By Rudy Mondragon
I have been receiving a lot of messages and reading a lot of posts about Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally setting a day to fight in the fall of 2014. The primary source for much of the Mayweather vs Pacquiao hype is the Youtube Boxing channel, 78Sports TV. The Youtube channel garnered reliability based on it’s announcement of Floyd fighting Guerrero and Canelo before these matches became official in 2013. Well, just this week, both Floyd and Pacquiao’s camp have issued statements saying these are all lies. Who are we to believe?
For this fight to happen, a couple of different things need to be played out first. Above everything else, the big ego’s of both camps need to be checked. This has been a problem in the past as both camps demand more money and/or control in dictating contracts. Both are great, I get that. But let’s recall when Floyd offered Manny Pacquiao $40 million for a fight and Pacquiao demanded a 50/50 split. When one comes with an offer, it simply is not good enough because it is coming from the opponent. Both camps like to call the shots and so they refuse to take the back seat to each other. I suggest these two drive a tandem bike or figure a way to be equals for the sake of the fight. Perfect worlds don’t exist though…
Top Rank has got to go! That’s my number two. As long as Bob Arum is around, Manny will not have the freedom to explore a fight with Mayweather. Manny is 35 years of age and he is not a young 35 year old (he’s been in many wars and doesn’t live the healthiest lifestyle). This means he has to make a difficult decision if he indeed wants this mega-fight to happen. Sadly, it won’t. This just won’t happen because of the debt Manny owes Bob Arum and Top Rank. With all the accusations of owing millions of dollars in taxes, it appears that Bob Arum has bailed him out recently. This alone makes a departure from Top Rank difficult as Manny is in too deep with the rat of boxing promotions. Manny is highly dependent of Top Rank, forcing him to stay put.
Next, it’s quite simple. By not leaving Top Rank, Manny is limited to HBO PPV fights. Floyd has a six fight contract with ShowTime. He also refuses to do business with Bob Arum and Mayweather has a strong partnership with Golden Boy Promotions. It is not rocket science, for this fight to happen, Top Rank needs to be out of the picture. But of course, it is easier said than done. Boxing politics as usual.
All we know at this point is that Manny’s next opponent for his April fight will be announced sometime next week. As of now, his Top Rank fighter options are a rematch with Timothy Bradley or a fight against Ruslan Provodnikov. My guess, he will be in a rematch with Bradley. He is a softer puncher who is beatable under the right circumstances. Ruslan is trained by Freddie Roach and is too dangerous for Manny. Floyd on the other hand, is most likely going to fight Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana in May. For most fans, this sets the stage (given both fighters win) for a September mega-fight showdown. Not quite. Sorry to burst your bubble, but lets be real here. I am not saying it won’t happen. I am just saying it won’t happen in 2014.
The mega-fight that we want to see will happen after 2015, when Top Rank no longer needs Manny Pacquiao to be their cash cow. Once they drain every ounce of skill and energy out of Manny, Top Rank will finally be ready to make this fight happen. And it will sell, no doubt about that! If Sylvester Stallone could market and sell Rocky V and Rocky Balboa, there is no doubt in my mind that a 2015 September fight could be marketed and break records. However, at that point Floyd Mayweather might have no interest for this fight. At that point, two trains will have left the station; Floyd Mayweather heading north and Top Rank/Bob Arum heading south, leaving Manny Pacquiao with empty bags.