by Rick Reeno
Michael Koncz, the adviser to WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, was bothered by some of the earlier comments that appeared on BoxingScene.com from Floyd Mayweather Jr. , the WBC's champion at 147. After Mayweather officially announced that he was fighting WBA 154-pound champion Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 5th, the unbeaten boxer took aim at Pacquiao. Mayweather believes Pacquiao was never serious about fighting him.
"I presented Pacquiao with the fight. Pacquiao is blowing a lot of smoke up everybody's ass. He doesn’t really want to fight. I tried to get him to step up to the plate. We're talking about a $10 million dollar fighter that I tried to give $40 million dollars to, and we didn't even talk about the back end. Everything that everybody is hearing is a bunch of lies. I got proof. The proof is in the pudding. I got proof from all of my meetings with Michael Koncz," Mayweather said.
Koncz spoke in detail to BoxingScene.com, outlining his personal meetings and conversations with Mayweather, to explain his side of the story on why the mega-fight once again fell through. Koncz also discusses Cotto's decision to fight Mayweather, and the ongoing negotiations with Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, to finalize a deal to fight Timothy Bradley on June 9th.
BoxingScene.com: What is your reaction to the comments from Mayweather?
Koncz: I have a commitment to Floyd to keep our negotiations out of the media. However, in light of his absurd and unwarranted comments directed towards Manny, I feel compelled to respond.
When I first met with Floyd, at his gym, that was at the instruction of Manny - to reach out to Floyd and see if he’s serious about this fight. Because in the past, we've tried to make this fight three times. Twice with the two promoters involved and once with intermediate people involved. Me and Manny believe this fight was never made for a couple of reasons, because it was being negotiated in the media. And I believed that maybe Floyd wasn’t getting the facts as they were being presented to his people. So I reached out to him. When I went into the gym, per Manny's instruction, I asked him point blank if he wanted the fight because we were interested and I didn’t want to play games. He said 'yes.'
Then I informed him that we were okay with the blood testing. We were okay with the blood testing every day, except the day of the fight and then we chatted just general conversation and that was just the extent of our negotiations. I also told him that we should keep this out of the media, and we're doing like you said a few months ago in the media, that Manny needs to be his own boss, and that’s why he has sent me here as his representative.
So we had a couple of conversations in-between there. Then I went back to the Philippines. And then he called me to discuss the fight again. He said that he wanted to pay us $40 million dollars, $40 million wired within two days. I put Manny on the phone with Floyd. Manny told him that he had no problem with a 50-50 revenue split and that he was sending me back to America to discuss the matters further with Floyd - which I did the following Monday. I arrived in America [and] I went to Vegas. I met with Floyd on two separate occasions, personally, and spoke to him on the phone a couple of times.
I informed him that Manny would not accept a buyout of $40 million. Because that's what it was. When I asked Floyd about the [pay-per-view/revenue] overage, he said 'I'm paying you guys $40 million, accept that first and then perhaps we can talk about something on the overage at the end.'
I said that 'I discussed it in depth with Manny and we can't accept those terms Floyd. But what Manny has offered me to do, is split the revenue 45-55 - with 55 going to the winner of the fight.' So I told Floyd that if you’re the best fighter in the world, then no problem you're going to get the extra ten percent. On a fight of this magnitude, that's $200 million and that's an additional $20 million to you. It wasn't accepted.
About a week later, I spoke to him a couple of times in-between, and I relayed our final offer to him - that we do the blood testing every day except for the day of the fight and we would do the revenue split 45-55. However, I added in there, that at this point in time that we would guarantee his purse to be $50 million dollars. Because in our prior conversation, his purse was going to be [guaranteed] by somebody else. And then again he was adamant about doing this $40 million dollar buyout.
BoxingScene.com: Was fighting on May 5th an issue?
