IT’S MARCH 13 OR BUST FOR MANNY
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Fri, 04 Dec 2009
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum arrived in Manila on an early morning Philippine Airlines flight from Las Vegas with one clear message for pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and that is if he doesn’t agree to a Floyd Mayweather Jr fight on March 13, the megabuck super-fight may not happen at all.
Arum and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer who effectively hammered out a deal which began with a luncheon meeting on Monday in Las Vegas are sworn to secrecy until they have a final agreement, there are clear indications that they have basically come to terms.
Arum was expected to meet with Pacquiao sometime late on Thursday since the boxing icon arrived from General Santos and went straight to continue shooting his "Wapakman" movie and didn’t have time to even pass by the hotel to meet Arum who was waiting for him along with Pacquiao’s longtime friend and sometime confidant Rex "Wakee" Salud.
Arum said that he hadn’t set an appointment to meet with Pacquiao although Pacquiao knew that the promoter was arriving on Thursday morning. Arum told us, "obviously if I didn’t believe that this thing could happen I wouldn’t be here. But I haven’t talked to Manny about various things so Manny is the principal. He has to sign off on it."
In an exclusive interview with www.insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports along with ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo at the New World Hotel in Makati, Arum said "it has to be March 13 because of this crazy congressional thing" where the original proposal of a May 1 fight date would not be feasible because of Pacquiao’s bid for a seat in the House of Representatives in the May 10 elections next year.
Arum said "we have everything in place to get it done but we’ve got to start now." Arum indicated "there is no reason why Pacquiao wouldn’t do the fight. He trains in the months of January and February and we are not doing a tour and doing only one press conference in New York at Madison Square Garden." He said Pacquiao can go into training in Baguio City or the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles.
Arum said "I am not here to interfere with his political life and March 13 doesn’t." He also made it clear that if Pacquiao "let’s Mayweather off the hook now by not agreeing to the March 13 date because of politics here in this country then we are never going to get him (Mayweather) in the ring. We will give him the excuse to say ‘yeah I’ll fight anybody but look at this Pacquiao."
Arum said "you can make an argument that because he is running for office Manny can’t fight on May 1st but you can’t logically with a straight face make an argument for March 13."
The astute promoter who promoted some of Mayweather’s fights in the past said he doesn’t think Mayweather "has anything to beat him (Pacquiao) with. I think Mayweather is a very, very good defensive fighter and I think that between Freddie (Roach) and Manny they’ll find a key to be able to attack Mayweather and once Manny can attack Mayweather I don’t think Mayweather can take his punches. I look for Manny to knock him out in six or seven rounds."
Arum cautioned against underestimating Mayweather stating that he is a "very, very good fighter. He is probably one of the best defensive fighters that I’ve seen. But I tell you that as far as Manny Pacquiao, he will destroy Mayweather and that’s why I like the fight, my matchmaker Bruce Trampler who is about to enter the Hall of Fame and Freddie Roach like the fight and that’s why Mayweather has been reluctant to do the fight" stressing that it is imperative for Pacquiao to agree.
Top photo shows Arum (L) and Pacquiao during a press conference held at the Manila Hotel in Dec., 2006.
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