Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has left the door open for Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown, but advised media today (July 17) that he will now begin looking at other match options for the Filipino champion.
Arum conducted his much-anticipated stream press conference earlier this morning, where he verified that Floyd Mayweather did not respond to his deadline to have the fight signed by midnight on July 16. In addition, Arum revealed that the negotiations this time were handled through HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg and Mayweather advisor Al Haymon.
Arum also stated that at no time during the recent talks did he speak directly with Floyd Mayweather or Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe.
“About two months ago, a few days after the Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight, I got a call from Ross Greenburg, the president of HBO sports, who asked me frankly whether myself or Manny Pacquiao wanted to do the fight against Floyd Mayweather,” Arum explained. “I assured him that yes, I had talked to Manny, and that was the case. And, from there, I had a couple of conversations with Ross, and I laid out all of the terms that would be acceptable to our side and I also informed him about the concession that Manny had made about the drug-testing. He got back to me in a couple of weeks, and told me that he had had discussions with Al Haymon, representing Floyd Mayweather, and that everything looked good, and we were nearing a resolution.”
Arum inital positive outlook reflects comments he was hearing in the press from Golden Boy Promotions, who have represented Mayweather in his last two fights. Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya stated the fight was a “done deal,” but recanted last month after claiming that he had been misquoted.
Because Top Rank has locked in Pacquiao for November 13, Bob Arum made it clear to Greenburg a contract signing would be needed soon so at least three months of fight promotion could be completed.
A couple of weeks ago, I told him [Ross Greenburg] that, ‘Look, I wanted to do this fight very badly, and so did Manny, but at a particular point in time, we’d have to move on,'”Arum detailed. “I told Ross that this Friday was our deadline for the end of the exclusivity period, and I tell you that next week, we will talk to the Cotto camp and the Margarito camp regarding a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Ross was committed to make the fight happen, and, as head of HBO sports, I figured that the best chance to make the fight happen was to do everything through Ross — almost like he was the mediator. And I still believe that it was the right way to go. It obviously didn’t work out, not because Ross didn’t do a good job. He did, in talking to myself and to Al Haymon. But obviously, the problem was that Floyd, for whatever reason; and I’m sure that he had some valid reasons…didn’t want to commit.”
Arum disclosed that the contract sent to Mayweather’s team included provisions for Olympic style drug testing up to 14 days before the fight, a compromise from Mayweather’s side that Pacquiao initially rejected earlier this year. The purse split, which was 50-50 earlier this year and rumored to be a snag point now due to Mayweather wanting 60-40, was not disclosed at the press conference.
Arum will begin negotiations with Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito to fight Manny Pacquiao on the November 13 date. The talks are expected to be completed within 10 days. The Cotto bout would be a junior middleweight rematch to their November 2009 encounter, which saw Pacquiao dominate and TKO Cotto in the 12th round. Margarito is not licensed in the U.S. due to being caught with loaded gloves in January 2009, ensuring that fight would have to take place in Mexico .
Even so, Arum advised that the Mayweather fight is not “dead;” if Mayweather’s team contacts him before either the Cotto or Margarito fight are finalized, Arum confirmed he would consider giving the fight top priority again.
“People have asked me if this means that the negotiations for a Floyd Mayweather fight are dead. And even though Mayweather hasn’t responded by the deadline, my answer is a simple one. It’s dead when we conclude a deal with an opponent for Manny’s fight in November,” Arum said. “And then, we’re contractually bound to do that fight, and we would look hopefully to do a fight with Floyd next year,” said Arum. “But if, in the interim, while this was going on, Floyd suddenly emerged and said ‘Yes,’ he wanted to do the fight, then there would be nothing opposed to getting together and doing the fight.”
Some have speculated that Mayweather reluctance stems from trainer Roger Mayweather’s August 2 court date for allegedly assaulting female boxer Melissa St. Vil last year. A conviction would likely ensure jail time and prevent Roger from manning his nephew’s corner for a November fight.
However, until Floyd Mayweather comments any theories are pure speculation, and at press time there has been no word from Golden Boy or Mayweather.
One can’t help but wonder if Arum’s press conference was really necessary in light of the fact no real progress has been made. We’ve always known Bob Arum would be holding Cotto and Margarito in the wings if the Mayweather fight fell through. And even after this supposed “deadline,” Arum admits that the door is still open to make the fight.
At this point, the boxing world would be best served to move on from covering this ongoing circus until both sides decide they are ready to fight. Until then, the focus should be on fights we can confirm are happening.