There are a lot of different theories about why Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. haven’t fought up to this point. Some people blame the latter guy, insisting he made unreasonable demands regarding performance-enhancing drug (PED) testing and purse split. Others blame the former, noting that no matter how extreme Mayweather’s demands were, if Pacquiao truly wanted to make the much talked about match a reality, he could have. And then there’s a third group. The third group is much quieter than the other two.
People in third group blame Pacquiao and Mayweather, sure, but they place the majority of the blame on Top Rank boss Bob Arum. Why him? Because contrary to what every other promoter thinks, including the good folks at Golden Boy, Arum is the most powerful man in boxing. And if he wanted to make something happen, even something that is as massive an undertaking as balancing the two biggest egos in his sport, he could have.
For as long as Pacquiao was winning fights, it made far more sense for Arum to pit him against other Top Rank guys than against Mayweather. That way he could dip into a percentage of both guys' intake, as opposed to just one. Plus, none of the guys on Top Rank could hang with Pacquiao, so there was no real chance of losing until Timothy Bradley came along.
The good news now is, if you’re from that third group, the camp that believes Arum never wanted Mayweather-Pacquiao to happen, then his most recent statements should help you sleep at night.
A few weeks ago, Arum appeared on an Australian radio show. Boxing Scene was kind enough to transcribe his comments.
When pressed on a possible Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, Arum said: “If Manny demonstrates that he’s back and there’s a public outcry, we should be able to get it done.”
He admitted that Mayweather fighting “for Showtime and Manny for HBO” created a slight dilemma, but that it wasn’t an insurmountable obstacle. Furthermore, he insisted that if Pacquiao and Mayweather retire having never faced off, “it looks bad for boxing.”
There are still ten million reasons why Mayweather and Pacquiao may never fight, however, based on Arum’s recent comments, at least we can scratch one of them off the list.