By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – His involvement in the first Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight was more than enough for Bob Arum.
The 86-year-old Arum, who was Pacquiao’s promoter when he fought Mayweather in May 2015, told BoxingScene.com on Saturday that he “doesn’t want anything to do with” the Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch Mayweather stated Saturday could happen by the end of this year.
“Good luck to them,” Arum said after a press conference for the Miguel Berchelt-Miguel Roman fight ESPN will televise November 3 from El Paso, Texas. “I don’t want anything to do with it. I’ve got all these great, young fighters that I’m promoting, premium fighters that are really in their primes. And I don’t wanna get involved with two old men fighting for a payday because they think the public is gonna throw ‘em millions of dollars. Well, maybe the public will. Good. Good luck to them. I don’t wanna be involved.”
The retired Mayweather claimed in a strategically posted Instagram message early Saturday morning that a rematch between him and Pacquiao is in the works. Mayweather attached a video of him speaking to Pacquiao at a music festival in Tokyo.
“I’m coming back to fight Manny Pacquiao this year,” Mayweather wrote in his Instagram post. “Another 9 figure payday on the way.”
Mayweather-Pacquiao was the most profitable fight in boxing history. The heavily hyped pay-per-view event generated more than $600 million in overall revenue and produced a record 4.6 million buys, despite that it cost $100.
Mayweather and Pacquiao were heavily criticized, however, because their 12-round welterweight title fight lacked action. Mayweather won a unanimous decision, but Pacquiao claimed afterward that he suffered a shoulder injury during training camp that affected his performance that night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 41-year-old Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) retired for the third time following his 10th-round stoppage of UFC superstar Conor McGregor last August 26 at T-Mobile Arena. The 39-year-old Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) knocked out Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs, 1 NC) in the seventh round of his last fight to win a version of the WBA’s welterweight title July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In the video Mayweather posted, a smiling Pacquiao can be heard telling Mayweather, “But I have the belt.”
Mayweather owned the WBA “super” welterweight title and the WBC 147-pound championship when he retired for the second time following his unanimous-decision defeat of Andre Berto in September 2015.
Pacquiao’s victory over Matthysse marked the first time in more than a decade-and-a-half that Arum’s Top Rank Inc. wasn’t at least a co-promoter of one the Filipino legend’s fights. Pacquiao has publicly stated that he is no longer contractually tied to Top Rank.
The public backlash after their first fight and Mayweather’s two subsequent retirements seemingly made a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch unlikely. But Arum, whose company promoted Mayweather for the first nine years of his Hall-of-Fame career, isn’t surprised the extremely wealthy former five-division champion is willing to box Pacquiao again.
“Mayweather, as soon as he smells money, is there,” Arum said. “If he can make money fighting you, he’d sign.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.