In the midst of Manny Pacquiao’s ongoing legal battle with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and everyone mentally preparing for his looming showdown versus Timothy Bradley, the Top Rank camp decided to go back to a tried and true method of nabbing headlines: talking smack about Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Over the last few days, both Pacquiao and Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum have taken to selectively name-dropping Mayweather in interviews that really have nothing to do with him. To be fair, in some of the instances they were asked about their arch rival. But by the same token, it’s not like they have to respond. If they wanted to avoid the topic, they very easily could have.
They talk about Mayweather because they know that any time reporters can get the names “Pacquiao” and “Mayweather” in the same sentence, they’ll happily print any and all accompanying quotes.
Here are just a few recent statements by the Filipino champ and his promoter over the last week:
“...It was even reported in international media that I shall follow Mayweather soon in jail. I don’t have that intention. I would rather see him inside the ring,” Pacquiao said in a recent press conference during which he addressed his legal problems.
“One thing about Mayweather, although many of his comments are bizarre one thing no one can accuse him of not being a very smart boxing guy,” Arum told Rope-A-Dope Radio.
“ We promoted Mayweather for many, many years and one thing he never wanted to do is fight a southpaw, particularly a quick southpaw who throws punches from many angles. Look at Mayweather’s style and a decent southpaw is going to give him trouble all the time.”
“… we have been trying to make this fight happen for a while now and Manny would like the fight to happen. I would certainly like the fight to happen. You know, in this business if an athlete wants a fight to happen the promoter will invariably go along,” Arum added, in that same interview with Rope-A-Dope.
“It’s clear that Manny wants this fight. It has to be done on a reasonable basis. Manny has a future as a high official in the Philippines and is not going to be perceived as yielding to unreasonable demands just because a guy says he is entitled to more because he is American and Manny isn’t. That’s not going to fly.”
Why the incessant need to keep mentioning Mayweather’s name? Probably because -- given the long odds that Bradley has been given to beat his Filipino counterpart -- everyone involved realizes that it’s important to keep Pacquiao’s name in the press in order to hype the upcoming fight up. (Bradley, as nice of a guy as he appears to be, does not move the needle.) And the most surefire way to keep his name in the press is by linking it to Mayweather.
As Pacquiao, Bradley and Arum embark on their mission to promote their June 9 bout, keep an eye on all the interesting, creative new ways that Mayweather’s name gets plugged into conversations. It’ll get funny after a while.