Arum’s spin on Pacquiao-Mosley is pure garbage
You know it’s garbage. I know it’s garbage. Heck, even Bob Arum, the guy who is putting the money up to stage the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight, which will take place May 7 in Las Vegas, knows it’s garbage.
Mosley is 39 and will be only four months shy of his 40th birthday when he climbs into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena next year to face the best boxer in the world. Mosley is coming off an uninspired split draw with Sergio Mora and a one-sided beat down from Floyd Mayweather Jr., and that somehow qualifies him for the biggest fight which can be made.
Arum, the venerable chairman of Top Rank, traveled about 15,000 miles round trip a week or so ago to fly to the Philippines to, um, “consult” with Pacquiao regarding the Filipino congressman’s next opponent. Arum ostensibly made the trip to discuss the financial demands of each of three potential opponents with Pacquiao, but it was a sham. Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto never had a chance.
It was going to be Shane Mosley when Arum stepped on the plane in Las Vegas, it was Shane Mosley when Arum landed in the Philippines and it was officially Shane Mosley on Tuesday when Arum concluded a deal over the telephone with Mosley’s adviser James Prince.
Mosley got the gig for two simple, but very important, reasons:
• He’s no longer with Golden Boy Promotions. Arum hates both Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya and its CEO, Richard Schaefer, with a passion and would rather light a vault of $100 bills on fire than do business with them.
• He’s the least likely of the three contenders to win.
Mosley was a great fighter, one of the best of his era, but his time as an elite boxer is over. And in September, Arum said as much in an interview with Michael Marley, who was writing for BoxingScene.com.
Mosley had just finished the lackluster Sept. 18 draw with Mora, which was a disaster at the box office and a bomb on pay-per-view, when Marley phoned Arum to ask if Mosley would be in the running for a Pacquiao fight.
“I read them saying Mosley was huffing and puffing for air in the fourth or fifth round,” Arum told Marley. “To me, that is the real tipoff for an aging fighter. Even Big George Foreman did that in his 40s, but he always had that big, big punch, like in the (Michael) Moorer fight. What I’ve read is not very supportive to make any Mosley-Pacquiao bout. Look, he’s going to be 40 and he’s in the lighter weights, where speed is so important. He’s on a show with guys … old enough to be his son.
“I guess Shane needs the money due to his (divorce). I’ve always considered Shane to be a nice guy but this is what happens to fighters when they age. It’s like (Bernard) Hopkins: He still knows how to fight, but who wants to pay to see him now? His fights are not very scintillating. What you see with Hopkins, we’re beginning to see with Mosley.”
When Arum didn’t have anything to sell, he said Mosley was an old man and nobody would want to see him.
Three months have passed and the only thing that has changed in the interim is that Pacquiao routed Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 and Mosley is three months closer to his 40th birthday. Oh, that and the fact that Mosley and Golden Boy have split and are likely headed for a long, nasty court battle. Mosley still owns a percentage of Golden Boy, but Schaefer acknowledges the relationship is over and the lawsuits will be flying soon.
Free of Golden Boy and less likely to defeat his cash cow than either Marquez or Berto, Mosley suddenly looked far more attractive to Arum.
With a deal done, Arum will go about the task of crafting Mosley as the type of opponent who can beat Pacquiao and generate large pay-per-view sales. Arum insists that the boxing crowd is meaningless in the success of a pay-per-view bout because the overwhelming majority of the hard-core fans buy the fights. It’s the casual fan and the average sports fan who doesn’t particularly pay boxing much mind most of the time who dictate the success or failure of a pay-per-view bout, Arum insists.
Mosley is far better known among those fans than either Marquez or Berto, Arum argues.
A Pacquiao fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. would have been gargantuan and likely would have surpassed the pay-per-view record of 2.45 million sales, set in 2007 by Mayweather and De La Hoya. Many knowledgeable boxing people believe a Pacquiao-Mayweather match could do the staggering, and previously unthinkable, total of 3 million sales.
That’s amazing because only the De La Hoya-Mayweather bout has exceeded 2 million. Two Mike Tyson bouts, against Lennox Lewis in 2002 and the rematch against Evander Holyfield in 1997, did 1.98 million sales.
In the history of pay-per-view boxing, which dates to 1991, there have been only 17 fights which have exceeded 1 million.
Pacquiao has become a massive attraction now and his fights are all but slam dunks to hit 750,000, regardless of the opponent. In his last five fights, Pacquiao has sold 1.25 million against De La Hoya, 800,000 against Ricky Hatton, 1.2 million against Miguel Cotto, 700,000 against Joshua Clottey and 1.15 million against Margarito.
That averages to 1.02 million a fight. Mosley and Marquez are certainly more well-known than Clottey, and a case can be made that Berto is at least as well known. With just six weeks to promote a Pacquiao-Clottey fight, which was hurriedly made when talks for a fight with Mayweather broke down, the bout still did 700,000.
It’s hard to imagine that a Pacquiao bout against either Mosley, Marquez and Berto would do less than 1 million. But it’s also unlikely that Pacquiao-Mosley would sell markedly better than fights against either Marquez or Berto.
And while Arum is correct in saying the casual fan knows Mosley better, those casual fans who helped sell 1.4 million pay-per-views for the Mayweather-Mosley fight were burned last May when Mosley laid an egg and was almost completely non-competitive.
It’s Arum’s money to spend and invest as he chooses. If he wants to pony up a lot of it to make a fight that no one on earth was clamoring for, it’s his business.
We’re not going to stand idly by, though, and let Arum spin this as if we are cattle being innocently led to slaughter.
He knows the score when it comes to Shane Mosley and he said so in September.
With no dog in the fight, he painted Mosley for what he is, a once-great champion long past his prime. Tuesday, with something to sell, suddenly Mosley has become this dangerous and highly popular foe.
Arum is selling a bunch of garbage and this is one of the times when everyone knows it.