The closest boxing has come to having Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. agree to a fight is a phone call that the pair shared a few months ago. That call, one that will probably go down in boxing lore as the dumbest conversation in human history, featured Mayweather trying to sell his arch rival on taking a guaranteed $40 million and none of the pay-per-view (PPV) dough in what would be the biggest fight in boxing history.
Unsurprisingly, Pacquiao turned down that down. He (well, technically Bob Arum) then countered by reversing the offer, boosting it by $10 million to $50 million guaranteed, and asking Mayweather to sacrifice all of the PPV dough. Once again, predictably, Mayweather said no.
The last offer exchanged was Pacquiao presenting Mayweather with a risky proposition – a 70-30 split of the PPV dough with the greater portion to going to the winner. Given the crickets we’ve heard from Mayweather since this offer came to light a few days ago, though, it’s probably safe to assume that he’ll reject that one as well.
Several days back, Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer) shined a bit of light on what exactly was said in that, now infamous, phone conversation between Pacquiao and Mayweather. Via FightHype:
"I want that fight just as badly as you do. Manny spoke to him [Mayweather] on the phone," Roach explained. "He [Mayweather] said, 'Manny, after boxing, I have nothing and you have everything.'"
That’s a pretty powerful statement. Had this been Arum or one of Top Rank’s many other shady PR gurus saying this, there would be a lot of reason to doubt whether or not Mayweather had actually made it. However, Roach is as legit a figure as you’ll ever come across in boxing. When he says something, he’s earned folks believing it to be true.
Once you accept that the comments Roach made were truthful, the next obvious question is: should he have made them in an interview? Isn’t it a bit out-of-bounds to throw a private conversation out there for public consumption? Generally, yes. In this case? No. Mayweather, God bless him, knows no bounds when he talks to the media. Everything and everyone is fair game when he goes on one of his tirades. (Which is fine, by the way.) So what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The Pacquiao-Mayweather rivalry clearly has no common decency line.
The final thing worth thinking about here (if you accept that Mayweather said what Roach cites him as having said) is: how valid is the sentiment that he purportedly expressed? Is it true that he needs the larger share of the purse split more than Pacquiao does? Nothing in Pacquiao’s background tells us that he’s that well off. (As far as athletes go.) In fact, his money problems are a pretty frequent topic of discussion. Even if Mayweather does blow through his cash on fancy toys and gambling like everyone figures he does, is he really on worse financial footing than Pacquiao is? And supposing that it’s true that he needs the larger purse split more, should that even matter? Since when is need a basis for determining boxing money splits? It’s about brand and name value, not who possesses the lighter bank account coming in.
In the coming days, it’ll be interesting to see how Mayweather reacts to Pacquiao (or Roach) attributing those comments to him.