The inability of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao to step in the ring has certainly been a black eye in the sport of boxing. Both sides are at fault to a certain extent, but the blame has been widely skewed towards the Mayweather camp. For years Pacquiao’s people informed the public, Mayweather is always making up new excuses. First it was the random drug testing, then the money split, then the PPV shares and so on. Due to Bob Arum and Pacquiao’s people constant interaction with writers, their quotes and side of the story are frequently headlined through various media outlets, and then get presented to the general public. Here’s a perfect example how Arum’s quotes headline an ESPN show, which gives the impression that Mayweather is scared, and avoiding the fight. Arum’s quotes on ESPN. Here’s another example of Pacquiao implying Mayweather is avoiding the fight in a Foot Locker commercial, which amounted to nearly four million views. Manny Pacquiao’s Foot Locker commercial.
Since Mayweather has subdued his interaction with the media in dealing with the Pacquiao negotiations for the past several years, people began believing he is indeed intimidated by Pacquiao. It also doesn’t help his manager, Al Haymon, who plays a major role in the negotiation process, remains an unknown figure to the mainstream audience due to his refusal to do interviews. This amounts to the perfect recipe for a one sided story to be spread amongst the boxing landscape.
Mayweather has recently broken his quiet demeanor on the Pacquiao situation and told Fighthype.com, “They [Pacquiao’s people] have been lying to the critics, all the websites, the blogs, social media and everyone for years.” Mayweather also explained why he’s been relatively silent on the issue. He stated, “We never came out in public and spoke about the fight because a lot of times, I say certain things, but Manny Pacquiao, he doesn’t really understand when I’m speaking slang. When I do say certain things, it’s obvious whatever I’m saying gets under his camp’s skin, and then the next thing you know, I’m hit with a lawsuit for defamation of character just because I voiced my opinion or I was having fun talking trash. I think that’s a coward move.”
Mayweather has also went live on Showtime and expressed he’s been interested in fighting Pacquiao for years, and Arum has been lying to the public on the reason why the fight hasn’t happened yet.
It’s obvious both sides have their side of the story, but here’s a timeline on the downfalls of the negotiations to clear matters up.
Random Drug Testing 2009
According to ESPN’s Brian Kenny, he informed the public on why the mega fight didn’t occur. He explained everything was agreed upon, until Mayweather demanded random drug testing. Mayweather would accept testing up to 14 days prior to the fight, and Pacquiao would only accept testing three times but from 24 days until the fight itself, and right after the match. After a stalemate Arum waived off the fight due to the additional random drug testing clause, and Pacquiao went on to fight Joshua Clottey.
Mayweather received heavy criticism from the media for demanding random drug testing, which is becoming the norm in today’s world of boxing, and is currently helping to clean out the sport. Fighters such as Lamont Peterson and Andre Berto have been caught using illegal substances, due to the fact they had to undergo more stringent testing.
Mayweather at the time believed Pacquiao was on performance enhancing drugs due to his rapid rise in weight classes and increase in power that Pacquiao was experiencing around the age of 30. Mayweather was not the only one who was suspicious, boxing pundit Teddy Atlas, and fighters such as Paulie Malignaggi, Oscar De La Hoya, and Kermit Cintron along with other people expressed a similar opinion.
Teddy Atlas explained on ESPN, he is not saying Pacquiao is on PEDs, but stated the common man is thinking why would anyone turn down 30 million dollars just because they had to undergo random testing.
In an interview with Round1Mag.com, Paulie Malignaggi explained he believed Pacquiao was on PEDs due to his power surge and refusal to undergo random testing.
Kermit Cintron explained Pacquiao is definitely on something that’s not showing up in the testing procedures. According to the description box, Cintron stated this on ktfb860.com on Ring talk Radio.
Oscar De La Hoya expressed that now he has to wonder about Pacquiao. Why doesn’t he want to undergo random testing? Why is it such a big deal?
Freddie Roach explained to ESPN why Pacquiao didn’t accept more stringent testing up to 14 days before the fight. He stated, “The thing is everyone reacts differently by taking blood. He just doesn’t feel right for about three days. We are willing to work with commission and their rules. There’s no ounce of evidence that Pacquiao ever took steroids.”
Pacquiao’s camp apparently became infuriated by these accusations and filed a lawsuit against Mayweather for defamation of character.
According to the L.A. Times, Mayweather’s people issued a statement that read, “We wish to make it clear that they never intended to claim that Manny Pacquiao has used or is using any performance-enhancing drugs. Nor are they aware of any evidence Manny Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs. Manny Pacquiao is a great champion and no one should construe any of our prior remarks as claiming that Manny Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs.”
The article was written in 2012, and it dealt with a case going back to 2009. They also reportedly reached a money settlement.
Testing Demands went from 14 days prior to the fight, to the day of the fight.
