You have to hand it to Floyd Mayweather Jr., he really knows how to turn himself into a villain regardless what kind of hand he’s dealt.
The man who has kept fans intrigued for a nearly decade by consistently going against the grain added a new chapter to his hate-inspiring memoirs this week when he somehow gave back all of the public leverage he had over longtime rival, Manny Pacquiao.
Just a quick reminder of where we stood heading into last weekend: Mayweather, after two years, finally made fighting his Filipino arch nemesis a priority. He pushed aside all the veiled performance-enhancing drug (PED) accusations, all the personal slights and all he typical nonsense you’d expect from him and simply called on his counterpart to join him in battle.
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His only specification at the time was that the fight occur on May 5 – thereby allowing the undefeated superstar to get a bout in before his jail stint that was due to begin on the first of June.
It was a reasonable request, and one that the boxing community applauded.
Pacquiao and his promoter, Bob Arum, scrambled. They weren’t used to being on the defensive on the topic of a superfight versus Floyd, and their reaction to Mayweather’s demands indicated this much. One bad excuse after another seemed to flow out of Top Rank for about a week until Pacquiao ultimately put his foot down. Mayweather wanted a fight? He wanted a fight in May? Fine. All the Filipino champion would demand in return would be what he -- and everyone else --felt that he was due – a 50-50 split of the fight’s purse.
Mind you, over the course of the last two years it has been Pacquiao, not Mayweather, who has been boxing’s shining star. In between Mayweather’s sabbaticals, extended breaks and random retirements, it’s been Pacquiao who has racked up accomplishments and been the recipient of various boxing honors, not Mayweather. Now, that’s not to denigrate the undefeated champ’s stellar record or undeniable place in history, it’s just an honest statement of fact – Pacquiao has been the sport's stabilizing force over these last few years, not him.
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So, with all that in mind, there is absolutely no reason for Pacquiao to take a penny less than what he would be entitled to in 50-50 split. Pacquiao and Mayweather bring equal name value and hype to this fight and, as such, should each take an equal split of the eventual rewards.
Apparently, though, the man who splurges on stupid sports bets and unnecessary Bentleys just to brag about it on Twitter two seconds later can’t give up a few percentage points in the most profitable venture in boxing history.
He turned Pacquiao's 50-50 request down – thereby effectively killing this fight.
According to the Philippine Star, Pacquiao -- before this 50-50 purse split dispute -- thought a match versus Mayweather was a done deal. As per Philip Ella Juico:
I asked him his choice for his next opponent in May as he revealed to Top Rank’s Bob Arum. Without any hesitation, he said, “Si Floyd (Mayweather) na yan (“It’s done, it’s Floyd”). When I asked him about the possible dates, he remained confident and so sure of himself, replying, “Either May 26 or June 9”.
At this point, hope for a Pacquiao versus Mayweather showdown is dwindling. And it’s dwindling almost entirely because of Mayweather’s stubbornness. The only thing fans can take solace in right now is that Pacquiao’s back-up plan, Miguel Cotto, comes with his own fair share of baggage. As noted by Jhonny Gonzalez of Boxing Scene:
Cotto and his adviser held a meeting with Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum to finalize a deal to face Pacquiao, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. The main obstacle is the weight. Pacquiao refuses to fight above 147-pounds. Cotto would likely agree to a catch-weight of 150.
Even still, over the course of the last few years Cotto -- when he’s not doing bad things -- has proven himself much easier to work with than Mayweather. If you had to put money down on Pacquiao reaching an agreement with one of them, clearly it’d be the guy he has already fought and soundly dismantled once.
So there you have it. A fight that we were far, then close, then far, then close to having, is far from happening again. And balance has been restored in the world because, obviously, it’s all Mayweather’s fault.