There is good news and bad news as it applies to a Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. showdown. The bad news is that, yet again, Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum seems intent on destroying months upon months of built up goodwill, and an environment ideal for both fighters to agree to the only fight anyone wants to see. The good news, though, is that he doesn’t hold all the cards.
By this point, everyone knows what the situation is.
In move that shocked even the most insider of insiders, Mayweather’s 90-day jail sentence that was supposed to start last week ended up getting postponed. The unexpected delay, in turn, freed the champ up to fight in May of 2012 – as he had previously intended to before a Las Vegas judge ruled that he would have to spend the beginning of the year in this humble abode.
For weeks, assuming that Mayweather would be out of commission, Arum pontificated about how the undefeated champ and Pacquiao could meet in November of this year. How his guy would fight someone -- Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Lamont Peterson or Miguel Cotto -- in May or June of this year, and then wrap up 2012 with a thriller in a specially constructed Las Vegas venue. That was the plan – and one that actually made a certain amount of sense.
But then Mayweather’s sentence got postponed and things got…weird.
All of a sudden, Pacquiao wasn’t fit to fight in Mayweather in May of this year because of a slow-healing cut. Here is what the Top Rank boss had to say as soon as Mayweather’s breaking news came down on Friday:
"I don't think it has any impact," Arum said (via David Mayo). "No impact at all. Manny isn't going to be ready to fight until summertime.”
Wait, what? Just a few days earlier, mind you, there was a very different tune coming from Top Rank. Just a few days earlier, Arum was fully endorsing a strategy for his golden goose that entailed two fights in this year. Nobody was talking about a busted eye at that point.
And then the excuse changed. The busted eye defense for not wanting to go against Mayweather suddenly become an issue of lost profits.
“You have to maximize (the earning potential),” Arum told the Bulletin. “We’re going to lose $20 million (if the fight is held at the MGM Grand)."
So, basically, the man is willing to forfeit everything to be gained from this fight because he can’t squeeze every single available cent out of it. That’s Arum-logic for you if there ever was some.
The truth of the matter is, Arum hasn’t wanted a fight against Mayweather all along. He’s afraid that the Filipino champ will fall to his arch rival and, in turn, lose the steady stream of revenue that comes with being boxing’s top dog. That, of course, would also seriously cut into Arum’s bottom line.
Pacquiao no doubt realized all this a while back, and that’s why he personally began to make strides towards putting a match against Mayweather together himself. Whether it was offering forth concession after concession, or sending non-Arum representatives to have unofficial talks with Mayweather’s people – nobody can accuse Pacquiao of not trying to make this happen.
But there’s still one thing he needs to do that he hasn't already – put Arum in his place, once and for all. Pacquiao needs to tell his promoter that he won’t stand for the excuses and that a fight against Mayweather will happen this summer.
In that same interview with the Bulletin, Pacquiao indicated that he still very much wanted a fight against his undefeated rival.
“That’s a better match,” said Pacquiao, regarding to a showdown versus Mayweather compared to one against another potential opponent.
Pacquiao wants this fight to happen. Mayweather wants this fight to happen. They both know their legacies are on the line here. It’s time to tell the leaches that profit off them to kick rocks.
There's too much on the line and far too much progress has been made to let it all slip away now.
We're not at the point of no return yet. But we're close.
And if this match doesn't go down as planned and we do get to that point – the public will know who to hold responsible.