Arum has been getting heat for doing what businessmen do, maximizing profits. But Borges says the onus of culpability is on Pacquiao, who should remember that Arum works for Pacquiao, not the other way around. (Hogan)
The long running soap opera “The Unmaking of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao’’ continued this week after Mayweather called out Pacquiao and Pacquiao’s promoter responded by saying his fighter needed longer to recover from a cut eye than most people do from triple bypass surgery.
Once Mayweather had his already scheduled 87-day sojourn at the county jail in Las Vegas delayed for a reason that would work only in Vegas, he immediately launched a Twitter assault on Pacquiao, challenging him to a May 5 showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, winner take half.
Arum’s response was to say the 29-stitch cut Pacquiao sustained on Nov. 12 in his questionable majority decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez would take six months to heal, meaning he couldn’t begin sparring until April 1 and that would be a disadvantage he could not in good conscience (good what?) allow his fighter to suffer.
The fact that you could recover from a gunshot wound in less than six months and fight again didn’t seem to enter Arum’s timetable. When he told the Los Angeles Times that June 9 would be “perfect’’ for such a match he revealed his true agenda – which is avoiding Mayweather at all cost because of the cost…to him.
How do we know this? Because Justice of the Peace Saragosa had changed Mayweather’s Jan. 6 surrender date to June 1 and the likelihood that either fighter would agree to hold the match in the local clink was nil…unless the county put up a sizeable site fee, of course.
So where once it was Mayweather’s fault for insisting on Olympic style blood testing (which seems reasonable to me, by the way) and then it was Pacquiao’s for refusing to do so because Nevada regulations don’t require it (and thus he wouldn’t be dictated to by Mayweather) and then Arum and Golden Boy Promotions’ tandem of Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer for doing more to stir up problems than solve them in the 2 ½ years or so that have dragged on since the fight was first proposed, now the blame belongs to Pacquiao alone.
It is true that Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa agreeing to delay his serving a sentence on misdemeanor domestic assault charges until after he fulfilled his previously signed contract to fight anyone he feels like on Cinco de Mayo weekend was a decision not based on any known legal argument. It was based on the argument that works best in Vegas and boxing – M-O-N-E-Y – but so what?
The legal conversation on the subject went something like this:
Mayweather’s attorney: “Hey, Judge, the dude has a multi-million dollar contract to fight at the MGM May 5 that could bring $100 million into town.’’
Justice Saragosa: “Yo, really? What was I THIIIIIINKING! Casino business is casino business. Even somebody who went to law school knows that.’’
Mayweather’s attorney: “So?’’
Justice Saragosa: “So who said Jan. 6? How silly? I meant June 6…if that’s convenient for Mr. Mayweather and any casino in town. If not, you just let us know when he’s got some free time and we’ll squeeze it in between fights, trips to the sports book and appearances on HBO’s 24/7.’’
Mayweather’s attorney: “Right on, Dawg. I mean, your Honor.’’
Almost immediately thereafter, Mayweather Tweeted out the following challenge to Pacquiao: “Manny Pacquiao I'm calling you out let's fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see.”
Barely a minute later, he added: “My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk.”
As negotiating strategy goes “Punk’’ was probably not the best way to convince Pacquiao to fight him but what would you expect from Mayweather? A reasonable discourse?
It would have been far better had Mayweather privately reached Pacquiao and said, “Let’s skip all this promotional b.s. and you and I make the deal. What do we need these guys to do beyond hang up a banner and count the money?’’
The fact is, they could put up a sign on the outskirts of Vegas saying “Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight tonight’’ and the town would be packed, both HBO and SHOWTIME would be falling over themselves to get a pay-per-view deal with them and sponsors would be banging on their Twitter accounts trying to throw money at them.
That’s not to say Arum and Golden Boy don’t have roles in this. It’s just to point out that the fight will be made ANY TIME THE TWO FIGHTERS ORDER THEM TO MAKE IT.
That being the case – which it is now, was always and will be forever more – it is up to Pacquiao to simply say that to Arum. Reportedly he told a Filipino journalist this week he doesn’t want to be blamed for the fight not happening and will tell his promoter to forget that list of four other opponents and hammer out a deal with Mayweather.
If true, that should end the issue because while Arum may try to bend Pacquiao’s mind into a pretzel to get him to face Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez (forget Lamont Peterson) because, as Mayweather’s friend and advisor Leonard Ellerbe correctly but unwisely pointed out, “Arum has both sides in those fights.“
That was often one of the criticisms Arum and many in boxing used to level quite rightly at Don King, even though the promoter hasn’t been born who doesn’t try to control both sides of any big fight they’re involved in. If Arum can convince Pacquiao to accept one of those fighters, all of whom are under contract to Arum, he indeed makes money on both sides and, more importantly, doesn’t have Mayweather’s bean counters peering over his shoulder counting every penny and insisting that large parts of the ancillary revenue go into his pocket and not Arum’s or Pacquiao’s. You really think Pac-Man is splitting foreign TV rights, sponsorships or popcorn sales with Tim Bradley?
So if the fight doesn’t happen May 5 who’s to blame? On some level everyone still would apply but if you were slicing up the blame pie this time the largest slice would have to go to Manny Pacquiao.
Bob Arum works for him, not the other way around. All Pacquiao has to do is what Evander Holyfield did when he agreed to take $4 million less than his representatives kept saying he deserved to fight Mike Tyson the first time, then flew to Toronto without them and made the deal. He then knocked Tyson out and made $25 million in the rematch.
That’s called betting on yourself. It’s also called being your own man. If Manny Pacquiao really wants this fight, that’s all he has to be.
If he says yes and Mayweather comes up with some other excuse then the world will know why it never happened. Conversely, if Pacquiao says he can’t make it because he’s got a June date with Marquez or Bradley or he needs six months to heal from a cut, the world will know it wasn’t Mayweather this time.