Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. haven’t come to terms on a fight for an assortment of reasons. Financial disputes have gotten in the way. Performance-enhancing drug (PED) testing has been a issue. Stubbornness, although it often doesn’t get mentioned, has been a pretty substantial roadblock throughout this entire process.
If you had to narrow it down, though, there is one big reason why this thing hasn’t popped off yet: both sides talking at each other instead of to each other.
Think about it, when Mayweather had his concerns about PED testing, did he quietly express those worries to his potential opponent? That would have been the smart way to go about it. This shouldn’t have been that big of an obstacle. It could have been worked out fairly quickly if Mayweather hadn’t decided to wage a public war over the matter. Once the first public shot was fired, it became a point of pride for Pacquiao to fight back. If Mayweather had simply talked to Pacquiao instead of at him through the media, that whole crisis could have been averted.
Similarly, on the topic of purse split: why didn't Pacquiao just reach out to Mayweather instead of offering him a 55-45 deal through the media? Easy, because he knew that Mayweather wanted more than 55 percent and that he wasn’t actually giving in to his arch rival’s demands. (Which are admittedly unrealistic and irritating.) He was just giving the public something to chew on; Pacquiao knew what Mayweather’s reaction would be. This was another classic example of these guys talking at one another and not to one another.
Bob Arum is no better. His idea of trying to make this fight happen apparently includes a.) trolling Mayweather and b.) insisting that Mayweather would lose Pacquiao. Here is what he told ESPN 1100 in Las Vegas recently:
"We had an offer, a legitimate offer on the table for 180 million dollars and people due to fight and had a big upside of 180 for the two fight camps. That's when he said 55-45 which would've given Mayweather 100 million. (Pacquiao) would've ended up with 80 million and that's still a lot of money right? But Mayweather will not fight him.
“Now why am I saying that? I'm not saying it to be, I know the guy and I know what his problem is, Mayweather, because we had him for 10 and a half years and his problem was he hated, he never wanted to face a southpaw and a southpaw that can move and punch with his left hand makes Mayweather completely vulnerable. All you have to do was watch him in the (DeMarcus) Corley fight where he didn't realize Corley was one when he made the fight. Corley shook him up and had him in trouble. Why? Because Mayweather is a sensational defensive fighter but that's against an orthodox guy.
“If he goes against a southpaw he opens himself up. You saw that happen in the Cotto fight because Cotto is a right handed fighter but he's really a southpaw that's converted and Cotto hurt him because he doesn't have a good defense to the left hand."
Okay. Let’s put this on record: Arum is one of the most brilliant minds boxing has ever seen. His ability to understand complex personalities and innate capacity for finding great deals is a thing of legend. And yet he doesn’t have enough sense to understand that publicly besmirching Mayweather is the wrong way to go about this whole thing?
The reason why this fight hasn’t happened yet is because everything is done for show – not for results. Everything is public. Everything is snappy. Everything is meant to make the other side look small. That’s not how you negotiate.
We’ll know when both sides are serious about making this Dream Match a reality. It’s when they stop saying stuff just to say stuff, and actually take legitimate steps towards making the other side feel like they are being listened to.