Mayweather takes his case to Pacman
LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather Jr. continued his campaign to land a fight with Manny Pacquiao, cutting out the middle man by phoning Pacquiao directly in an effort to make what would be the richest fight in boxing history May 5.
Mayweather called Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz early Thursday morning Pacific time and asked Koncz to put Pacquiao on the phone. When they spoke, Mayweather urged Pacquiao to agree to fight May 5 in what would be widely expected to be the largest-grossing fight ever.
The No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter must fight on that date before he reports to the Clark County Detention Center on June 1 to serve a 90-day sentence after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.
Mayweather’s attorney, Richard Wright, asked the judge who had sentenced the boxer to delay his sentence until June 1 so he could fight May 5. In his request to the court, Wright said Thursday he told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa that Mayweather would need three weeks after the fight to heal before reporting to jail.
Saragosa on Jan. 6 granted Wright’s request, postponing Mayweather’s report date to June 1. While theoretically it would be possible to ask the judge to push the date back to allow the bout to occur later in May, Wright said that is practically impossible.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, has said Pacquiao would be willing to fight Mayweather, but the fight would need to be later in May. Thus, Wright’s assertion that the fight could not be pushed back puts it in stark terms: Either Pacquiao agrees to fight May 5, or the fight won’t happen until after Mayweather is released from jail.
Mayweather discussed the proposed fight during his call to Pacquiao Thursday, but Mayweather’s manager, Leonard Ellerbe, would not make public details of the conversation.
“I can confirm that Floyd did call Manny Pacquiao and they had a conversation,” Ellerbe said. “Floyd wants this fight, the world wants this fight, and Floyd is doing what he can to get the fight made. But the conversation is private between them.”
Pacquiao told a reporter in the Philippines that he did speak with Mayweather, providing details on the fight. He spoke to the Filipino television reporter, Dyan Castillejo, and told her in Tagalog that he was happy with a 50-50 split and that he is willing to fight.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef, in New York on business, said Koncz phoned Arum immediately to inform him of the conversation. DuBoef said that Top Rank and Pacquiao want the fight, but that negotiating in public isn’t the way to make it happen.
“Obviously, in order to make things happen, we need to take this out of the realm of the public and social media and telephone calls and into private rooms and sit down and start moving the ball forward,” duBoef said. “That’s the way deals get done, not using social media to go back and forth in public. It will be far more productive to sit down and discuss the issues and hammer out a deal in a room.”
He declined further comment.
The biggest stumbling block is clearly the date. Arum has been adamant that Pacquiao would not fight Mayweather on May 5 but was open to doing it May 26. Arum has said Pacquiao has a cut that would not be healed in time for a May 5 fight, and that he needs the extra time to build a 40,000-seat outdoor stadium to host the bout.
A spokeswoman for Saragosa said Thursday that Jan. 6, “the judge ordered the defendant to surrender at a particular time on June 1. That was the order.” Nothing in Saragosa’s order precluded Mayweather from boxing on a different date.
Wright said that while that is technically true, it is all but impossible to ask the judge to allow him to move the fight back and, thus, push back Mayweather’s report time to some point later than June 1.
Wright said that on Nov. 2 he asked then-Clark County District Attorney David Roger if it would be all right if Mayweather scheduled a fight for May 5 and could push back his felony trial until sometime after that point. Wright said Roger agreed. Roger, who resigned as district attorney on Jan. 1, said Thursday his agreement with Wright was “somewhat conditional.” Roger said he had no problem extending the trial date beyond May 5 if Mayweather were bound over for a felony trial.
At the time Wright said he spoke to Roger, Mayweather was facing a misdemeanor domestic violence charge and a felony grand larceny charge. Under Nevada law, a felony is tried in District Court, while a misdemeanor is tried in Justice Court. Roger said barring a plea, which ultimately occurred, he had no problem pushing the felony trial beyond May 5.
Pushing the date of the felony trial back allowed Mayweather’s team to make a deal for the May 5 fight against an unnamed opponent at the MGM Grand Garden. But then, when Mayweather was unexpectedly sentenced to a 90-day jail term on the misdemeanor Dec. 21, Wright had to scramble.
He asked Saragosa to push the start of the sentencing back so Mayweather could honor his commitment to fight May 5. Then, he said he asked for three weeks after the fight before Mayweather had to report so that any injuries he might sustain in the bout would have healed before he had to report to jail.
“My entire argument to [Saragosa] was that he was committed [to the MGM for May 5], this is what he does for a living, the D.A. had agreed to it, so can we please honor our pre-existing commitment,” Wright said. “[I said] ‘There will be collateral consequences that flow out of breaching it.’ I didn’t say it couldn’t be breached, because it could, but I said, ‘Hey, here’s where we are, and these things aren’t put together on a day’s notice.’ You don’t just move these things around.
“There are commitments to the arena, there are commitments to cable networks and the opponent was known and a back-up was known. That’s the reality of it. That’s how it evolved. At this [expletive] point, any idea that I’m going to go waltzing back in there and say, ‘Hey Judge, these things I told you that we committed to clear back on Nov. 2 and said we can’t just move it around? Well, I changed my mind. I now need to move it around.’ That just can’t happen.”
The result is that if the fight is to happen in the spring, it will be May 5 and no other date. Arum and Pacquiao would have to commit to fighting on that date, but Arum said if Mayweather doesn’t agree to fight in late May, he’d arrange a bout for Pacquiao against a different opponent for June 9 at a temporary stadium in Vegas to be built on Las Vegas Blvd.
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Big League Stew: Super-old Jamie Moyer (49!) signs with the Rockies
• Prince Fielder could still join Yu Darvish and the Rangers
• Big League Stew: Why Ryan Braun should refuse the NL MVP award
• ThePostGame: Hilarious video explores infomercial fitness failures