The highly anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao may not be dead just yet. Though Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, whose company has already reserved May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to host the bout, is concerned that Pacquiao's team is not interested, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said he's simply not ready to talk now.
Arum did not rule out conversations for a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, but said he is not prepared to talk to Schaefer about it at the moment because he has a full schedule. Arum is promoting a WBC middleweight title fight in Houston between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Peter Manfredo Jr. on Saturday, then has a media day for Miguel Cotto in Florida, the Thanksgiving holiday, and then the Cotto-Margarito pay-per-view in New York on Dec. 3.
"Our position is simple and that is that right now, we're not ready to talk," Arum said Tuesday. "I'm in Los Angeles now, but I'm flying to New York in a couple of hours. I have a big fight to promote on Dec. 3."
"Manny is on his way back to the Philippines today. In a few weeks, whether it's a [Juan Manuel] Marquez rematch, a Mayweather fight, a fight with Timothy Bradley, or whatever, we'll sit down with the appropriate parties and talk. But we're not ready to talk about it now."
Schaefer said he would like Arum to meet with him in Los Angeles later this week with retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein, an arbiter who has mediated several disputes between the companies.
Schaefer said he believes Arum is not interested in making the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, and so he said he is ready to move on and find an opponent who is willing to fight Mayweather. There are indications that Mayweather's team has reached out to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, though that could not be confirmed.
"I left Bob a message two months ago and he never called me back," Schaefer said. "I read comments from Bob in the Los Angeles Times this morning saying that Manny wants a rematch with Marquez. What am I going to do, sit around and wait to see what they do? Hell no. I am going to get the biggest fight done for Floyd that I can. We wanted to make the Pacquiao fight, but if Bob doesn't want to do it, or Manny is saying that he wants to fight Marquez, what can we do?
"Floyd wants the fight. He gave his team the go-ahead to reach out to me to get it done and we are ready, willing and able to talk. But in order to reach a deal, the other side has to want to come to the table."
Arum, who said on Saturday he planned to pursue a rematch with Marquez, said he's open to whatever the best deal is and said he'd need to speak to Pacquiao.
"There's no rush," he said. "There is still a lot of time. Manny just had a fight and went through a very hard training camp. He's going home now. We need to give him a little time, and we have a lot of things to do ourselves. I'm not ruling out anything. No decisions have been made. But we're just not ready to talk. Schaefer can talk to me, and I'm happy to talk to him, but we're not going to talk in a negotiating stance just yet because of everything going on."
Showtime names Hershman's replacement
Showtime hired Stephen Espinoza on Monday as the next executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, replacing Ken Hershman, who resigned to take over as president of HBO Sports.
Espinoza's hiring on Monday raised eyebrows in the boxing industry, because he was the attorney for Golden Boy and its president, Oscar De La Hoya.
Schaefer said he thought Espinoza was a "great hire" by Showtime and he laughed at suggestions made privately by many in the industry that he would be able to control Espinoza and essentially get Espinoza to buy whatever fights Golden Boy was pushing.
"That's a great compliment to me, because they obviously believe I am very powerful," he said. "I don't have that kind of power, though I wish I did. That's the funniest thing. Some of these promoters are knuckleheads, but they should worry about what they are doing with their own businesses. Stephen is a smart guy who is passionate about boxing and this was a great hire by Showtime."
Arum, who worked closely with Espinoza when Top Rank promoted De La Hoya, said he had no concerns. "I assume it will be business as usual and if we have fights they like, he'll buy them and if we have fights he doesn't like, he'll decline them," Arum said. "That's as it should be."
Promoter Lou DiBella said he is willing to given Espinoza the benefit of the doubt.
"You have to expect that people in the industry would be concerned, because he had a lawyer-client privileged relationship with [Golden Boy]," DiBella said. "Having some concern is common sense. But that said, I've known Espinoza a long time. He is a very bright guy. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for him and we should give him the benefit of the doubt in believing he's intelligent enough to realize that.
"I think we have to wait and see, but he deserves the benefit of the doubt. This is such a great opportunity and I think he'll want to put his best foot forward."
• Pacquiao fans, not content their hero won Saturday's hotly contested fight, are flooding the Internet with photos of Marquez stepping on Pacquiao's foot. That happens, frequently, when a southpaw faces a right-hander, as was the case on Saturday. Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said "it was excessive," but also had no complaint, saying, "It's a fight." Bottom line: Get over it, people. Be glad your guy got a decision not a lot of folks believe he deserved.
• All indications are that the Pacquiao-Marquez pay-per-view results are going to be very high. Don't be shocked if the final number soars past 1.5 million. If it does, it would be the largest Pacquiao fight ever and the second-largest non-heavyweight pay-per-view of all-time, trailing only the 2007 De La Hoya-Mayweather bout. That match did 2.45 million.
• Don't you think it would help if both Mayweather and Pacquiao released public statements saying they wanted to fight each other? If that were to happen, neither promoter would have an excuse not to get it done.
• If Arum decides to have Pacquiao fight Marquez a fourth time, I strongly favor a Mayweather bout against Martinez. A match against Amir Khan would put him against a guy moving up in weight. Mayweather needs to do something big, and leaping up in weight, as Pacquiao has done, would be a bold stroke for him.
Pacquiao shouldn't fight Floyd next
I do not think Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather should fight each other next. They should fight last. Hear me out: The smart move is a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacman got $22 million plus a percentage of the PPV number for the fight on Saturday. He's guaranteed to do at least that much in a rematch. Probably more though. Yes, the Floyd fight could be $50 million. But if Pacquiao were to lose the Mayweather fight, his big paydays would be gone. We know Pacquiao wants to fight three or more times before he quits. If Floyd were to lose that fight, he could walk away at age 35 with a $50 million purse (since Floyd has a tendency to retire every other year). I guess my point is, Pacquiao has two to three more $20 million fights in him before risking it all to fight Floyd. Sure, if Pacquiao were to beat Floyd, that would be amazing. But it wouldn't increase his paydays against other guys. What do you think?
Frankly, Scott, you're only looking it at from one vantage point: How much Pacquiao might make. They should fight next, because it's the fight the fans want to see. They've been clamoring for it since Pacquiao destroyed Oscar De La Hoya in 2008. The time has never been better. They're Nos. 1 and 2 in the world. The money would be massive. The loser would still be a huge name – Did Mike Tyson or De La Hoya became less popular after they lost? No, they did not.
Will rankings be affected?
After watching Marquez give Manny a competitive boxing match on Saturday, do you think this performance will affect the rankings at all? If voters do switch Manny and Floyd at No. 1, does this help or hurt our chances of seeing them fight each other?
The rankings will be updated by the end of the week, as I'm currently collecting votes now. It's hard to say, as everyone has their own opinion, but mine is that Mayweather deserves to be ranked first. But the rankings are just for fun and shouldn't be taken as anything other than fuel for discussion and debate among fight fans. They'll have zero impact on the talks, believe me.
"Everybody knows what happened. I think I won this again. What do I need to do for the judges to give me the fight? I am happy with my [performance]. I won this fight, more clearly than the other two." – Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday at the post-fight news conference after losing a majority decision to Manny Pacquiao.
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