Koncz: During the bulk of the negotiations, May 5th was never ruled out by us. In fact, when I met with Floyd I told him that we would fight at the end of May at this temporary arena. However, if we agreed on everything else, the revenue split and stuff, then Manny wouldn’t have a problem with fighting on May 5th. Perhaps, Bob wouldn’t be too excited about it, but as long as the two fighters agreed on everything, Bob would probably follow our stuff. So we never ruled out May 5th.
So now it’s for the fans to decided, who is really ducking this fight. Who made the initial attempt to negotiate? Who sent somebody thousands of miles to speak to Floyd again? Who is giving the reasonable offer for the fight, versus an unreasonable offer to buy us out for $40 million?
I want to add in there, that to my surprise - during our discussions - we didn't agree on a lot of things - however - he was very professional, very courteous, very polite to me. When we met and spoke, we met alone and spoke alone. We didn’t have any Team Pacquiao groupies around and we didn’t have any Team Mayweather groupies around. I applaud him for his behavior with me and I really appreciate that.
BoxingScene.com: What are you thoughts on Cotto reaching an agreement to fight Mayweather, since he was your first choice to face Pacquiao on June 9th?
Koncz: I don’t blame Cotto. Cotto met with Top Rank representatives, Bob and I don’t know who else was there. We informed Bob of our weight. To give away 10 to 15 pounds on night of the fight is dangerous to Manny. Because if you get caught on the ropes like he did with [Antonio] Margarito, and you get hit by an extra 15 pounds - it hurts. Manny and I made an agreement after the Magarito fight, that we would never fight above 147-pounds. That was relayed to Cotto and Cotto chose not to sacrifice his body and come to 147. I don’t blame Cotto or his management; they did what’s right for Miguel.
BoxingScene.com: Was there every any consideration to meet Cotto at a catch-weight?
Koncz: There is always room for movement. If everything else was agreed upon and the deal asked us to move [up] one pound, we probably would have. But the negotiations never got to that point.
BoxingScene.com: Where does that leave Pacquiao? Will he fight Timothy Bradley on June 9th?
Koncz: The bulk of the discussions that I’ve had with Bob have had to do with Bradley. We have not committed to Bradley. I will fly to Texas tomorrow and meet in San Antonio with Bob. As far s I’m concerned, until Manny makes his final decision, we still have three live opponents - Bradley, [Lamont] Peterson and [Juan Manuel] Marquez.
BoxingScene.com: If it was your choice, which of the three is the best choice?
Koncz: In my opinion Cotto was the best fight for us. From an economic point of view, the Marquez fight would generate the most interest and the most money. But I feel sincerely, that if we fight Marquez 20 times, we are going to have controversy 20 times. Every time they fight, it’s a very close and tough fight. For some reason, Marquez has Manny’s style figured out. That would be Manny's decision, but I’m sure not going to recommend that we fight Marquez. If that’s what Manny chooses to do, then that’s going to be his choice.
Amongst the other two, I think Bradley has better following than Peterson. But my concern with him is, he's a great guy and a decent fighter but he has a tendency to come in, when he fights, with his head. When you have a southpaw fighting a right handed guy, head-butts are bad enough as it is. But put somebody in there with Manny who has a tendency to come in with his head, and I’m not saying he's dirty fighter, its just his style, you can be guaranteed that we’re going to be cut with a head butt. Peterson is not so well known, but at least he's got a storyline; a Cinderella storyline that perhaps can be utilized in a promotion. We also have to look at the economics. Manny deserves to make as much money as he can. Now we know Floyd is out and we know Cotto is out. We can now sit down and really analyze everything and get into some serious negotiations.
BoxingScene.com: Bob said an deal can be wrapped up by next week... as early as Tuesday.
Koncz: I think, in all honesty, that we can wrap something up while I’m in San Antonio. I’m in constant communication with Manny. Everything I do is with Manny’s knowledge and approval. There is great chance that we can come to terms in San Antonio. The right way to negotiate a fight with our promoter Bob Arum is that he has to come to terms with us first, then he can go and negotiate with the other side. You can't do it the opposite way because then you're going to have some problems.