According to BBC Sport , in 2010, Pacquiao accepted the terms of having to undergo more stringent testing 14 days before the bout. When negotiations took place, Mayweather now insisted the fight would only happen if testing occurs up to the day of the fight.
People began criticizing Mayweather for changing his demands, and finding excuses not to fight Pacquiao. What people failed to realize is the fact USADA was in charge of the testing procedures. It doesn’t matter what Pacquiao or Mayweather says, if USADA is involved in the fight, testing will be issued up to the day of the bout. USADA is not part of the Nevada Commission, or Mayweather or Pacquiao’s camp, they are their own organization with their own regulations.
This is why the 14 day deal was never going to come into fruition. The negotiation process regarding random drug testing must have been in early works in 2009.
The Money Split and PPV Revenue
On the program Costas Tonight aired on NBC Sports, Mayweather explained to Bob Costas what happened while negotiating with Pacquiao’s team regarding the money split, and PPV revenue. Mayweather explained he offered Pacquiao 40 million and was willing to wire him 20 million within 72 hours. Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser at the time, said he was in control and visited Mayweather to try and make the fight happen, but at the end Pacquiao’s people said they were going another route.
Costas explained Koncz view was yes they were offered 40 million, but they also wanted a share of the PPV revenue, which could possibly amount to 150 million dollars. Koncz reportedly offered a 50/50 split, or a 45/45 and the remaining 10 percent goes to the winner.
Mayweather replied, “How my deal is structured at this particular time in the sport boxing, I keep 100 % of the PPV revenue, so why would I give the guy 50/50 when I’m the highest paid athlete.”
Mayweather also stated in the interview, “If you have done your homework, in the past Pacquiao said, now go look at this it’s not too far back, Pacquiao said I will take less money but I didn’t want to do the drug testing, but now he’s saying I’ll do the drug testing but now I want 50/50.”
This is where the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations fell through, and the progress of making the bout came to a halt.
There were some reports of Pacquiao saying he’s willing to take the lesser amount of the revenue on ESPN, but Fighthype showed how Pacquiao’s statements conflicted to what his manager and promoter wanted. Bob Arum reportedly wanted the 50/50, and Koncz wanted a 45/45 with the winner getting the extra 10% along with PPV revenue according to Bob Costas.
Two arguments can be drawn from this situation.
The first argument is: Manny Pacquiao has earned the right to receive 50/50, or have a deal where the winner gets the larger share of the money along with PPV revenue, because he was accomplishing amazing feats at that particular time in the sport of boxing.
The counterargument is: Why would Pacquiao’s team demand more money when they already accepted the previous offer, but now want more revenue after random testing became involved in the negotiations?
(Note: Yahoo! Sports claimed to acquire a detailed contract from Golden Boy Promotions offering Top Rank a 50/50 split with random drug testing in 2009 on Mayweather’s behalf. But the article also mentions Richard Schaefer, the chief executive officer of Golden Boy Promotions, refutes ever sending a contract offering a 50/50 split).
The Cold War
The Cold War in boxing emerged. If one is not too familiar with these terms, it deals with Golden Boy and Top Rank’s refusal to do business with one another. Al Haymon who manages over 100 fighters, also took part in the Cold War by refusing to do business with Top Rank.
This not only furthered stalled the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight from happening, but also prevented many other great fights from occurring. This is the reason why Pacquiao was fighting opponents who were either on Top Rank, or who weren’t signed with Golden Boy or managed by Al Haymon.
It also explains why Mayweather only fought Golden Boy fighters, or other fighters who were managed by Al Haymon.
This is why possible matchups such as Keith Thurman vs. Timothy Bradley will never take place under these current circumstances.
Pacquiao’s Resigning with Top Rank
According to ESPN, Pacquiao’s contract with Top Rank had ended in 2014. This increased the possibility of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight to finally come into fruition, until Pacquiao decided to resign with Top Rank for a two year extension. No one can blame Pacquiao for his decision to resign with Arum, because they have had a great history together.
Pacquiao Undergoes Random Drug Testing
After Pacquiao’s knock out loss against Juan Manuel Marquez, he took a year long lay off and fought Brandon Rios in his return. What stood out in this fight was not only Pacquiao’s return, but the first time he was undergoing random drug testing. Pacquiao agreed to undergo VADA testing, which is a drug testing program such as USADA, but specifically designed for combat sports.
The irony of the situation is according to USA TODAY Sports, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, accused Juan Manuel Marquez of PED usage due to his increase in power and body size at an eccentric age. This is exactly the same reason why Mayweather and others accused Pacquiao of PED usage in the year 2009, but Pacquiao initially refused to undergo random testing, and Arum reportedly waived off the fight for that sole reason.
Nonetheless, Pacquiao had finally underwent random drug testing, and proved he is still an elite fighter in the sport of boxing while never testing positive for any illegal substance in his career.
