News Column

Another Round for Mayweather-Pacquiao?

July 5, 2012

Middle East peace is not at hand. The Korean peninsula remains cleaved. A chasm separates Congress.

But Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are so tired of fighting that they might just agree to fight.

Sure, it takes two, but Pacquiao's promoter said Tuesday that he thinks 2013 will bring us the only fight that matters, four years late but better than never.

"It sounds like both guys are exhausted by the negotiations," Bob Arum said, as he visited Fortune Gym to watch Nonito Donaire and Jeffrey Mathebula work out before their super-bantamweight championship match at The Home Depot Center on Saturday.

"They want to make the fight. They realize their careers are coming to an end. I think it's going to be next year. I think the odds are very, very good."

For that to happen, an entire tidal wave has to rush under the bridge.

Mayweather has to get off his demand that he get 70 percent of revenue.

He must actually listen to Pacquiao and acknowledge that Manny has agreed to all drug testing demands.

And he has to get past his current staycation in the Clark County correctional facility.

Pacquiao, for his part, has to answer questions that were obscured by the widely ridiculed Tim Bradley decision last month.

Beyond all that, the fight rests on an outbreak of detente between Arum's Top Rank and Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.

Maybe they can pretend it's interleague play.

Pacquiao informed Arum at a recent dinner in Los Angeles that he wanted Mayweather, but then he always has.

What gives Arum the idea that Mayweather is ready to remove all the barricades?

"There seem to be stirrings from the other side," said Arum, who declined to elaborate.

Pacquiao is 33, Mayweather 35. No one doubts they dictate the sport. But Mayweather had to actually work to beat Miguel Cotto, and Pacquiao's motion was not perpetual against Bradley.

Amid the outrage over Bradley's victory, quieter voices pointed out that the fight seemed relatively close when you turned down HBO's announcers and watched it punch-for-punch.

Judges have served up clunkers before, as we all know, but it's important to remember that each round is its own entity. If Pacquiao won one round decisively, you still start from zero in the next round.

"It's not baseball, not like the Yankees getting four in the first and the Indians getting one in the first," said Cameron Dunkin, manager for Donaire and Bradley. "It's not 4-1. It's 1-1."

The point is that Pacquiao and Mayweather will need belly putters if they wait much longer.

Bradley was so sure he would beat Pacquiao -- or maybe he was just entertaining us -- that he printed tickets to a mythical rematch on Nov. 10. That date still exists and so does that possibility.

"Manny and I talked and I couldn't get any indication from him," Arum said. "I couldn't tell one way or the other. It isn't a situation where he wants to fight Bradley because of the decision. He didn't say a word about the decision. I'm the guy who talked about it, and I'm not doing the fighting."

Bradley hurt his ankle in the fight and has not resumed training. If the rematch does not work, Arum said Pacquiao probably would meet Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time, although trainer Freddie Roach would vote otherwise.

"Or maybe Cotto," Arum said, "although that's unlikely."

Mayweather was supposed to be on course to fight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, but he has complained that he can't stay fit in prison because of the inadequate food and tap water. "It's jail," replied Lisa Luzaich, the prosecutor. "Where did he think he was going? The Four Seasons."

The request for house arrest was denied. Mayweather's 90-day sentence ends in September, and he prefers to fight only once a year anyway.

If Top Rank, Golden Boy and Mayweather finally sign something, maybe it would not be so hard to imagine other conciliatory fights. All of Mexico, and much of the U.S., wants to see Alvarez fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but Alvarez is a Golden Boy fighter and Chavez is Top Rank.

The same roadblock keeps Bradley (Top Rank) from meeting Amir Khan (Golden Boy), or Donaire from fighting Abner Mares.

If those "stirrings" from the Mayweather people really do lead to what would be the richest fight in boxing history and the most riveting promotion since Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns, it will prove that Boxing Logic really exists.

Have stranger things happened?

"Well, Manny is in Israel right now on vacation, on the Sea of Galilee as we speak," Arum said. "I told him only one guy could walk on water. And it wasn't him."

At this point boxing fans will take half a loaf and a fish.



Source: Copyright The Orange County Register 2012


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