Arum, Pacquiao

Jul 20, 2010 7:07 AM

Promoter may fear Manny’s retirement

Excuse me for being cynical, but I don’t buy it that Floyd Mayweather Jr. "missed the deadline" because he doesn’t want to fight Manny Pacquiao (pictured).

I know a lot about missing deadlines.

I also know that the best way to make sure Mayweather doesn’t commit to fighting Pacquiao in November is to give him a "deadline." The kid doesn’t like to be dictated to, especially by someone like Bob Arum.

Arum knows that, too. So why did he issue a "deadline" and then give Floyd another week to sign on for a Nov. 13 fight?

Many of the cynical think that it is Arum who doesn’t want the fight. I agree, but not for the usual reasons. It is not because Arum wants to go on and have Pacquiao fight one of his house fighters, the completely undeserving Antonio Margacheato or Miguel (already beaten up by the Pac Man) Cotto. Oh, of course he wants that fight in November. It’s the safe way to go for Top Rank.

I think the "deadline" gimmick was a publicity stunt, but not for the public. I think it was for Pacquiao’s benefit. I think it was Arum saying to his cash cow, "Look, I’ve done everything possible to make this match but Floyd doesn’t want to fight you, at least not now."

The wily promoter came up with some speculation that Mayweather is delaying the most important fight now possibly because he is afraid he would be without his uncle and trainer, Roger, who faces real prison time on an assault charge that goes to trial next month. Others speculate that Mayweather doesn’t want to fight again this year for tax purposes.

 

I don’t buy either. Floyd Jr. doesn’t need Uncle Roger – he virtually trains himself and besides, Floyd Sr., his original trainer, is back with him. Taxes are inevitable no matter what calendar year he fights Pacquiao.

No, I think it is Arum who doesn’t want the big fight just yet. Here’s why: win or lose, it probably will be Pacquiao’s farewell to boxing.

The Filipino congress is waiting for him to solve his country’s problems. Arum is just trying to squeeze another fight or two out of the cash teats. What if there’s a lucky punch by one of his other guys?

That would mean a rematch, of course.

Margacheato or a second chance at knocking out Cotto probably means little to Pacquiao. He might prefer to begin his legislating rather than go on with his hall of fame career without Mayweather’s assistance.

For whatever reason Mayweather is reluctant to fight Pacquiao this year, you can bet it’s not because he’s afraid of his only rival for pound-for-pound supremacy. Floyd is the slight favorite in the future book, but I think he figures to be at least the 8-5 choice if and when the fight happens.

In no way do I buy his claim of being the greatest fighter in history.

I think he would have been beaten not only by Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns and possibly Julio Cesar Chavez the Original, but also by Aaron Pryor. On the other hand, I think Pretty Boy would have outboxed one of my all-time favorites, Pernell Whitaker, so you know I’m not a hater.

I think Arum and his advisors also believe that Mayweather should beat Pacquiao (which doesn’t mean I don’t want to see the fight, of course).

But if the bout happened this year, there would be no more Pacquiao fights to enrich Arum’s pockets. At least, with the gimmicky help of his "deadline," Arum can report back to his fighter that, well, he tried everything and let’s keep sharp against one of my other guys and just in case lightning strikes, well, we can always get you a rematch.

There are better matches out there than Margacheato or Cotto II. But none are compelling, certainly not Timothy Bradley, who showed little against Carlos Abregu, a perfect slow-moving foil. Andre Berto springs to mind, but he might be a better fit with Mayweather. Paul Williams is too tall for either Mayweather or Pacquiao and, last time I looked, Sugar Ray Leonard was still retired.

Meanwhile, I’m already past my deadline, so goodbye for now.

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