Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Negotiations Begin


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↵Barring the unlikely unretirement of Lennox Lewis to face one of the Klitschko brothers, or the even more unlikely unretirement of Mike Tyson to face Evander Holyfield for a third time, boxing has only one potential superfight to offer the world right now -- the pound-for-pound king of the sport, Manny Pacquiao, vs. the undefeated former pound-for-pound king, Floyd “Money” Mayweather. ↵

↵In a sport that desperately needs high-profile events to pull in the casual audience, this is a fight that seems like it simply has to happen. And what with all the rumors circulating that Mayweather is already making moves to end his sham of a retirement and fight a tune-up bout on HBO in July, Money vs. Manny looks like it is moving closer and closer to reality. ↵

↵

↵Further evidence of that came this week from Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, whose ridiculous comments about a possible Pacquiao/Mayweather fight can only be taken as the first salvos of what promises to be a tortured negotiation over money with Floyd’s people. Yesterday, Arum told Luis Sandoval of Boxing Scene that he has no interest in Mayweather because he wants bigger fights for Manny. ↵

↵

↵“I’m not thrilled about Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather because there are other fighters who draw a lot better than Mayweather,” Arum told Sandoval. ↵

↵

↵What can you say to that besides, dah ... who? Floyd was one half of the biggest grossing fight of all time, facing Oscar De La Hoya in May of 2007 in a mega-event that did over 2.4 million pay-per-view buys, one of only two fights in history to break the two-million barrier (Lewis/Tyson in 2002 was the other). And if Arum wants to ascribe that all to Oscar’s marketing muscle, he can just take a look back at Pacquiao/De La Hoya in December of ’08, and see that it did ... 1.25 million PPV buys. That took place in a seriously down economy, but that doesn’t account for a million and change in dropoff from Mayweather to Pacquiao. ↵

↵

↵I’m betting Pac/Hatton struggles to do half a mill in PPV numbers, which isn’t chump change by any means. But it will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Pacquiao is not in Floyd’s league as an A-side draw. Pacquiao also brings the Filipino television market, of course, but there’s a reason that he fights right here in the U.S. and not the Philippines. Because this is where the serious money’s at. ↵

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↵Bob Arum knows all of this, of course. He knows that Floyd/Pacquiao is far and away the most lucrative fight that he could make for his fighter right now, and that the other options he’s putting out there -- Pacquiao/Cotto, Pacquiao/Mosley -- are small potatoes in comparison. The Bobfather is as savvy a boxing guy as you’re going to come across in the game. But first and foremost, he’s a bid-ness man, and right now he’s on the short end of a potentially massive deal with a very big fish. And what else do you do in such a situation besides let that big fish know that there are other big fish in the sea? ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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