By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - One of the biggest stories of the last few days is the escalating dispute between Top Rank and the MGM Grand of Las Vegas. The venue is hosting tonight's Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley HBO Pay-Per-View rematch.
Arum has been furious over the venue's heavy display of promotional items related to the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana Showtime Pay-Per-View on May 3rd. During the end of Wednesday's final press conference, with a stunned Richard Sturm [President of MGM Grand Entertainment] sitting right beside the podium, Arum unleashed his fury.
"I'm not going to say it....the hell with it - I know the Venetian would never make a mistake like this, they knew what fight was scheduled in three or four days and they wouldn't have a 12-1 fight all over the building that's going to take place in three weeks from next Saturday. That's why one company makes a billion dollars a quarter and the other hustles to pay it's debt [referring to the MGM]. There it is, say it like it is," Arum said to a stunned crowd.
Arum's anger is fueled by the issues being caused with a major sponsor of the pay-per-view. Although Tecate has paid millions for their sponsorship of Pacquiao-Bradley, rival beer company Corona was widely displayed in the venue as part of the promotional items for Mayweather-Maidana.
There was also further tension on Saturday, when Golden Boy Promotions held an afternoon media lunch with Maidana at a restaurant located in the MGM.
The veteran promoter believes that he knows the likely scenario of events which led to this present situation with the MGM, but he makes it very clear that he doesn't have any concrete proof, as of yet, to solidly his theory.
According to Arum's speculation, the MGM was paranoid that Mayweather was seriously considering the idea of taking his next fight to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. And in order to secure Mayweather's next fight, the MGM agreed to display his promotional items during Pacquiao-Bradley fight week.
"I think I know what happened but I'm not sure. What I really believe, but without knowing [for sure] - is they screwed around that they would go to Barclays, which they never [would go] because of taxes. It's all bullsh*t. And these guys [at the MGM] fell for it and part of what they said [to the MGM] was - 'put our signs up all over when the Pacquiao [fight happens]. And I'm sure we're gonna discover that [they said that]..... 'f*** the contract that you have with Arum, f*** that.' And [the MGM said] 'we're gonna do it because we don't want him to go to Barclays.' Do I know that for sure? No I don't. But that's what I smell," Arum said.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweater Promotions, reacted to the allegations. According to Ellerbe, the Mayweather-Maidana event is sitting on a much higher pedestal in terms of the economics involved and the overall interest - stating that his company would have no reason to piggyback on another event.
"We don't even think about nothing like that. Our focus is on Marcos. We put on the biggest events. Their fight is not even sold out, you can get tickets anywhere. The biggest difference is, this morning when I checked the box office - we're $14.2 million at the live [gate] and they are probably not even at $8 million. There is no comparison. Our focus is on putting on big events and fighting the best fighters who are out there and making money," Ellerbe said.
"Floyd Mayweather is the biggest star in boxing..period, hands down. If any casino or company that we're affiliated with doesn't stand behind him, then it is what it is. People come to see Floyd Mayweather fight in big events. That's why we're doing the kind of numbers that we do."
"I'm not here to say anything negative about their event. They are going to have a good event. Both fighters are very, very good. I wish them the best."