Manny Pacquiao visited a media outlet that doesn't regularly cover boxing on Thursday, and it led to the inevitable story about a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather.
This time, Pacquiao, promoter Bob Arum, manager Michael Koncz, trainer Freddie Roach and the remainder of the Pacquiao Traveling Road Show visited the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper as part of their effort to promote the Nov. 22 WBO welterweight title bout with Chris Algieri in Macau.
Everyone who even thinks of asking the Mayweather-Pacquiao question should be forced to do a variation of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and have 10 buckets of ice water dumped on their heads.
Yes, Arum told the Chronicle that there have been secret talks and that he's optimistic that the fight boxing fans have wanted for years will be made in 2015.
Arum said that high-level executives at both Showtime, which is contracted with Mayweather, and HBO, which is contracted with Pacquiao, have met to discuss the fight.
"Both networks want this fight to happen. All signs seem to point to the fight happening early next year."
It would be wonderful, if true, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an announcement. If the high-level talks really were occurring – and we have to assume he's referencing talks between Leslie Moonves, the CEO of CBS Corp., and Richard Plepler, the CEO of HBO – it would make sense to think that everyone would be hush-hush and no one, not even the notoriously loose-lipped Arum, would be talking publicly.
It's beyond ludicrous that the fight hasn't occurred, and if, as expected, it never does, there should be asterisks placed on the Hall of Fame plaques given to Mayweather and Pacquiao for their failure to make it happen.
No one individual is to blame, though all the main players deserve a share of the blame. That means Mayweather, chief adviser Al Haymon, all the major Showtime executives, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, Pacquiao, Arum and all the major HBO executives.
Arum told the Chronicle the fight has a shelf life and that it must occur within the first six months of 2015 or fans will no longer care.
"There is a sell-by date, where it becomes 'Who cares?' It has to happen by the first six months of next year. And if it happens, there should be a provision with a different percentage for the rematch. So that the winner is rewarded for winning the fight. I would love to see these guys fight twice next year."
The truth is, however, that many fans no longer care. And those who still do are sick of the foolishness that has prevented this epic match from occurring. It will never be what it was.
After Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto in 2009, the sides negotiated for a March 2010 match and it seemed close at one point. Interest in the match was at a fever pitch, as the two not only were regarded as 1-2 in the welterweight division but also as 1-2 in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings.
Pacquiao has lost twice since then and hasn't had a knockout since the Cotto fight. Now, Mayweather is clearly ahead of him. There isn't as much doubt about the outcome. The passion for the fight isn't quite the same as it was a few years ago.
Oh, it would be big if it ever occurred, but it will never be as big as it would have been in 2010 or 2011.
But it makes little sense to get excited about Arum's comments. Most likely, he was trying to create some momentum to get talks revived. It wouldn't hurt his Nov. 22 show, either, if the public believed that Pacquiao would fight Mayweather next were he to defeat Algieri.
So, in that sense, Arum probably had an ulterior motive.
Whatever, this kind of thing has been said so many times over the years by so many involved, it's little more than white noise.
I don't believe it. If you do, do so at your own peril, because you're bound to be disappointed.
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