By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao has made it absolutely clear that neither he nor Top Rank promoter Bob Arum are dodging a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard in an exclusive interview at the airport following his arrival in Manila with wife Jinkee for a meeting with Arum and Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz, that he would “discuss what’s best to do."
Pacquiao said “there is a possibility of fighting Mayweather in May and I’ll discuss what is best for us to do.” At the same time he said the cut he suffered on his right eyebrow in the last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez which required some 23 stitches is “fine and there’s no problem” although his plastic surgeon in the US had told Koncz he wants to take a look at it or at least see a photo of how it looks now.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told us “Manny has told me his priority for his next fight is Mayweather. We are working on it and trying to make that fight. I can assure you it's nothing from our side or the Top Rank side that’s hindering this.”
Shortly after his arrival yesterday morning Arum, in a lengthy interview with BoxingScene/The Standard and ABS-CBN’S Dyan Castillejo, said he had reserved June 2 and 9 for a Pacquiao fight. He said “If the fight is going to be with Mayweather because the judge said he has to report to prison on June 1, that will still enable us to do a fight if we can come to terms, by the end of May.”
Arum pointed out that “in order to maximize revenues from the fight you have to have a stadium larger than the MGM Grand which holds 16,500. The people in Las Vegas, the Wynn and the Venetian who have tremendous resources, want to put a stadium up across the street from their properties. They can put up a temporary stadium for 45,000 people. The guy who built the temporary stadium when Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney fought years ago is available now to build a temporary stadium. But that wouldn’t be ready with any degree of certainty in the beginning of May but it would be available at the end of May.”
Arum said “the economic difference is tremendous. If we did it on May 5 we will be limited to the MGM Grand we would probably do a record gate of $20 million. If we did it in this new temporary arena we would do a gate of around $60 million so the difference even if you take off the cost of building the structure ($7 million) which would be amortized over two years, is a minimum of $40 million. Its an extra $20 million for each fighter which is a lot of money. But that’s a choice the fighters have to make.”
Arum pointed out that “everybody has overlooked the fact that Mayweather hasn’t said anything. He assumed that he was going to jail on June 1 and they got him this reprieve and I think his idea was to fight on May 5 against an ordinary opponent and not Manny Pacquiao. It's all of these other people who want this fight right away.”
The Top Rank promoter noted that people who have no contractual interest in Mayweather keep talking and added “until we hear from Mayweather that he wants to fight Manny in May sometime, you really can’t pin Manny down.”
Arum said “the leading voice that claims Bob Arum is blocking the (Mayweather) fight is Richard Schaefer and Golden Boy. Now why are they saying that? Because they have no contract with Mayweather and who knows that they are even going to be involved in this. Their job is to get me angry enough that I start talking with them so they can slither their way into the promotion. I’m too smart for that. If Mayweather picked up the phone or sent us a text, which he does from time to time, saying ‘Bob I want you to talk to Golden Boy we would immediately do that. They can say whatever they want to say but its essentially based on their nervousness that if this big fight happens they will not be included.”
He cited the difference in that Top Rank has a contract with Pacquiao while “they have been acting as a promoter for Floyd Mayweather getting a fee on a fight-by-fight basis. But they have no contract with him, no understanding with him so unless Mayweather wants to involve them, they are not going to be involved.”
Arum said that “Logically, after a May 5 fight against an ordinary kind of opponent, Floyd serves whatever time he has to serve in prison then that would leave plenty of time to promote a November fight which is the optimum date to do a fight.”
Arum said Mayweather is thinking in terms of getting another payday and the reason he picked May 5 not because of Manny Pacquiao but to fight somebody like Robert Guerrero who is of Hispanic origin because May 5 is Cinco de Mayo which is a holiday among Hispanics in the United States.
"I always believed that Mayweather would pick a Hispanic fighter for May 5 and we were good with that and didn’t want to interfere with his business.”
Arum said if “Mayweather wants to fight Manny he has to say I want to fight Manny and I’m willing to fight at the end of May because in good conscience I’m not going to leave $40 million on the table.”
Arum believes Pacquiao isn’t going to wait for Mayweather to make up his mind because “For Manny its important that he fights in the spring and for Mayweather it's important that he fights before he goes to jail. So I think in the next week or so, this thing will sort itself out.”
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said he and Arum have been in discussions for two weeks and he has relayed everything to Pacquiao “who is aware of what’s going on and Bob is here to reiterate and to answer any questions Manny may have on the four fighters lined up – Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley and Lamont Peterson.” Arum reiterated he will lay down the options but the decision is solely Pacquiao’s.
Koncz also indicated “There will be discussions on Floyd because if that fight is not going to take place now we are certainly hoping it will take place later in the year.”