By Rick Reeno
Stephen Espinoza, the head of Showtime Sports, strongly informed BoxingScene.com that Top Rank's CEO, Bob Arum, has "misrepresented" the current status of the ongoing negotiations to make a mega-fight pay-per-view between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. The target date, at the moment, is May 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
After reading some of the recently published stories on BoxingScene, Espinoza wanted to 'set the record' straight regarding some of the statements that were made by Arum, who promotes Pacquiao. Showtime has an exclusive multi-fight agreement with Mayweather.
In an earlier article, Arum claimed that everyone involved (HBO, Showtime, CBS, Al Haymon, Pacquiao, Top Rank) are on board with the deal - and that Mayweather himself is the only person holding up the fight from being a finalized item.
"This is something that is totally strange. There is one guy to blame. And that's Floyd Mayweather. Everybody involved wants this fight, just like the fans. We've signed off on every point. We've agreed to everything. But push comes to shove, there's one guy to blame," Arum told The Denver Post.
Espinoza denies that a deal was reached between Showtime, CBS, HBO and Haymon. He also denied the existence of any contract that Mayweather has allegedly refused to sign. He does confirm that all parties are still working hard to hammer out an agreement.
"Floyd isn't holding anything up. Nobody is waiting on Floyd for anything. Arum isn't being truthful and he knows it. There is no contract that is awaiting Floyd's signature and Bob Arum knows that too. Floyd has been absolutely clear with us throughout this process - he wants to fight Manny Pacquiao. He has repeatedly told [CBS CEO] Leslie Moonves, Al Haymon and me - that he wants us to make the fight and that's what we've been working for, for weeks," Espinoza explained to BoxingScene.com.
"We've made good progress but there are still open issues that need to be resolved. There is no agreement or closed deal or contracts. Neither CBS or Showtime or Al Haymon or HBO for that matter have agreed on the deal terms. We are still trying to resolve the issues. That's what's taking time....not any delay or impediment by Floyd. No one is waiting on Floyd for anything. For Arum to say otherwise is an outright misrepresentation."
"It makes you wonder. When you hear these types of misrepresentations....someone who wants to make a deal doesn't go out and publicly misrepresent the status of the negotiations. Maybe Floyd and [Alex] Ariza are right - maybe Bob Arum is going to be the reason this fight doesn't happen. If he continues to misrepresent and mischaracterize the status of the negotiations, he may end up killing the deal."