With Friday night’s relative bombshell from the mouth of Floyd Mayweather himself that he is ready to face Manny Pacquiao on May 2, the boxing world turned upside down. There is one rather interesting problem however. If anyone actually bothers to look around, and in the boxing industry it is imperative, one would see not only the proposed Pacquiao Mayweather fight, but the elephant in the room, the tentatively scheduled Miguel Cotto Saul Canelo Alvarez fight likewise scheduled for May 2.
Almost two days have passed, and interest in the Pacquiao Mayweather fight is escalating. When one looks at the massive web traffic related to the Showtime interview one realizes that rather than waning, interest is actually reaching a fevered pitch. News outlets are cranking out thoughts and opinions not only about the now viral Showtime interview, but obsessing about Mayweather’s sincerity of lack thereof. Fans want so badly to believe that the fight is going to happen that they will grasp at any straw they can get their hands on.
For a long time now Alvarez, a popular Mexican fighter, has wanted take back the Cinco de Mayo date Mayweather co-opted after the retirement of earlier pay-per-view king Oscar de la Hoya. A prospective Alvarez Cotto match has been quietly negotiated behind the scenes since Cotto beat the once-heralded pound-for-pounder Sergio Martinez for the linear middleweight championship of the world. In terms of prospective profits, the only fight bigger might be the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
While the prospective Pacquiao-Mayweather verses Cotto-Alvarez fight presents like an elephant in the room, the problem looks more like a dinosaur when you look to the fighters themselves for compromise. Both Mayweather and Alvarez say the Cinco de Mayo date is absolutely, without equivocation, non-negotiable. Alvarez recently jumped ship from Showtime to HBO and indicated that he wanted only big fights. HBO so promised and the matchup with Cotto, another HBO fighter, was put in the pipeline. The soap-opera aspects of Alvarez’ demands ramp up as Mayweather is a Showtime fighter who always fights on May 2. Cinco de Mayo has become his big money day.
A few years back, Mayweather signed a six fight contract to fight exclusively on Showtime. Now, with Alvarez at HBO, the same network as Pacquiao, Alvarez is eager to hold HBO to its word and accommodate his demands. Alvarez has made it known to his promoter, Oscar de la Hoya, that if the May 2 date is not secured he will be a very unhappy client. De la Hoya admits to being contractually obligated to serving Alvarez’ demands, so it would appear that a showdown of some sort is imminent.
With Mayweather announcing that he wants the Pacquiao fight to be held May 2 on Showtime, it becomes apparent that something has to give. Bob Arum is on record stating that he thinks that the two premium cable giants can work details out in similar fashion to what they did with the highly anticipated Tyson verses Lewis fight. Both networks arranged a deal where they could share in the spoils. Arum has lately been working with CBS President Les Moonves to get the ball rolling and see what can be done.
The fact of the matter is that the Pacquiao Mayweather and Cotto Alvarez fights can not and will not take place on the same evening. There is simply too much money on the table for that. With their top four pay-per-view fighters now on a collision-course, something has to give. If Bob Arum is correct and Showtime and HBO are keen to work things out for a Pacquiao-Mayweather matchup, they may find addressing the conflicting demands of their two most intransigent fighters somewhat problematic.
Because money does indeed talk, right-minded people assume that a deal of some sort can be hashed out. While it does indeed look like the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight is closer to becoming a reality, the Cotto verses Alvarez elephant in the room will need some special attention.
Commentary By Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: Oliver Petalver / TheDailySportsHerald Flicker License