The epic fight that boxing fans and analysts have been dreaming of in the modern era is a bout between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in recent memory: Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Unfortunately, previous attempts to set the super fight in motion have failed, and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer emphasized to the media recently that it indeed won't ever materialize.
Per BoxingChannel.tv, Schaefer indicated that he did not want to work with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, whose promotion company is the one that supports Pac-Man:
The fact is I have no interest whatsoever to work with Bob Arum. We don't need Bob Arum. He has nothing left, and you know, we just don't need to deal with the guy. I have absolutely no interest in that. ... Manny Pacquiao at this point for Floyd Mayweather isn't an opponent, and I'm not going to talk about that because it's not going to happen. I have no interest to deal or talk about Bob Arum.
The inquiry about Pacquiao flustered Schaefer, as he stormed off after the subsequent question, and there is clearly some sort of bad blood between him and Arum.
In a lengthy interview with USA Today's Bob Velin published on Dec. 3, it sounded as though the 82-year-old Arum still had plenty to offer to the sport of boxing.
Arum discussed how he'd made six round trips to Asia in the past year and how boxing is popular globally, and he alluded to the UFC as a model for broadening boxing's horizons abroad.
Most important from that conversation as it pertains to the Mayweather-Pacquiao matter, though, was what Arum said this in response to whether or not the prospective tilt between two titans of the current times could happen:
Yes, if people stop posturing. Absolutely. It can happen. It's stupid if it doesn't happen. They owe it to the sport. What, is Mayweather going to fight Amir Khan? Who gives a (expletive)? We've announced we're willing to make anything happen. Now somebody has got to contact us so we can sit down and explore how it can happen.
Whether it's personal pride, egos, politics behind the scenes or a combination of those or other factors, there seems to be perpetual gridlock in getting this fight off the ground.
BoxingScene.com's Rick Reeno documented what Schaefer had to say in response to Arum's postulations in the aforementioned USA Today article:
The same day you are reading on USA Today, that he's willing to make a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. The same day - not a day later or a week later but the same day - he announces that Pacquiao is going to fight on April 12th at the MGM against one of three names. ... He's using Mayweather's name to drum up publicity of Pacquiao.
That could very well be the source of the salt between the two camps at the moment, which is sad because this is a fight that just about everyone with any stake in boxing wants to see happen.
Pacquiao revived the hype surrounding this potential bout with a dominant performance in a unanimous-decision triumph over Brandon Rios on Nov. 24. Pacquiao had lost his previous two fights, the latter defeat coming on a knockout to archrival Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8, 2012.
Back in August, Money May (45-0) said Pacquiao (55-5-2) had blown his chance to face him in the past and implied that Pac-Man was no longer a viable opponent due to his recent form, per MLive.com's David Mayo.
However, Mayweather's tone seemed to change recently when he at least acknowledged the possibility of facing Pacquiao next in an interview with MMAArtMartial.com's Chris Robinson.
Yahoo! Sports' David King transcribed the key quote:
My focus is May 3rd. I don't know who my opponent will be. If it's Pacquiao, it's Pacquiao. If it's Amir Khan, it's Amir Khan. For 17 years they've been putting guys in front of me, and I've been beating them. Come May they'll put a guy in front of me, I'll go to training camp, work hard, and the results will be the same
Mayweather-Pacquiao would likely break viewership and pay-per-view records and generate maximum, positive publicity for the boxing industry.
There seem to be bridges on both sides that are all but burned at the moment. However, the fact that Arum had to justify to Velin that the sport of boxing is popular globally proves that there is at least some doubt to that notion in the court of public opinion.
The most casual boxing fans and even typical non-enthusiasts of the sweet science would have to tune in somehow to catch what would be one of the most monumental fights in boxing history.
If this squabbling between camps continues to transpire, though, a deal will never be struck.