The Super Bowl came and went without any mention, let alone grand announcement, of a finalized deal between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao for the long-awaited mega fight to finally take place.
Surprisingly, a lot of people were convinced that Mayweather-Pacquiao would use the large mainstream attention of the Super Bowl to kick off the promotion and capitalize off of America’s most celebrated and most watched television event of the year.
If you believed ShowTime Sports exec Stephen Espinoza, then you knew there would be no announcement this past weekend. However, many have reported that Mayweather-Pacquiao is close to finalized while some have even suggested the fight would be announced this week.
Everyone completely dumped on TMZ Sports for jumping the gun on Friday night when they reported a deal had been reached, but it was quickly debunked.
So, where are we? How close are we to a deal being reached? And when will we get a definitive answer?
Victor Salazar published a timeline type piece a few days ago and really captured the magnitude of where we are and how far we’ve come, but it also made me aware of how far we have left to go.
After the meeting in Miami last week. There was a new-found optimism that spread through the boxing world, and even Top Rank’s Bob Arum seemed to have a different feeling towards the fight becoming a reality and his opinions on Mayweather softened.
Thaboxingvoice.com spoke with Arum today and it seems like the novelty of Mayweather and Pacquiao’s face to face is wearing thin and that the reality of negotiations are as complicated as they’ve always been.
“We’re just trying to get it done,” Arum told Nestor Gibbs of Thaboxingvoice.com. “There’re issues, and we’re trying to get them solved, but it’s very hard. We can’t give a running dialog in the middle of things; that’s just not appropriate.”
The general feeling last week was that Mayweather and Pacquiao finally had a genuine understanding of one another and that the fighters were on board. The speculation then fell on the shoulders of the networks and most assumed that the final piece was an agreement between HBO and ShowTime, but that doesn’t appear to be the issue, after all.
The sticking point a few weeks ago was rebroadcasting rights. There were still many issues, both big and small, but the rebroadcasting rights were the primary focus in the media. Arum made it clear that it is no longer the case and that anyone suggesting otherwise is just creating smoke and mirrors in an effort to take away from the real issues.
“No, no, no, that’s all bullshit,” Arum said in response to the assumption that rebroadcasting rights were holding up the fight.
In fact, Arum is convinced that the networks are ready to pull the trigger and as far as Arum is concerned the issue remains with the fighters themselves.
Arum would not speculate whether Mayweather Jr. was holding up the negotiations. But I doubt he feels Pacquiao is the problem, so you have to assume that he is still concerned whether or not Mayweather Jr. is serious about making the fight.
Last week, Arum spoke on Al Haymon and discussed his feelings with ESPN’s Dan Rafael. He believes that Haymon is on board and that they are working well together. And, after the Miami meeting, Arum said that he believed in Mayweather’s intentions to make the fight happen.
However, Arum made it clear that his comments weren’t based on his firsthand knowledge, and they were a reflection of what he was being told by others.
“That’s what my people told me, that they talked to him, and they believe he wanted the fight. So, I was just repeating what I was told.”
It’s clear that things haven’t changed as much as we were led to believe. A week ago and Arum is still working towards making the fight, despite some reports that he has relieved himself from the negotiations in order to make things easier.
“I’m the one that’s handling the Top Rank part of the negotiations. The idea that I step aside is ludicrous, who else are they going to talk to?”
Arum isn’t completely discouraged, and he wouldn’t say so if he was because he has realized that the only way to make the fight a reality is to endure. These negations have proved to be a marathon, a grind, and he won’t allow his frustrations to ruin the potential deal.
Still, Arum admits that this fight is unchartered territory and even his experience in the fight game isn’t enough to forecast how this all turns out. Stay tuned.