Sports

Manny Pacquiao, Bob Arum Continue to Ignore Sergio Martinez

| by Alex Groberman

It’s fascinating to watch Manny Pacquiao and Top Rank boss Bob Arum work sometimes. Whereas Floyd Mayweather Jr. is great in certain regards, he -- as one person -- simply can’t bring all of the varying degrees of savvy to the table that these two men can.

The pair, over the last three years, has essentially done whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, however they wanted, for as much money as they wanted. While critics complained about the caliber of competition that Pacquiao was facing or, the way Arum was treating his ex-fighters or, whatever else – they took the punishment in stride and continue to bolster their bottom lines.

All of which in some ways explains why they’re so hush-hush on discussing Sergio Martinez, who essentially challenged the Filipino champion to a match in 2012 not too long ago. They’re not answering them because they don’t have to. If an inconvenience presents itself, they can simply ignore it.

Martinez, who is coming off a less than enthralling victory against Darren Baker, has made numerous overtures to the Top Rank camp over the last year, only to be rebuffed each time. The first time he requested a fight with Pacquiao he did so maintaining that they should fight at 154 pounds – a weight that both Pacquiao and Arum deemed unrealistic. After that offer was rejected, a few months passed, and Martinez ultimately reconsidered his position. In his latest offer to Pacquiao, Martinez said that he would be willing to fight the champ at 150 pounds – an enormous sacrifice any way you want to look at it.

And yet, despite this notable concession from Martinez, Pacquiao’s camp is oddly silent.

There are two schools of thoughts on why this is the case. Some believe that it’s pointless for Pacquiao to fight a weakened, inefficient Martinez because if even if he beats him, some will attach an asterisk to the win because Martinez came down in weight so heavily. Furthermore, if Martinez were to land a lucky strike in and beat Pacquiao at 150, he could severely damage the Filipino champion’s legacy. The other side, however, maintains that Pacquiao doesn’t want to fight Martinez because the latter is too capable of a fighter and, even at his noticeably decreased weight, would still pose a serious risk to Pacquiao record.

Who’s right? Nobody knows at this point.

From the way things are looking now, Pacquiao’s next opponent -- after Juan Manuel Marquez -- will likely be the overwhelmed, underprepared Timothy Bradley. And, on the other side, Martinez will probably square off against an equally snooze-worthy fighter in Matthew Macklin.

The reality of the situation aside, it’s still fascinating to watch Pacquiao and Arum work. They constantly peddle the notion that they are willing to fight anyone, anywhere and anytime – but two out of three of those ideas have been dispelled this week alone. Arum has said that Pacquiao wouldn’t fight in the Philippines like his own constituency wants him to and Pacquiao, for his part, refuses to respond to Martinez’s request.

That’s Top Rank for you, though.