LET’S BE FAIR TO FLOYD MAYWEATHER
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sun, 01 Feb 2015
Millions of Filipinos have justifiably hero-worshipped eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao for the honor he has brought our country in the world of boxing.
In the same light all of us, including myself, have on occasions been unfair to Floyd Mayweather Jr while others have bashed him calling him names and branding him a coward for not fighting Pacquiao,
Now it seems the time has come for us to step back a little and take a sober, hard look at the facts as to why the Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown has not been made as yet.
The latest word is, it's far from done and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told Peter Musgni of ABS-CBN that he figures a June date – not May 2 – would be more appropriate. That seems to me like the deal is far from being consummated and both sides need more time.
Fight fans have waited four years for this fight to happen and a couple of months more won’t matter that much.
To begin with we need to give Floyd credit for flying to Miami to watch the Heat-Milwakee Bucks game after he learned that Pacquiao who was a judge in the Miss Universe pageant and couldn’t get a flight back to Los Angeles, was going to be at the games.
Mayweather, who whether we like it or not, is the undefeated pound-for-pound king and the biggest name in boxing if we go by the money he earns, went over to Pacquiao at halftime to address some important issues.
Before he and Manny exchanged phone numbers and agreed to talk, Mayweather demanded that Pacquiao and his longtime adviser Michael Koncz as well as Bob Arum “stop lying” about a contract that was non existent.
Pacquiao, Koncz and Arum kept mouthing the same line asking Mayweather to sign the contract when there was none.
Koncz himself admitted that to us. In short, they were lying and got caught.
In fact one of the conditions laid down by Mayweather was for Koncz to talk to Ben Thompson of Fight Hype who is regarded as Floyd’s man who even has his phone number, and retract the statement that there was a contract that Mayweather hadn’t signed.
Koncz did as he was told.
I frankly don’t know whether Manny knew what was going on and whether he was merely fed the information by Koncz – and Arum - that there was a contract and so in his trusting ways, mouthed the “sign the contract” line. If you read through his supposed twitter messages you know its not Manny, its Top Rank that posts those tweets. But he hasn’t come out and said so, effectively going along with this charade.
Let’s be honest, Pacquiao has been fooled so many times in the past including individuals stealing large sums of money from him, that we can understand his being taken for a ride one more time.
But the bottom line is Mayweather went to Manny, first at halftime of the NBA game and later that evening met with Pacquiao and Koncz in Manny’s hotel suite where, according to Koncz, they spoke for over an hour.
We are not aware of what they discussed but if it took so long there must have been some substantive issues.
Both Arum and Koncz have told the whole media world that the fight is an almost done deal but if we are to believe Stephen Espinoza of Showtime, the network that has a $200 million, six fight contract with Mayweather with still two fights to go, there are quite a few unresolved issues.
Clearly, both men want the fight for different reasons, Mayweather perhaps to stop the ridiculous claims that he is scared of Pacquiao. The record certainly doesn’t support that contention although it does seem that Floyd as well as Pacquiao have lost a step and a split second in their reflexes as time has taken its toll on both men.
Koncz himself has said time and again over the past few days that he is convinced Floyd is sincere and that he wants the fight although we must concede that Pacquiao must surely want it more because of the potentially huge income from a Mayweather fight even assuming he gets the shorter end of a 60-40 split.
Mayweather has been upset – and rightly so – by what seemed like an organized media campaign to put pressure on him to fight Pacquiao with such calls from Pacquiao, “come on, sign the contract” when the undeniable fact is, there was no contract at all.
If Floyd wants the fight and went out of his way to meet with Manny and to tell him and Koncz to stop lying, it doesn’t seem like the actions of a man who is scared. Indeed, Floyd showed guts in that brief halftime exchange and the logical conclusion is, he’s not scared of Manny.
All through the past four years when several issues were raised that thwarted efforts to get the fight done, one thing was common – Mayweather didn’t want Arum involved.
In fact one or two of Pacquiao’s people tried to work behind Arum’s back by seeking to reach Mayweather directly to try and make the fight happen. But Arum is far too astute to let that happen and told us, just the other day, that if the fight materializes Top Rank, Mayweather Promotions and MP Promotions will co-promote the fight.
In a conversation with ABS-CBN’s Peter Musgni on dzMM Teleradyo on Saturday evening Arum said any talk that he was being left out of the negotiations was “silly” and that all the talks have been with Top Rank and anybody who claims Top Ranks is being left out is “insane” pointing out who will they talk to if not Pacquiao’s promoter.
I believe it was colleague Recah Trinidad who suggested that Arum step aside to, allow the fight that fans have waited for the past four years, to eventually happen. Not a bad idea if there is any way to appease Arum and make him back off in order to give the fans what they want. But this is most unlikely because Pacquiao is tied up with Top Rank until the end of 2016 and out of self respect if nothing else, Bob Arum will find it unthinkable..
Time is running out if the May 2 fight date is to be met and Arum who said he agreed to the May 2 date because that’s what Mayweather wanted has suggested that it would be better to have the fight in June so as to give them enough time to promote the biggest fight of all-time.
Koncz has said they are trying to build a relationship based on trust with Mayweather. That is going to take some doing after a litany of lies these past couple of months.
Mayweather is obviously fed up with what’s been going on but he realizes he’s been taking a beating in the public relations war and may decide to call the bluff of those who think he’s a coward and prove his worth in the ring and take one step closer to breaking the unbeaten 49-0 record of heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.
In some respects Mayweather has himself to blame because he’s not been saying anything except for a couple of messages on twitter which doesn’t amount to much.
We’ve been talking to strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza who once worked with Pacquiao and did a great job. He is not a spokesman for Floyd and makes that very clear. But he does provide good background information but most of it is off the record and we have honored our commitment to him.
Floyd doesn’t like the Philippine media who, he believes, hasn’t given him a fair shake but I think that’s more of the people on social media who have taken all sorts of shots at him and not our colleagues.
In fact in his latest tweet he took issue with a story that the fight was almost made and would be announced in a couple of days. But that story was from the American media!
We suggested to Ariza that Mayweather comes out and says what he wants to say and see how the Philippine media handles the story. I think its worth a try and have even offered to help work this out so we can clear the air and hopefully moderate his views on Philippine journalists.
Perhaps one way to bridge the gap with Floyd Mayweather is to give him respect as an unbeaten champion and a pound for pound king and one of the greatest fighters of all time and accept the fact that he showed decency and class by going to Pacquiao not once but twice and having the guts to tell them to their face to stop lying. That doesn’t sound like a coward, does it?
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