses. Not week to week but day to day - it was the cut, it was leaving money on the table, it was the date. It just changes daily. He doesn't know who to speak to. The things that I can definitely say is that Floyd Mayweather is ready to fight on May 5th and he wants Manny Pacquiao so he can give the world what they want.
BoxingScene.com: There seems to be a lot of animosity between Bob Arum and [Golden Boy Promotions CEO] Richard Schaefer. [Golden Boy President] Oscar De la Hoya says Richard has been calling Top Rank and nobody returns his calls. Do you believe this issue is possibly delaying the negotiations?
That's Bob's issue and I don't have anything to do with that. This isn't about the promoters and managers, this about the fans and the fans have been demanding this fight for some time now. All parties should put their egos aside, which we have done. We have everything in place. Floyd's guarantee is in place. We are ready to go.
If he has an issue with who our representation is...we have a great team. Mayweather Promotions, Al Haymon and working with Richard Schaefer. If Bob Arum has a problem with that, that's his issue. That's not going to change, myself and Al Haymon working with Richard Schaefer.
BoxingScene.com: What about the talk of Floyd needing someone to guarantee his 50% of the money?
When that conversation was brought up, I found it quite hilarious because for a guy to sit there and say that Floyd Mayweather has to worry about his guarantee, how can that be so if Floyd Mayweather makes tens of millions of dollars more than Manny Pacquiao and its been that way for every pay-per-view fight. That is a ridiculous statement once again from Bob Arum. It's just another excuse to direct you guys from what the real issue is - we are ready to go. Everything is agreed upon. We are ready to go on the 5th of May. If Bob Arum wants to make the fight, we can work it out.
BoxingScene.com: What is holding this fight back?
In my opinion, the main obstacle on why, and this is solely my opinion, is why [Bob Arum] hasn't made the fight, is because this would the first time where Manny Pacquiao was able to see what's in the pot of money. And for all of the other pay-per-view fights that he's fought, obviously he would see and obviously he would know that Floyd makes tens of millions of dollars more than he does and he would look at that, in my opinion, and say 'I've been underpaid.' See, because the books would be open. That's my opinion.
Top Rank, in my opinion, want to make their fights internally because they want to control both sides of the promotion. They want to keep the money in their house. That way, the revenue that's in place, they control the revenue. They pay the fighters what they want to pay them, in my opinion. Nobody is looking at their books and challenging what's what.