An offer to Floyd Mayweather Jr. to fight Manny Pacquiao in Abu Dhabi this spring for a record-setting purse of $120 million is off the table.
M. Akbar Muhammad, a long-time boxing executive (who previously worked with Don King), said he put Mr. Mayweather on notice approximately one week ago that the offer, made late November by an investment group out of Abu Dhabi, would be rescinded the first week of January.
“We want to deal with serious individuals, individuals who have the ability make a decision,” said Muhammad. “Regretfully, that is not the case with Mr. Mayweather.
“The Abu Dhabi group is serious, and I will not allow them to dangle an inordinate amount of time,” said Muhammad. “Now that time has come and the offer is gone.”
Muhammad said he has two take aways from this offer process.
“One, if Mr. Mayweather wishes to pass on, in essence, $120 million net dollars and, instead, fight for hot dog money, all I can say is that ‘The Money Team’ might consider rethinking its nickname,” said Muhammad.
“Two, the very best of all time are just that because they overcame adversity; they met and beat their nemeses,” said Muhammad. “That’s (Muhammad) Ali meeting and beating (Joe) Frazier; that’s (Ray) Leonard meeting and beating (Thomas) Hearns.
“To rise to the challenge, first, you must accept the challenge, and that means fighting the very best you can when the opportunity arises,” said Muhammad.
“Unfortunately, it appears someone on ‘The Money Team’ has no regard nor respect for the tradition and history of boxing nor, even more unfortunately, the wishes and desires of the fans of our sport,” said Muhammad.
“That aside, we’re moving forward with absolutely no hesitation, no reservations and no Mayweather,” said Muhammad. “A world championship card, concerts and tributes will take place in Abu Dhabi during the spring of 2015, and in keeping with the vision and determination of our investment group, it will be a boxing spectacle unrivaled in the history of the sport.
“The boxers and artists who participate in this unprecedented event will be recognized and rewarded for their foresight in working with the newest powerhouse in boxing,” said Muhammad.
Muhammad, president and chief operating officer of Akbar Productions, LLC of New Jersey, has extensive experience in all phases of boxing. He has managed five professional world champions; guided two Olympic gold medalists; and produced world championship, internationally televised boxing cards in more than one dozen countries.