LAS VEGAS – Promoter Bob Arum said Monday he doesn't believe Floyd Mayweather will be available to fight Manny Pacquiao in May, so he's narrowed his choices for the pound-for-pound king's next bout to Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto.
Mayweather was in South Florida over the weekend to meet with promoter Don King, King acknowledged on Monday. Mayweather flew home to Las Vegas on Monday without coming to terms on a potential promotional contract with King. King, who said his wife, Henrietta, is gravely ill, said he would be able to make a deal for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight with Arum. However, he didn't want to discuss it further because he doesn't have a deal with Mayweather yet.
Following Pacquiao's one-sided victory over Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 in Dallas, Arum said Mayweather was Pacquiao's top target and that he would have Top Rank president Todd duBoef reach out to Mayweather in order to see if a deal could be struck. But Arum said Top Rank hasn't been able to contact Mayweather, who has a Jan. 24 preliminary hearing in Las Vegas regarding domestic violence charges against him. He could face 34 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Richard Schaefer, the chief executive officer of Golden Boy Promotions, which has promoted Mayweather's last several fights, said he didn't want to move forward negotiating a deal for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight until there was some sort of indication from the court.
"Obviously, Floyd Mayweather has a situation with a court in Las Vegas, and I don't want to disrespect the court and plan a fight when these kinds of things are pending," Schaefer said. "I think we have to respect the court and the process, and when that is dealt with then we can move ahead."
Arum is flying to the Philippines next month to celebrate Pacquiao's 32nd birthday on Dec. 17. He said he will present the options to Pacquiao, including his revenue estimates, and allow Pacquiao to choose his opponent.
Arum said Monday that he is certain a fight with Mosley would sell the most pay-per-views, though it would have to be counterbalanced by Mosley's financial demands.
"The bottom line, it's all about the Benjamins," Arum said. "I input what I think it will do on pay-per-view, and that's largely based upon how I can sell it. Berto is a tough sell, because nobody knows him. I could pitch it as the unknown, the undefeated guy, but how much that moves the needle, I'm not sure. With Mosley, my gut feeling is that promoting that fight right, because of Mosley's name recognition, will move the needle a lot. That will be a pretty high number.
"The casual sports fan just doesn't know Marquez, as witnessed by the attendance [of 4,920 at this fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena against Michael Katsidis] on Saturday. He's a wonderful fighter and a great young man, but the casual fan doesn't know Juan Manuel Marquez from [World Boxing Organization featherweight champion] Juan Manuel Lopez."
A Pacquiao-Mosley fight has been panned already by the majority of boxing media and bloggers because Mosley is 39 and his recent track record is dismal. He was routed by Mayweather in May and was ineffective in a draw with Sergio Mora in September.
Arum didn't attempt to argue that Mosley would be able to compete with Pacquiao. But when a reporter prefaced a question to him with the phrase, "Most people think Mosley would get killed," Arum took issue with the premise.
"Don't say, 'most people.' Say, 'most boxing people,' " Arum said. "You have to understand that for a fight of this magnitude, the boxing people are a small percentage of the entire audience. For the Margarito fight, [which sold 1.15 million on pay-per-view], boxing people accounted for 150,000, maybe 200,000 buys. The rest is the general public.
"The boxing people said they were going to boycott Margarito, but I wasn't worried, because they're boxing fans and I know they're going to want to see the fight. These kinds of big fights are successful when you reach the casual, non-boxing fan. The casual sports fan knows Mosley. He's fought (Oscar) De La Hoya twice and Mayweather. He's a recognizable name. No matter how great a fighter he may be, those people have no idea who Juan Manuel Marquez is."
Arum once again definitively ruled out middleweight champion Sergio Martinez as a potential Pacquiao opponent. He said that although Martinez, ranked No. 3 in the current Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound ratings, has agreed to come down to 154 for a Pacquiao fight, the weight at the weigh-in doesn't matter.
What Arum is concerned about is what the fighters will weigh when they rehydrate after the weigh-in. Pacquiao rehydrated to about 148 pounds for the Margarito fight after weighing in at 144.6. Martinez would probably come in at 170 or even 175 pounds.
"If Martinez comes in at 175 pounds, he's about 30 pounds bigger than Manny is and that's not a fair fight," Arum said. "He could weigh whatever he wants on Friday [at the weigh-in], but that doesn't matter. They all starve themselves and dehydrate in order to make the weight. It's what they weigh the next day, when they walk into the ring, that matters."
Marquez weighed 145 on Saturday after having weighed in on Friday at 134.5. Arum said that if a Pacquiao-Marquez fight is made, it would be at welterweight. Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach believes welterweight is Pacquiao's best weight. So, Arum pointed out, the fighters could weigh 147 or under for Friday's weigh-in, but would basically be the same by the time the fight would come around on Saturday night.