Manny Pacquiao and Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum are great at what they do – there’s no denying that.
At the same time, part of what makes them so great at what they do is their invariable ability to spin information and utilize the media in masterful little ways, for no reason other than to further their own agendas (e.g. making villains out of rivals, commanding big pay days, etc.). They don’t do this out of malice per se, but rather because they realize that public perception can be a powerful tool when used correctly.
Pacquiao’s arch rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr., has found out the hard way what going up against this pair can mean. He’s gone from the guy you respect -- while you love to hate him -- to the guy you don’t particularly respect and simultaneously hate.
It’s a pretty seismic shift when you think about it, but it’s one that has occurred almost solely as a result of how well Pacquiao and Arum have conducted themselves over the last two years.
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Still, even the best of PR spinners are prone to mistakes – and Pacquiao and Arum have made two pretty noticeable ones over the last few months. In a piece recently written by Hans Olson of Boxing Insider, the writer points out that contrary to popular opinion, Mayweather may not be the one lying about performance-enhancing drugs as they apply to contract negotiations.
In an excerpt from an interview with Annie Skinner from USADA that he’ll publish on Monday, Olson notes the following:
Bob Arum to Dan Rafael on September 13:
“The testing would have to be done by WADA, which means when Manny trains in the Philippines, whoever they use in Asia to do the testing would do it,” Arum said. “When Manny is training in the United States, they would use USADA. WADA gets the agency to supervise the testing in the Philippines. But the point is, it all has to be done under the overall authority of the boxing commission wherever you have the fight.”
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USADA’s Annie Skinner to Hans Olson on October 11
“USADA has the protocols in place to test an athlete who may be training or living for a period of time outside of the United States and regularly does so for U.S. athletes in the Olympic movement. If all parties agree to an anti-doping program conducted by USADA, the testing plan could be carried out regardless of an athlete’s location. Again it’s important to understand that WADA does not provide testing services the way that USADA or a state boxing commission does. WADA sets standards and USADA’s testing program is consistent with those standards.”
A blatant contradiction, obviously. And yet, when Arum spouted off that nonsense to Rafael back on September 13 – most took his words as gospel. Despite the fact that this is a man who once famously stated that he lies one day and tells the truth the next, nobody ever questions Arum’s intentions when he’s playing spin doctor with the media.
This isn’t the first time Pacquiao and Arum’s camp has put forth a story that didn’t pass the smell test. Don’t forget, not too long ago, Opposing Views published a piece pointing out the fact that Arum and Pacquiao contradicted one another in a matter of a few weeks regarding what exactly the biggest problem in setting up a match against Mayweather was. Arum, for his part, said it was the PED stuff. Then, shortly thereafter, Pacquiao came out and publicly said that the problem was Mayweather demanding far too much money.
Top Rank never responded to questions regarding precisely why the two biggest representatives of the company couldn’t get their story straight.
Look, Mayweather is no saint. He may very well be ducking Pacquiao, and it’s safe to say that he’s obviously not going out of his way to set up a bout against the Filipino champion. At the same time, to act like Pacquiao is mercilessly trying to set up this megafight that fans desperately need is disenginious as well.
Both Pacquiao and Mayweather deserve blame for their match not coming together. Both Pacquiao and Mayweather have been dishonest throughout the last two years.
The only difference is, Pacquiao is working with the master of spin to make sure none of it blows back on him.