It should be clear by now that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. doesn’t want to fight Manny Pacquiao. It should be equally clear that Manny Pacquiao, or at least some of the people around him, don’t want to fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. either. That being the case could they both do fight fans a favor and just shut up?
America is a free country and boxing is a freestyle sport so neither has to do anything they don’t want to do and they clearly don’t want to fight each other. We all get that. So why do they keep talking about each other all the time? More importantly perhaps, why do we still listen?
Mayweather for a long time insisted (quite rightly in this corner’s opinion) that they both agree to random blood testing for performance enhancing drugs. Pacquiao refused, making an assortment of ever more lame excuses to explain his hesitancy. According to his promoter, Bob Arum, Pacquiao finally relented on that issue and we’ll do something unwise at this point and take him at his word so that issue should no longer be an issue even though all Mayweather does is keep talking about it as if it were.
Pacquiao has long said he would agree to a 50-50 split of the revenue, which is expected to be the biggest haul in boxing history. If the fight shatters the previous pay-per-view record of 2.4 million buys as expected (and at a record cost per household) and sets a new live gate mark in addition to bringing in record numbers of international television fees and assorted other revenue from ancillary rights, popcorn sales and bobblehead dolls, one can only conclude that both fighters would receive a record payday with an even split.
Mayweather once said he thought that was fair enough. He was right that day because like all great attractions there is no B side in this match. He then offered Pacquiao what the latter claims was about a 70-30 cut by offering him a guaranteed $30 million while Mayweather kept the rest. I understand Manny Pacquiao has taken a lot of blows to the head during his career but not that many.
Old boxing hands experienced in the dark art of negotiations understood what that offer was. It was an offer you CAN refuse. Pacquiao knew it and so did Mayweather.
It was the kind of offer you make when you want your supporters to go “Whoa, that’s a lot of dead Presidents, bro’’ while knowing it was nowhere near enough dead Presidents to bring Mayweather-Pacquiao to life.
Speaking with Ray Leonard recently, he said he understood the position of the two fighters but at the same time, as a fight fan and a guy who agreed to a lot of dangerous fights during his career, he knows the difference between two guys who want to make a fight and two guys who don’t.
“It’s more business with these guys,’’ Leonard said when asked to compare this negotiations with the ones that led to his historic bouts with Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Wilfred Benitez, the four best of his era in his weight classes.
“They’re more business oriented than we were. We wanted to get paid but we wanted to fight each other too. These guys look at it from what makes sense to them business-wise.
“They figure they can fight three times for $120 million or something or fight each other once for $40 million and face the possibility of losing. It depends on how you look at it. But if they really want to fight they can make it happen.’’
Leonard’s old nemesis, Thomas Hearns, was even more emphatic and more disgusted, saying last week in Atlanta that Mayweather and Pacquiao “need to go for it. We believed in taking on all comers. Every fight wasn't necessarily a good fight, but to us we knew we had to take the fight in order to move on. If we didn't take a fight, we couldn't move ahead.
''We knew we had to perform because if we didn't do that, another man would get up on us. We never wanted anybody to have the upper hand over us. You wanted to have the upper hand.
“If not, just think how fights would have been different,'' he said. ''You wouldn't have had the chance to see all the fights you saw. You wouldn't have had a chance to have all the thrills from seeing us fight, me and Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran. You would have never seen that. I thank God because God allowed that to happen in my time and I fought great fights.''
Mayweather and Pacquiao may have some great fights themselves but unless the two of them agree on the most fundamental thing – that they really WANT to face each other – one of them won’t be Mayweather-Pacquiao I.
That being the case, why don’t they both shut up, cash their checks and stop saying how much they want to meet when obviously they don’t. The proof of that is simple: if they really wanted to they already would have.