By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Harvard law graduate and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has described the judge’s ruling, which allowed Floyd Mayweather Jr. to postpone serving his 90 day prison term from January 6 to June 1 to allow him to comply with a May 5th fight date as “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard.”
Celebrities who gravitate towards Mayweather were in the courtroom when Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa granted the motion of Mayweather’s lawyers to postpone his incarceration claiming the undefeated Mayweather had a May 5 contractual obligation for a fight against a still unnamed opponent which created further doubts about the soundness of the judge’s decision.
Among those present were rap star Lil’ Kim and R&B artist Ray J. Mayweather was in a holding area in the lobby of a building near the courthouse.
Judge Saragosa said she was swayed by lawyer Richard Wright’s appeal to allow Mayweather to postpone his serving of sentence so he could begin training for a May 5 fight.
The lawyer emphasized that Mayweaher wasn’t trying to avoid the sentence even as he cited the potential economic windfall from a fight that would attract hotel guests and boxing fans to Las Vegas for the fight. Wright estimated that Mayweather’s last seven fights generated a combined $1 billion and projected the May 5 fight would bring in more than $100 million.
Prosecutor Liza Luzaich protested the judge’s decision stating that Mayweatyher should serve his sentence “just like anyone else” but Judge Saragosa noted that while Mayweather had an obligation to the court he had other obligations based on which she granted the request.
In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Arum said Mayweather “is apparently going to fight Robert Guerrero. Can you believe that. They won’t do any business at all.”
Arum claimed that MGM Grand which Mayweather’s camp had long announced as the venue for the planned May 5 fight even before he was sentenced to a prison term, was “bulls**t because MGM didn’t want to give him the date until they found out what (Manny) Pacquiao was doing. Mayweather brings in no business.”
While he is sticking to the four fighters he had mentioned as possible opponents for Pacquiao’s next fight which is likely to take place in late May or June, Arum claimed that Mayweather had “no intention of fighting Pacquiao now and I don’t blame them. You need time. It's sensible that Mayweather fights somebody like Guerrero which is an easy fight, he goes to jail in June, he’ll be out at the end of July or the beginning of August and then we have plenty of time to do a Pacquiao fight in November.”
Asked whether he is looking ahead at a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in November, the world’s top promoter replied, “Absolutely. If Manny is successful in his fight in June.”
The four opponents from whom Pacquiao will choose a few days after meeting with Arum and Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz on Tuesday are WBA/IBF light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson, WBA champion Timothy Bradley, WBO super welterweight champion Miguel Cotto and WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez.
Arum said he is “leaning to nobody” adding that he is “going to make Manny choose for himself after I lay everything out.”
The judge’s decision which stood in contrast to her tough talk when sentencing Mayweather and turning down a request for house arrest which was even supported by the girlfriend whom he beat up and the mother of his three children, Josie Harris, opened the way for a Mayweather fight in May but it won’t be a megabuck fight with Pacquiao which the boxing world has long been looking forward to.
The 34 year old Mayweather had pleaded guilty last month to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges in a case involving an attack on his ex-girlfriend in September 2010 and was scheduled to begin serving a 90-day jail sentence today.
Lance Pugmire of the LA Times reported that Mayweather’s adviser Leonard Ellerbe issued a statement following Judge Saragosa’s ruling stating "We are pleased that the judge granted postponement of Floyd's surrender date so that he can fulfill his commitment to Las Vegas to deliver his promised mega-fight and the economic benefits it provides to the community."
Asked if that "mega-fight" meant a bout against Pacquiao, Ellerbe said, "We'll make an announcement about who we're going to fight next week. We just came out of the ... court hearing. Give us a chance to catch our breath."
In proposing a Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown in November, Arum had earlier indicated he wanted to look into the possibility of building a temporary arena that could seat up to 40,000 people because of the obvious demand from fight fans pointing out that a 16,000 seat venue like the MGM Grand would not suffice.
The promoter also mentioned the fact that a deep cut suffered by Pacquiao on his eye in his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez was still healing and he was not certain whether the “Fighter of the Decade will be ready to begin sparring by April which makes a late May or early June fight practical.