Everyone knows that the biggest roadblock to a Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao showdown isn’t money, performance-enhancing drug (PED) testing, or fear. Those things never were serious impediments to the biggest fight of this decade, and they never will be.
No, the single greatest hurdle to setting up a bout between two of the best fighters in the world always has been and always will be Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. As we’ve pointed out on Opposing Views for years now, Arum’s single most defined loyalty isn’t to his fighters, fans or the sport that made him rich – it’s to his own bottom line. And, unfortunately, Arum’s bottom line will bring a much steadier stream of income if he avoids Mayweather than if he agrees to have Pacquiao fight him.
From the very beginning, the murkiness of why precisely a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao couldn’t be put together should have sent up red flags for everyone watching this circus act unfold. Mayweather claimed PED testing was a problem. Pacquiao claimed money was a problem. Trainer Freddie Roach was befuddled as far as what the problem really was. And, somehow, the man in the middle of it all, the man who was actually doing the wheeling-and-dealing in Arum, managed to contradict everyone including himself when discussing the potential megafight.
First PED testing was a problem. Then it wasn't. First Mayweather was asking for too much money. Then he wasn't. First they wanted to fight Mayweather. Then, in fear of Pacquiao's political future, they didn't.
It was a jumbled mess.
Now, Goden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya appears to have gotten hip to what we at Opposing Views identified years ago.
"He's the one who's stopping it from happening," De La Hoya told ESPN’s Arash Markazi. "Bob Arum doesn't want to see the fight happen."
When asked what he thinks it would take to get Arum back to the negotiationing table, here is what De La Hoya had to say:
"For Bob Arum to say, 'OK, we want the fight,'" De La Hoya said. "Our side, meaning Golden Boy and Floyd Mayweather, he wants the fight, we want the fight. Mayweather has his date for the fifth of May next year. He wants the biggest fight out there. He wants Pacquiao, there's no doubt about that. It would be very unfortunate if this fight could not be made because of Bob Arum.
“The fans are the ones who speak in a big way," De La Hoya said. "They've been asking for this fight for a very long time. Look, Manny Pacquiao is the champion of the people and the people are asking for this fight so let's make it happen. There's no doubt in my mind Manny Pacquiao wants the fight and Floyd Mayweather wants the fight. I guess we all know now who doesn't want the fight. I just ask for the sake of the sport, for the sake of boxing, let's make this fight happen.”
Hopefully this will finally open the public’s eyes to who the true culprit at fault for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao not getting put together really is. Arum has sabotaged this process long enough, and it’s time for Pacquiao to man up and take control of his career.
Roach wants this fight. Pacquiao wants this fight. Mayweather wants this fight. De La Hoya wants this fight. HBO wants this fight. And, most importantly, the fans want this fight.
Come May 2012, if Mayweather vs. Pacquiao isn’t a headlining bout, fans will know who to blame.