Cold War Ended but Not Really
Recently Golden Boy and Top Rank have finally settled their dispute, but Al Haymon and Top Rank still haven’t settled theirs. This remains a large issue in the sport of boxing given the fact Haymon has over 100 fighters which includes Mayweather, and Top Rank still has Pacquiao with other stars in their stable. Even if a fighter is signed with Golden Boy, they still cannot face a Top Rank fighter if they are also under Haymon’s management.
An example would be Abner Mares who is signed with Golden Boy and Al Haymon at the same time, still has not competed against Nonito Donaire, a Top Rank fighter, even though the fight has been talked about for years.
It’s also been reported by various sources and sites, Top Rank fighters mainly fight on HBO, and Haymon fighters compete the majority of the time on Showtime. Because of this, the Showtime vs. HBO rivalry has stewed up, and since Mayweather has a contract with Showtime, this creates another obstacle in making the mega fight.
In an interview with Wall Street Journal Live, Mayweather stated Pacquiao would have to sign with Mayweather Promotions in order for the fight to happen. The media blindly listened to this statement, and said Mayweather is just making ridiculous demands, and he’s the one avoiding the fight. But if one sees what Mayweather was implying, it’s the fact that there are many political endeavors preventing the fight from happening (Cold War), and the fight would actually become a reality if Pacquiao and Mayweather were under the same stable.
Mayweather has recently informed the media, Pacquiao is his main focus. Supposedly there are small ongoing negotiations but nothing serious. Both fighters currently, and have always wanted to fight each other, but political barriers, and the demand for money have always been a huge obstacle.
There have been rumors and speculation on what’s occurring behind the scenes. This is the best attempt to at least get some of the basics down.
Mayweather and Pacquiao’s Status
Mayweather is widely recognized as the A side in the negotiations meaning he deserves the higher split. A 65/35 deal seems reasonable given the fact he is still the number one pound for pound best fighter in the world, and has more than doubled Pacquiao’s PPV buys against Chris Algieri in his last bout.
The venue of the MGM Grand may be an issue given the fact Arum has a shaky relationship with the resort. Arum once criticized the MGM Grand for having posters advertising Mayweather-Maidana while the Pacquiao-Bradley event was merely a few weeks away.
If the MGM Grand has no issues with Arum, the fight will take place there, as that has been Mayweather’s favorite venue to fight in. The reason why Mayweather prefers this venue is because it’s only a 10 minute drive from his house, and they have a great relationship together due to their history and all the revenue he’s created for the resort. The MGM Grand has been known to give Mayweather luxury gifts as a token of their appreciation. In a Fighthype video, Mayweather discusses the 1.6 million dollar Bugatti, and the 400,000-dollar watch he received from the MGM Grand.
HBO and Showtime will have to come to a compromise.
As stated before Mayweather is affiliated with Showtime, and Pacquiao works with HBO. According to Yahoo! Sports, Arum expressed, “If the fight occurs before the end of 2015, it could be on both Showtime and HBO, as was the 2002 pay-per-view match between Mike Tyson, who was then exclusively with Showtime, and Lennox Lewis, who was exclusively with HBO.”
It’s also been said that CBS is trying to negotiate for a deal as well.
Top Rank and Al Haymon must negotiate
Top Rank and Al Haymon must be willing to do business with one another. This may be one of the biggest issues given the fact that Haymon has been known to block deals with other promotional companies. The most infamous case is Haymon choosing to not do business with Roc Nation in the two instances when they were trying to promote a bout with Peter Quillin, and Deontay Wilder.
Bob Arum has also bad-mouthed Haymon in the past, but they will have to come to an agreement in order to make the biggest fight in boxing finally happen.
USADA or VADA
Then there’s also the decision if either USADA or VADA is going to do the testing. Both are really solid anti-doping programs, but unfortunately USADA’s reputation has been tainted for some hardcore boxing fans when an article written by Gabriel Montoya on Maxboxing.com was released, criticizing the program of being mischievous. The unfortunate part is the article was misleading and contained false information. It’s hard to decipher if the false information was accidental or purposely made but it did affect some people’s perception of USADA. Here’s an article pointing out the false information in Montoya’s work. Boxing’s Criticism of USADA Finally Debunked. The good thing is the decision of undergoing either program will probably not be a big factor.
May 2nd Date
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has made it clear he wants to fight Pacquiao on May 2nd, which is the same date Canelo Alvarez desires to fight Miguel Cotto. This may seem as a big issue but Oscar De La Hoya has stated via twitter, if the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight gets made, then Alvarez will fight on another date.
The Small Things
Then there are the petty decisions such as deciding on the ring and glove size, which should be sorted out relatively quickly.
It’s not solely up to Mayweather and Pacquiao wanting to fight each other. HBO, Showtime, CBS, Top Rank, Al Haymon, and the MGM Grand, all have to come to an agreement. Whether all these forces can come to an alignment and deliver the biggest fight in boxing on May 2nd 2015 remains to be seen.