By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The smile across his face and the twinkle in his eye gave Top Rank promoter Bob Arum away no matter how much he tried to be non-committal about a March 13 multi-million dollar fight for the ages between reigning pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and the man who previously sat on the throne, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In a lengthy conversation with BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports along with Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN, shortly after his arrival early Thursday morning, Arum said the Mayweather camp through Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer had agreed to the terms of the fight but wanted it to take place on March 13. Arum told us then he had to get Pacquiao to sign-off on the date otherwise it would be bust and the fight may never happen.
Arum met with Pacquiao at the New World hotel in Makati City Friday in the presence of only one other person – Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz. Arum said “I had a meeting this morning and we went over all the points and now I have to go back to the United States and sit with the Mayweather people and finalize some very minor aspects and then we’ll have an announcement sometime next week.
Arum admitted “I am very excited and it was a good meeting and Michael (Koncz) was very constructive in the meeting, Manny was very alert and showed a tremendous knowledge of what he was doing and his problems of running for office and the March 13 date solves those to some extent.”
Arum took the opportunity to emphasize that the Mayweather battle is “such an important fight for the Philippines that I just hope that Manny will be focused. I think that his congressional opponent (Roy Chiongbian) would do everyone a service including the great country of the Philippines by withdrawing from the race and take Manny’s mind off politics so he can concentrate on the fight." However, Arum said “that’s just my opinion. I’m not a Filipino and I can’t tell people politically what they should or should not do.”
We understand that the official announcement would be made on Tuesday, December 8 to coincide with Arum’s 78th birthday.
He told us that on Thursday, December 10 both he, Schaefer and HBO Sports Ross Greenberg would meet with Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team and the spanking, new state –of-the art $1.5 billion stadium to discuss their bid to stage the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in Texas although the MGM Grand Garden Arena is also in strong contention to host the blockbuster showdown that has generated incredible interest around the world.
Arum said Pacquiao would train for two months possibly in Baguio City where he initially trained for the “Fire Power” showdown with WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto before continuing his preparation at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym. He said Roach had no problem having the first part of Pacquiao’s buildup in Baguio.
Arum said there were tremendous possibilities for the pay-per-view market for the fight with some estimates going wild at 5 million. However, he said Greenberg believes the Pacquiao-Mayweather war could do around 3 million homes to become the biggest in history, surpassing the 2.5 million homes in the Mayweather- Oscar De La Hoya fight.
The astute promoter revealed that this time around England which didn’t carry the Pacquiao-Cotto fight on pay-per-view because of the David Haye – Nikolay Valuev heavyweight title fight has indicated they want Pacquiao-Mayweather as does the rest of Europe and Australia.
There was no mention of a revenue split but every conceivable indication is that it will wind up as an acceptable 50-50 split right down the middle and the eventual gross take of each fighter is likely to reach at least $20 million which in peso terms would mean almost a cool P1 billion when Pacquiao adds up his income from TV, pay-per-view and other ancillary rights in the Philippines.
Arum also disclosed that there would be no tax implications if Pacquiao trained in Los Angeles while the tax cut in Texas was the same as that of Las Vegas.
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