Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao is the one matchup boxing fans desperately want to see, and the responsibility now falls to Mayweather to make this fight happen.
Pacquiao will fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time on December 8, while Mayweather does not currently have a bout scheduled.
The Filipino fighter is coming off a controversial defeat to Timothy Bradley, in which he lost via a decision despite landing significantly more punches than his opponent. He knows that Mayweather’s 43-0-0 career record has earned him the right to dictate negotiations, and has accepted this.
Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times reports that Pacquiao would gladly accept a 55-45 split of the purse in favor of Mayweather. Pugmire also cites Pac-Man’s publicist Fred Sternburg quoting his client as saying, “He can be introduced first, have top billing … I don’t care. I just want to get him in the ring.”
The Mayweather camp’s response to this is emblematic of the braggadocio that has characterized its attitudes during the failed attempts to make this fight happen.
Pugmire quotes Leonard Ellerbe, an advisor to Mayweather, saying, “Manny Pacquiao can’t tell Floyd Mayweather [expletive].” Ellerbe also said, “If and when the fight takes place, Floyd will dictate the terms,” and that “no one cares about” Pacquiao’s fight with Marquez, according to Pugmire’s report.
If Ellerbe is speaking about Pacquiao vs. Marquez in relation to the hype that would presumably surround a bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao, he is completely right about nobody caring.
But his standoffish response to Pacquiao saying he is willing to let Mayweather take the majority of the prize money will only serve to detract from negotiations to make this happen.
Due to the bad blood that has been bred during failed attempts to make this fight happen, it is reasonable for Ellerbe and Mayweather’s camp not to react kindly to Pacquiao’s comments. However, Ellerbe’s remarks show no indication that Mayweather has any intention of getting in the ring with Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is not just another opponent for Mayweather. These are the two greatest boxers of their generation, and both must fight each other to validate their careers. Neither can be considered a legitimately great champion if he continually skirts chances to go against his biggest competitor.
At this point, Pacquiao’s comments reflect that he understands this, while the remarks from Ellerbe suggest that Mayweather and his representation are still deluding themselves.
For negotiations to move forward, Mayweather and his advisors need to realize that this fight must happen soon.