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BORGES: Manny Deserves Bigger Share

BY Ron Borges ON January 20, 2009
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Apparently Manny Pacquiao is tired of being the A side and being paid like he’s the B side. Frankly, who could blame the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world for that?

When Pacquiao’s oft-discussed May 2 fight with Ricky Hatton fell apart Wednesday after he refused to agree to a 50-50 purse split with the junior welterweight champion by that deadline even though his promoter and chief negotiator, Bob Arum, had already done so, it was said by Hatton’s representative that because Pacquiao beat Oscar De La Hoya “he thinks he’s Oscar and he is not Oscar.’’

In case Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, has forgotten, neither is Ricky Hatton. In fact, he’s not Manny Pacquiao, either.

Hatton is a very popular fighter in England, or at least will be until he takes a second beating like the one Floyd Mayweather, Jr. put on him. Outside of the UK however, he has fans to be sure, but there are fans and then there is Manny Mania.

Reluctantly, Pacquiao swallowed the short end of a 62-38 purse split for the opportunity to beat the tar out of De La Hoya for eight rounds in December before the six-time world champion quit on his stool after not winning one minute of one round. That victory, on a night when Pacquiao was supposed to be too small to handle the former middleweight champion, cemented Pacquiao’s place atop any list of the best fighters in the world and very likely convinced him that his days of not getting the lion’s share of the purse were behind him.

No disrespect to Hatton, but you have to go pretty far down any legitimate list of pound-for-pound fighters before you get to him. Having said that, Hatton certainly is a big draw in Great Britain and deserves to be paid. Unfortunately, the fight wasn’t going to be in Great Britain, it was going to be in the United States, where Pacquiao is vastly more popular than he is.

Is Ricky Hatton as big a draw worldwide as Manny Pacquiao? Not if you believe the numbers or the rhetoric both Schaefer and Arum were espousing when they were working to sell Pacquiao-De La Hoya tickets and pay-per-view buys last month.

Now that deal is behind them and so they have a different viewpoint on Pacquiao. Suddenly he needs to agree to a 50-50 split with a potential sweetener from Arum to goose his number up slightly? No, actually, he doesn’t. And he didn’t.

Immediately, Schaefer, Hatton’s father and Arum became angry and concluded that Pacquiao’s advisors were leading him astray (translation: not doing what they want) and blowing a $10 million to $12 million payday. Maybe he is but that doesn’t mean he’s without options or that he’s wrong.

First off, Pacquiao held out after he was told he was blowing the deal with De La Hoya and ultimately they caved and sweetened his purse so who do they think he learned the value of brinksmanship from?

Second, Hatton, according to Schaefer, has instructed Golden Boy to forget Pacquiao and make a May fight with either the winner of the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz match, De La Hoya himself or Floyd Mayweather, Jr. What’s the matter, Wladimir Klitschko wasn’t available?

First, De La Hoya is not fighting Ricky Hatton on May 2 and neither is Mayweather who, you may recall, was last seen inside a boxing ring standing over a knocked out Ricky Hatton, gloved fists thrust toward the sky.

So that leaves him with the Marquez-Diaz winner. Are you telling me he’s going to earn more to fight the winner than he would taking 45 per cent, say, of a fight with Manny Pacquiao? If that’s your mathematical acumen you could probably get a job balancing the budget at Citi or AIG.

While Pacquiao surely won’t make that kind of money against someone like Humberto Soto either let’s stop sounding like Hatton has multi-million dollar possibilities every where he looks because he doesn’t. If Marquez wins, frankly, he would much rather fight a third fight with Pacquiao than move up another weight class to face Hatton and that rubber match would be worth considerably more than Hatton-Marquez. If Diaz wins they can all forget about the multi-millions unless HBO caves to Golden Boy and grossly overpays, as they’ve been regularly doing these past few years.

Because Marquez and Diaz are now controlled by Golden Boy Schaefer believes he can deliver the winner to Hatton. Maybe he can. But who cares if he does? Certainly not most of the paying public.

Instead of fighting the guy who destroyed De La Hoya and beat Marquez they get the loser or Diaz, who is a good fighter who brings nothing to the pay window but an outstretched hand, for Hatton and pay him $10 million or more? I think not.

Oh, by the way, Arum thought he could deliver Pacquiao to Hatton too and thus far he hasn’t been able to do it so these things can become a bit more complicated than Schaefer thinks because, as Arum admitted this week, in the end the fighter has to agree and if he doesn’t it doesn’t matter what the suits say.

As for Floyd Mayweather’s comeback, if you don’t think he would jump at the chance to come back against Pacquiao, who would be smaller than he is and not as fast, then you’re kidding yourself. A second fight with Hatton? Not likely to lead to them dancing until Hatton sees stars.

Pacquiao has not spoken with either Arum or his trainer, Freddie Roach, for several weeks, which makes closing out a Hatton deal more difficult but what makes it impossible is the insistence by Golden Boy on a 50-50 split for their fighter. Their argument is Hatton grosses more on British television than Pacquiao will on Filipino TV and that Pacquiao figures to make more money in this fight than with anyone else. Oh yeah? Not if his people get to Mayweather first.

But that’s not really the point. Go check Hatton’s television numbers and his gate receipts in the U.S. against Pacquiao’s and see who brings in the fans and sells the tickets. Hatton had his one big night against Mayweather but when he came to Boston to face Luis Collazo they were giving tickets away. Same was true for his fight with Paulie Malignaggi. So who can Ricky Hatton fight that will allow him to earn the equivalent of 45 per cent of the gross for a Pacquiao fight?

That would be nobody because there is no De La Hoya or Mayweather option and Pacquiao senses it. Manny Pacquiao knows who the B side is on this fight card just as he knew who it was when he fought De La Hoya. That time it was him. This time it is not.

Richard Schaefer is right when he says the man who beats the man doesn’t necessarily become the man. Shane Mosley had to learn that the hard way after he beat De La Hoya. Pacquiao is not De La Hoya at the gate and neither is anyone else but he’s also not being asked to fight Oscar De La Hoya.

He’s being asked to fight an employee of Oscar De La Hoya’s and that, my friend, means no 50-50 split. Hatton is a good guy and deserves to be well paid if this fight ultimately can be saved but just as Manny Pacquiao wasn’t Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton isn’t Manny Pacquiao.

Unfortunately for everyone trying to make this a 50-50 purse split, no one is surer of that than Manny Pacquiao.

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