Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum have always had a very interesting relationship. On one hand, Arum understands that Manny is his most prized fighter and that he opens up a revenue stream for Top Rank that no other boxer in the world can. On the other hand, Arum has been in this business for over 40 years – he’s past the point of kowtowing to his fighters. He prioritizes himself and his ego above all else whenever he can. And so, given that, it has to be difficult for him to deal with an international icon in Pacquiao sometimes.
This weekend it was reported that Pacquiao opted to delay his California-based training because of some pressing political issues that arose back home. According to the timetable that had previously been set forth by Top Rank, the Filipino champ was supposed to begin working out for his upcoming Juan Manuel Marquez fight starting today. Obviously that isn’t going to happen now.
When news of Pacquiao’s decision to delay the proceedings reached Arum, he didn’t handle it particularly well.
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“I would like for the next two months for him to be a boxer and then the politics will take care of itself when he finishes the fight with Marquez. But that's up to him."
It isn’t exactly a Floyd Mayweather-style rant, but it does get the message across. Arum isn’t happy – plain simple. His point of view is understandable; he wants Pacquiao at the top of his game versus Marquez. If Manny falls in this one, the amount of money he can demand for his next bout drops significantly. That, in turn, cuts Arum’s profits significantly.
It is worth noting, however, that a big reason for why Pacquiao is so huge is in part because of his political career. And seeing as Arum hasn’t minded cashing in on that career over the past few years, he probably shouldn’t be complaining now.
At the end of the day, is this a huge deal? No. Pacquiao recently re-upped with Top Rank for two more years. Arum is really the only one with enough clout to set up a Pacquiao versus Mayweather Dream Match. These two aren't breaking up. But it is interesting that less than two months out from fight night, we are beginning to see Top Rank folks get very, very antsy.
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They know what’s at stake on Dec. 8.
Keep an eye on the dynamic that develops between Pacquiao and Arum over the next few weeks, it will tell you a lot about where both guys are mentally (nerves-wise) heading into the Marquez bout.