By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer flies to Las Vegas to begin negotiations with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum over lunch on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) in an effort to reach an agreement on a battle royale between reigning pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr who held that title before he retired two years ago.
Arum told BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports what most people have said before and that is that both he and Schaefer are “sensible guys” and if they cant work out a deal, nobody can.
Arum said they are looking for a fair deal and that “there’s too much money for him (Mayweather) to avoid the fight.”
Mayweather’s chief adviser Leonard Ellerbe set the stage for the talks and reportedly formulated a negotiating plan which was relayed to Schaefer who will open negotiations with Arum this week.
Arum himself indicated more than once that he’d rather negotiate with Schaefer which Ellerbe apparently accepted in an effort to avoid any conflicts arising out of his personal differences with Arum. David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press quoted Ellerbe as saying “we’re trying to make a deal, not break a deal.”
The respected boxing writer said Ellerbe told him “if a deal can be struck, this is the biggest fight ever. The fans want it and Floyd wants it. That’s all that really matters. That Flotd wants it. Now it comes down to does Manny want it. Manny will obviously be speaking through his promoter, because that’s his boss.”
For the record Pacquiao has said he wants to fight Mayweather and Arum has insisted may times that Pacquiao is the boss and this can be seen by the fact that Pacquiao many times disregards what both Arum and even trainer Freddie Roach want and does what he wishes even in terms of where to train and how long to train.
Differences have already surfaced in an obvious indication of negotiating postures with both sides quoting pay-per-view numbers to help make a case for a bigger share of the revenues.
Ellerbe claims that Mayweather did bigger numbers than Pacquiao against common opponents in Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton Juan Manuel Marquez. He claimed that Mayweather outdrew Pacquiao in domestic (US) pay-per-view sales clearly ignoring the international popularity of Pacquiao and believing that PPV sales in America was all that mattered.
Arum countered by underscoring the fact that Pacquiao’s fight against Miguel Cotto which happened some one and a half months after Mayweather fought Marquez “did so much better than they did. They did one million homes and we did a minimum of 1.25 million.”
Arum also noted that Ellerbe was quoting figures “before Manny Pacquiao became Manny Pacquiao. When he fought De La Hoya it was not where Manny is now because when he fought De La Hoya nobody gave him a chance to win.”
Ellerbe in a somewhat bitter aside told Mayo that the issue of who is the biggest star in boxing based on the numbers isn’t hard to figure out alleging that Pacquiao’s side has “a distorted perception of facts. But numbers don’t lie. People do.”
Arum disclosed that from what he’s been hearing “everybody wants the fight on May 1”
Schaefer told the Los Angeles Times that “getting them together is a mega-fight that has to be made. We’d be morons to not let this happen.
HBO chief Ross Greenburg said “It's a simple negotiation. There's so much money to be made. If it doesn't happen, there'll be a revolt. Nothing else is acceptable, and I'm speaking on behalf of the American public and the sport itself. All we can do is try to encourage both sides to sit at a table and hammer out a deal."