Why Bob Arum Isn't the Villain in the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Saga

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2013

You shouldn't blame the guy on the right...
You shouldn't blame the guy on the right...Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Blame Bob. That’s what us fight fans say. After all, somebody has to be at fault for not making the most lucrative and historically significant fight of a generation, right?


It’s overly simplistic to cast Bob Arum as the villain in this fiasco. In fact, the primary aim of anger and angst should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the two fighters who never agreed to any set of terms laid out before them.

If you want to blame somebody for never seeing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao square off against each other in their primes, blame Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. 

Let’s start with Mayweather, the self-professed greatest fighter…um…ever. Obviously, he couldn’t be bothered with solidifying his claim by facing his greatest rival for the most amount of money fathomable, right?


According to Deadspin, Arum told ESPN 1100 in Las Vegas that “Money” Mayweather turned down a slew of cash to face Pacquiao in 2012:

We had an offer, a legitimate offer on the table for 180 million dollars and people due to fight and had a big upside of 180 for the two fight camps. That's when he said 55-45 which would've given Mayweather 100 million. (Pacquiao) would've ended up with 80 million and that's still a lot of money right? But Mayweather will not fight him.

Maybe Arum was lying. After all, this is the man famously quoted for saying: “Yesterday I was lying. Today, I’m telling the truth.”

But maybe he was telling the truth. After all, Mayweather-Pacquiao would have easily been the most lucrative fight in the history of the sport.

And if he wasn’t telling the truth, it couldn’t have been too far off from it.

Mayweather hates Bob Arum. Or at least, he certainly did not enjoy his working relationship with the promoter who helped guide him from budding talent to superstar. The two split after years of feuding and haven’t worked together since Mayweather’s win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.

From Yahoo! Sports:

Mayweather split with Arum following several years of feuding. Arum was outraged when Mayweather spoke of being paid “slave wages,” and the two fell out further when they clashed about how he should be promoted, whether he should fight on pay-per-view and his refusal to take on Antonio Margarito.

It’s quite possible Mayweather simply let his poor relationship with Arum get in the way of the biggest bout in history. But is that Arum’s fault?

No way. That’s on Floyd.

And that doesn’t absolve Manny Pacquiao of anything. Regardless of what eventually happened to the brilliant southpaw in the last few years of his Hall of Fame career, the Filipino was clearly the best threat to Mayweather during his peak years.

In fact, after Mayweather needlessly paused his boxing career in 2007, Pacquiao resoundingly proved to be the best fighter in the sport. He absolutely demolished Oscar De La Hoya in just eight rounds, and he obliterated Ricky Hatton in less than six minutes.

Both wins were miles better than what Mayweather did against the very same opposition just one year before.

But Pacquiao could never agree with Mayweather’s PED testing requests, and when the undefeated American took to lambasting him in the press for it, Pacquiao decided to duke it out with him in court rather than the inside the ring.

So basically, instead of ever settling on bout terms with Mayweather, Pacquiao agreed to keep-your-mouth-shut-about-me terms in court instead.

The rest, of course, is history, and you probably don’t need a recap of all the times we thought they might fight but never did. Simply put, they never fought, and they probably never will.

But you can’t blame Bob Arum for that.  Promoters promote, and fighters fight. If Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao really had wanted to face each other in the ring at their best, then they would have.

It was their jobs to make the fight. It was their jobs to tell their promoters, managers, hangers-on, WHOEVER, that they were going to fight each other and that was that.

But they never did that, and so Arum did for Pacquiao exactly what he was supposed to do: He promoted him.

So if you want to blame Bob Arum for something, blame him for doing his job.