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Floyd Mayweather's refusal to acknowledge Manny Pacquiao negotiations casts doubt in
Here's the funny thing about the recent Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao negotiations, which now are a scant 48 hours away from a decision deadline: The Mayweather side never even has acknowledged they happened.
So if the Pacquiao side's Friday deadline passes with no fight in place, as I've suspected all along, the pocket-veto tactic of the Mayweather side -- eschewing the deadline without acknowledging the offer at all -- will be an extension of its position that there never were any substantive talks.
To what degree that is true, someone might let us know some specifics soon.
Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, may be that someone.
He's the one who said there was a final offer on the table to Mayweather, after all.
And it was another member of Team Pacquiao, adviser Michael Koncz, who set the mid-July deadline, later specified as the end of this week.
There surely were talks between representatives of Arum's company, Top Rank Inc., and representatives from Golden Boy Promotions, which has promoted Mayweather's last three fights but has no formal contract with him and is not empowered to negotiate unilaterally on his behalf.
There might have been talks between Arum and Mayweather's business adviser, Al Haymon. Arum did not deny that possibility when asked. Haymon, who does not speak publicly to the media -- even on far less sensitive issues than back-channel negotiations for potentially the richest fight in history -- hasn't hinted anything.
Mayo-column-mug.jpgWhat we do know, with absolute certainty, is that Mayweather has not shown the slightest inkling of interest in fighting Pacquiao without a big advantage in financial terms and Olympic-style random drug testing right up until fight night, and that there is no evidence Pacquiao's side has yielded on either point.
Arum is a public-relations genius.
In fact, he's a genius in general.
He got out in front of the story, despite both sides' self-imposed gag order.
He declared that Pacquiao had agreed to Mayweather's terms, without specifying what terms he meant -- Mayweather's mid-winter terms, which included a more equitable financial split and a 14-day pre-fight cutoff with no blood testing; or the mid-summer terms, which don't -- and put the publicity onus on the Grand Rapids native.
Meantime, when I talked to Arum last week, he was en route to Puerto Rico, where Miguel Cotto lives. One of the two fighters most mentioned as a potential Pacquiao opponent for Nov. 13, if and when the Mayweather fight doesn't materialize, happens to be Cotto, whom Pacquiao knocked out last year.
Will Mayweather-Pacquiao happen in November?
I don't believe in coincidence on that level.
Through all of this, stone silence from the Mayweather side for several weeks, after adviser Leonard Ellerbe denied there had been any talks at all.
I believe someone talked to someone.
I believe there never was an agreement in place, or anything close to an agreement that anyone really believed both sides would accept.
I believe there was plenty of posturing by the P.R. genius Arum and the media swallowed the hook, believing the fight was close.
I believe it was as close in January as it is in July.
That means not close at all.
Everyone hopes I'm wrong. That includes me. I want to see Mayweather-Pacquiao as much as anyone. I actually think it's a pretty easy fight for Mayweather because Pacquiao's wide-open, offensive style will make him his own victim. Every time he launches that whirlwind attack, Pacquiao might as well be punching himself -- and he can't win the fight without launching it.
Plenty of people hope I'm wrong on that one, too.
Maybe someday we'll see.
Next May, I suspect, could be that someday.
As for November, it's Pacquiao's dictated date. This is Pacquiao's dictated deadline. These are Pacquiao's dictated terms. And Pacquiao, against common opponents, never has sold pay-per-view television on the scale Mayweather has.
I hope I'm the one played for a fool here. But I honestly think anyone who thought that formula adds up to Mayweather-Pacquaio this year was.
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