Is Bob Arum Protecting Manny Pacquiao from Floyd Mayweather?

| by Alex Groberman

Here is what we can say with certainty: despite countless efforts by many different people, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are no closer to agreeing to a match today than they were two years ago.

Even though both stand to get the biggest paydays of their careers from this fight, even though their legacies may ultimately be defined by the fact that they never faced one another, for whatever reason, they just refuse to reasonably sit down at a table and hash out details that both parties can agree to.

That much we know for sure. What we don’t know, however, is why this is the case. Why are Pacquiao and Mayweather so unreasonable when it comes to this issue?

Mayweather, for his part, is a notorious against-the-grain contrarian. He constantly needs things to be done his way, on his terms – no ands, ifs, or buts about it.

He’s always been renowned for his stubbornness and inability to empathize with anyone, so his tone-deafness on how the public feels about him constantly repeating his tired, “take the test” mantra is understandable. He’s just that type of guy.

What has been more odd, though, is watching Pacquiao sink down to his level. Watching the No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the world who has traditionally been recognized as the people’s champ, refuse to be the bigger man.

If for no other reason than to appease his fans and legitimize himself as the best pound-for-pounder in the world today, you would think that Pacquiao would be able to get over his nonsensical beef with Mayweather, and proceed for the greater good.

Yet he hasn’t.

Which presents this question: does he even want to fight Mayweather? Or is he content letting folks think he’s willing to fight his undefeated rival all the while helping Top Rank boss, Bob Arum, collect massive paydays by pitting him against other Top Rank boxers?

During a recent interview with the good folks from 8CountNews, Jeff Mayweather alluded to this possibility. He explained that it was more profitable for Arum to consistently set Pacquiao up against other Top Rank guys -- like the completely overmatched Timothy Bradley -- because it maximizes the money rolling in all the while minimizing risk.

And, obviously, even though no single fight between Pacquiao and a nameless Top Rank participant can equate to the payday that a Pacquiao v. Mayweather battle would generate – when you start piling on one after another after another, you come awfully close.

This isn’t the first time that someone has suggested that Arum hides Pacquiao from challengers and only lets him go against people in his Top Rank stable. Sergio Martinez’s promoter Lou Dibella has often pointed out that Arum tends to avoid working with others when it comes to setting up fights against his golden goose.

He also said that the major reason why a Martinez vs. Pacquiao fight will never come to fruition is precisely because the former isn’t a part of the Top Rank family.

So, what does this mean? Well, it means that the Pacquiao v. Mayweather megafight is much more complex than most believe. It’s not simply a matter of Floyd wanting Manny to take the test, and the Filipino champ not obliging.

There’s a lot of financial strings being pulled by the powers that be who are attempting to ensure a big payday regardless of what happens.

In the end – all of the boxers and promoters will make a lot of money and walk away happy. The fans?

No such luck.