Here’s to hoping that nobody asked for a Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. showdown for Christmas, because Top Rank boss Bob Arum seems really intent on making sure that it doesn't happen.
Arum’s well-documented apprehensiveness towards a potential superfight between his golden goose and the undefeated Mayweather has been well documented. Over the past two years, despite the fact that Pacquiao has apparently been willing to finally give fans the match that they desperately want, the Top Rank Boss has found ways to throw a wrench into the equation and halt any and all progress each and every time.
Of course, as you might expect from the man who coined the phrase “Yesterday I was lying, today I’m telling the truth,” he’s been very slick about it throughout. He’s found ways to shift blame onto Mayweather, onto Golden Boy, and even onto Pacquiao’s political career. He’s made every other available option culpable for his failure to set up a Pacquiao versus Mayweather showdown, all the while never owning up to his own consistent failures on the matter.
Don’t forget, this is the man who more or less single-handedly dispatched former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg. Arum’s clout within the sports world is undeniable, and he’s undoubtedly the most powerful man in boxing. So isn’t it a little suspect that that the most powerful man in boxing can’t set up a fight that both Pacquiao and Mayweather have said that they want?
Following Pacquiao’s controversial victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12, the Filipino champion came to a decision. He was done fighting old mildly over-the-hill fighters who have everything to gain by beating him, and nothing to lose by getting beaten. He had padded his bank account with these type of bouts for long enough – he wanted a real challenge now.
With his representatives, Pacquiao began working towards a potential fight versus Mayweather. Just one week ago, as we reported on Opposing Views, he came out and told reporters that he believed a fight versus his arch rival was imminent. He even noted that a match with Mayweather was “80 to 90 percent sure to take place on May 5 next year and only a few more details are being ironed out before contracts are finalized.”
So, if that much progress was made, why is Arum coming out and acting like a potential bout versus Mayweather is not as doable as everyone aside from Bob Arum seems to think it is?
During a recent interview with the good folks at Boxing Scene, here is what Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer had to say on the matter:
"Bob Arum. Who the hell gives a s**t about Bob Arum?" Schaefer said. "He can say whatever he wants. I'm astonished that some media members still give credibility to what comes out of his mouth. What Arum is saying, it's pretty sad. He's such a liar.
"He is making up all these stories. He is fooling some of these media members over and over again. I couldn't care less what he says. He's lying and that's all I have to say about it. There are no negotiations; they don't want to do it. He is probably doing it to fool Pacquiao, to make him think there is something going on. There is nothing going on."
Boxing fans have learned to be skeptical of anything these high-rank executives say, and rightfully so. But let’s analyze this critically for a moment. What could Schaefer possibly have to gain from lying about this situation? Nada. He has everything to gain from a potential Pacquiao versus Mayweather showdown, though. On the flip side, what does Arum have to gain by not pitting Pacquiao against Mayweather? Tons. He can keep setting the Filipino champion up against unworthy challengers like Timothy Bradley out of his Top Rank camp, and then profit long-term instead of betting it all on an unpredictable winner-take-all showdown between his guy and Mayweather.
The worst part of all this is that Pacquiao clearly wants to make this thing with Mayweather happen for his fans and his legacy. He’s not concerned with money anymore – it’s beyond that now. And yet the promoter that’s supposed to be looking out for his best interests is AWOL when it comes to setting this fight up.
Arum can move mountains in boxing, but only when he really wants to.
And it’s clear that, in this particular case, he really, really doesn’t want to.