Word out of Las Vegas is that Bob Arum appears to be obstructing the long-awaited Pacquiao Mayweather fight. Arum, Pacquiao’s long-time promoter and Mayweather agitator, is floating the idea that the fight take place in either April or June of 2015 instead of on Mayweather’s choice of Cinco de Mayo weekend. Mayweather was recently interviewed at a Showtime boxing card declaring that he was up for the fight but insisted that it take place on May 2 of next year.
Insiders are suggesting that this is a bit of a power-play as the long time Top Rank promoter and Mayweather camps have been sparring in the press for the many years since Mayweather dumped Arum’s Top Rank promotional company in favor of Golden Boy. The problem may in fact be power-play but it appears to have more to do with the fact that the Canelo Alvarez Miguel Cotto fight is tentatively scheduled for the same Cinco de Mayo weekend. Alvarez has made it clear that he wants that weekend and added that the date was non-negotiable. If there is a power-play at work it would appear to be between Alvarez and Mayweather with Top Rank doing HBO’s bidding.
Alvarez is an HBO-contracted fighter while Mayweather is with Showtime. There is a great deal of money at stake and if Arum can get Mayweather to move off his May 2 demand then both fights can go off with both networks making sizable profits without leaving money on the table. The problem for Arum is that in so pursuing he lays himself open to the accusation that he is obstructing the Pacquiao Mayweather fight, a fight most fans would argue should take precedence over an Alvarez Cotto fight.
In the now famous Showtime interview Mayweather put the blame for the Pacquiao fight not taking place squarely on his former promoter’s shoulders. In a December 15 tweet Mayweather again insisted that fight fans have been misled and that “Bob Arum is in the way.”
Arum’s latest maneuver appears, at least on surface, to give credence to Mayweather’s objections. Money May has for years contended that Arum has never been keen to see his personal money-making machine Manny Pacquiao fight him for fear that he would be embarrassed and lose his pay-per-view earning power.
To further politicize and complicate negotiations Arum suggested that Mayweather, an American, has been disrespectful of Mexican fight fans for wanting to keep a Mexican holiday for selfish purposes. This argument, in the eyes of observers, is calculated to drive a wedge between high paying Mexican fans celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the Mayweather camp. If the Top Rank promoter can create enough pressure from Mexican fight fans, as the logic goes, Mayweather may be forced to move off the May 2 date.
The ball is now in the Mayweather court to address the issue but Mayweather has, to date, indicated no willingness to accommodate the proposed change. Fight fans have been waiting a long time for the fight to materialize, and now with Arum apparently obstructing the Pacquiao Mayweather fight, all bets may be off. As it turns out, as many are intimating, Mayweather may have been right all along.
Commentary By Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: Trooper One Flickr License