COMMENTARY | One of the sure signs that a Manny Pacquiao fight is approaching is when Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum begins to express his heartfelt desire to have his fighter face Floyd Mayweather.
As a matter of fact, Arum has been bringing up the Mayweather fight, coming just close to pre-selling the event, during Pacquiao fight weeks before each and every Pacquiao bout for the last four years.
Ever since effectively killing the mega-bout with a refusal to undergo random blood testing in early 2010, Team Pacquiao has not shied away from using Mayweather to help promote their own guy, perpetually dangling the carrot in front of eager fight fans and giving false hope to something that will never be.
The routine is always the same.
It seems that Arum and company are eager to negotiate and wonderfully willing to compromise when the possibility of actually getting together with Team Mayweather is non-existent-like two days before Manny's next fight-but not so eager to reach over to the other side when talks could actually, realistically happen.
This time, the opponent is different and the venue is, literally, on the other side of the planet, but the game is the same. Less than two full days before Pacquiao meets Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios in Macau, China, Arum is expressing his willingness, perhaps even eagerness, to finally extend a professional olive branch to Mayweather and do his share to put together the mega-bout.
"On our side the answer is yes [the fight can be made in 2014], we're very open to it," Arum told the media. "There are ways it can get done, they have to dumb down the rhetoric, we are prepared to dumb down the rhetoric and get it done. There is no real impediment to having that fight happen whether it will or not depends completely on the Mayweather side. I can see it happening but I can't predict that it will happen because it takes two to tango."
But once this fight is over, win or lose, silence will fall over Team Pacquiao until either Mayweather is signed to fight someone else or Pacquiao's team is looking to hype Manny's next big event. This is nothing different than what has happened at least twice a year ever since this whole Mayweather-Pacquiao debacle began.
Mayweather and his people are not innocent in this fiasco, but their sins are quite different. Mayweather has been painfully ambivalent about the fight most fans so obviously want to see, ambivalent almost to the point of being callous. He's not going out of his way to use Manny's name to promote his fight. Actually, one gets the feeling that he'd prefer never to talk about Pacquiao at all, ever.
Meanwhile, Arum's constant use of Mayweather as a promotional tool is disingenuous, at best, but downright cruel, at worst. He's never given any indication that he'd really be eager to pursue Mayweather-Pacquiao, so he should stop dragging false hope out into the public discourse.
Unfortunately, though, this tactic works and people keep buying into the ploy. Empty words used to generate cheap publicity for his fighter tend to be taken way too seriously, leading to greater and greater disappointment when nobody, from either side, moves forward to make the fight.
Fight fans should insist on a moratorium related to Mayweather-Pacquiao talk until both sides are truly willing to get the ball rolling. Don't believe it, don't ask about it, and don't bother entertaining talk about it from either camp. If the two sides can't move forward with some real talk and real negotiations, then we should insist on moving on.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Manny Pacquiao
- Bob Arum