Manny Pacquiao, Bob Arum and Top Rank appear intent on making the same exact mistake time after time after time. At what point will this group realize that there is more to what they do than just adding bills to the register?
Look, Pacquiao has been one of, if not the best fighter in the world for years now. There is no debating that the Filipino champion has carved out a permanent place for himself somewhere in boxing lore. Where, precisely? That's still to be determined. But his all-time greatness status is secure, clearly.
The question now becomes, where do Pacquiao’s priorities lay?
We know where Arum’s priorities lay. He’s in for the biggest available payday and long-term maximization of profits. For Arum, it’s actually more beneficial if Pacquiao and Mayweather don’t fight because that way he can continue to pair his golden goose up with nobodies, watch Pacquiao pound said nobodies into the ground, and collect big paydays. If the Filipno champion were to square off against, and lose to Mayweather, then Arum’s biggest moneymaker suddenly loses a lot of pay-per-view (PPV) allure.
That’s why the onus is on Pacquiao to make this thing with Mayweather work. Everyone knows that Pacquiao is more mature and better regarded in comparison to his undefeated counterpart. It’s generally acknowledged that he has to put up with more nonsense from Mayweather than vice versa, and Pacquiao’s patience and dedication to getting a deal done is duly noted.
But he needs to get this deal done, regardless of how tiring and annoying it may be to negotiate with a moody diva like Mayweather.
In his November showing against Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao proved that if you test fate long enough, you will eventually feel its wrath. He has been puffing up his bank account fighting over-the-hill guys that really have no place sharing a main event card with him for years, knowing full well that he stood to gain nothing legacy-wise with a victory. A loss, though, could’ve been a dealbreaker in terms of his place in history. And yet, he still committed to these fights that Arum set him up with. Fine, so be it.
At a certain point, however, Pacquiao needs to take responsibility for his own career. Arum may or may not truly want to set up a fight with Mayweather, but the Filipino champion can’t simply take the chance of assuming that he does. Don’t forget, just a couple of weeks ago, people within Pacquiao’s own camp suggested that Arum would rather not have Pacquiao fight Mayweather because of his own personal dislike of the latter fighter.
And very recently, during a session with the Manila Standard, Arum had this to say about Pacquiao’s next fight:
“I’m not sure, although I remain optimistic,” said Arum. “Mayweather really can’t commit anything now, because next week, he’s before the courts. So if the trial is going to happen, he can’t do the fight.”
He then went on to suggest that Timothy Bradley, Miguel Cotto and Marquez were potential opponents if the Mayweather thing didn’t work out.
Nonsense. Every single one of those guys has no business sharing a ring with either the No.1 or No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world (depending on who you ask). There is only one challenger worthy of Pacquiao’s time at the moment, and Arum should be bending over backwards trying to make a fight with that guy happen. This laissez faire approach to setting up a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather showdown is beneath the Top Rank boss.
Pacquiao has fought to build up his bank account long enough. It’s time to stop playing it safe with these unprepared, ill-equipped opponents that can’t really enhance the Filipino champ’s legacy. Arum knows what he has to do.
And Manny has to be the one to ensure that he does it. No more games, no more excuses.
At this point, Arum needs to know – it’s Pacquiao vs. Mayweather or bust.