I'm going to start out by saying I got all of this information from sources inside the boxing community, but some of what I am going to write is second hand and other things are speculation. I will also note that I live in Los Angeles so my sources are all here and not in Las Vegas or any other places around the country so take it for what's worth.
I will try to make clear what parts are rumors and what parts are actual facts and hopefully people will check their own prejudices at the door and not bombard me with silly nonsense on my profile.
Boxing promotion is a very difficult art. It relies on a little hucksterism, a little slight of hand, a little luck and a whole lot of money to make it work. But when it works, it really works.
There's really nothing like a great boxing show to stir the imagination.
In the case of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao the imagination has now been stirring for almost a year in some circles and most certainly since last December when the Pac-Man sent Oscar into retirement.
This one looks like a classic, two fighters in their prime, almost the same weight, and two different styles that could make a great fight.
So, let's look at the real time-line and try and sort this out for the many confused people out there.
It really all started when Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was in negotiations to fight a second time against ODH.
I'm not sure how many people really wanted to see this fight. Oscar looked like a beaten man in the second half of the first fight and he didn't look all that great against Stevie Forbes.
But Oscar wanted it and it was going ahead. Until Floyd pulled a surprise and announced his retirement.
At that point Pretty Boy and the Golden Boy had to scramble. He had already said he only wanted to fight a couple of more times and needed a name fighter for one last big match.
This is when they approached Manny Pacquiao and his handlers. Manny was just coming off a set of fights that make a boxer legendary. Eight fights with a trio of future Hall of Famers in the lightweight classes.
The Pac-Man went 6-1-1 in eight fights with Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez. Big fights and for the lighter weight classes big draws as well.
A lot of people thought the idea of a Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight was ridiculous. Manny was coming up two weight classes and 12 pounds to take the fight. But Freddy Roach thought they had a chance so they Manny went ahead with the match.
And although it had the appearance of freak show to some in the boxing community, fans hooked in and the match sold tickets. Lots of tickets.
This is when things start getting a little weird. Suddenly the news came out that Floyd, Jr. was secretly in training and wanted to fight again.
Considering Floyd had barely announced the retirement, word that he was already in training came as a surprise even to regular PBF watchers. I mean, even Brett Favre takes some time off.
People figured their had to be a reason for Floyd's change of heart.
This was when news of the Pretty Boy's IRS problems surfaced. Now, PBF has always maintained he doesn't owe anything. But he's also followed up that statement with things about I just pay slower than other people.
Who knows what the real story is, but the one thing I know about the IRS is they have beaten richer, better connected and even more arrogant people than Floyd, Jr. in the past. If Floyd thinks he can use his feints and dodges with the Feds like he does his boxing opponents he is gonna get his head handed to him.
Either way, there had to be a fighter or two that Floyd was eying to get back in the limelight and make some money. Rumored to be on the top of his list was the new pound for pound king, Manny Pacquiao.
Skip ahead to the Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight. Manny does the impossible and beats the bigger man. Making him not just the reigning pound for pound king in most people eyes, but also the biggest BO draw in the sport.
Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of Manny and the offers start flying. But the one guy, Pacquiao's people want is Floyd, Jr.
How do I know this? because Freddy Roach told me so, that's how.
But Floyd being Floyd says he wants a 60-40 split. Which I'm sorry to say is not just ridiculous, it was insulting.
But Mayweather wouldn't budge and Pacquiao took the Hatton deal instead figuring if he destroys Hatton like he and Freddy planned Floyd would have to come back to the bargaining table and accept a 50-50 split.
This also fit Pacquiao's schedule of fighting two or three more times before he retired. Which is another monkey wrench in the Mayweather-Pacquiao saga.
See, Manny Pacquiao is a different cat than most fighters. Because he really does see his boxing career as a way to help his people. Cynical people may scoff, but it's true.
Manny already ran for a Senate seat and you want to know why he lost? Because his opponent argued that if Manny won the race he would stop boxing and that was cited by most voters as the reason they voted against Manny. He was more valuable as a fighter.
The next time Manny runs, he's not going to let that happen.
So, now Manny gets ready to fight Hatton under the assumption that as soon as the fight is over negotiations on the Mayweather fight would start in earnest.
But once again, the mercurial Floyd Mayweather had other plans. Hours before the Hatton-Pacquiao fight takes place, Mayweather announces that he is back. The worst kept secret in boxing is out of the bag.
But instead of fighting Pacquiao like every boxing fan wants him to do, he's going to fight Juan Manuel Marquez.
Most of the Pacquiao camp is furious with this decision, all except Bob Arum. Because now Arum can push for the fight he wanted all along with Miguel Cotto. Why does Arum want Cotto? Because he promotes both fighters and he gets to keep 100% of the profits instead of 50%.
But as much as Bob pushes for the fight, Manny won't sign. Why? Because he's wants to wait for the Mayweather Marquez fight in July before he makes any decision.
That's because the only fight Manny and Freddy really want is with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
At this point, I could digress into the whole Shane Mosely fake presser fiasco, or the weird wacky world of bad reporting out of the Phillipines where Manny going to the store is front page news and Pacquiao shouting "yeah, maybe" in Tagalog to a question becomes an exclusive interview and then rehashed on boxing sites in the states.
But suffice it to say, with two firm offers on the table from Shane Mosely and Miguel Cotto, Manny was holding his ground and waiting out the Mayweather-Marquez fight before deciding what to do next.
Then came news of the Mayweather injury and subsequent cancellation.
Now things were suddenly turned upside down. There were rumors of slow tickets sales for the fight (those seem to be true), rumors that Mayweather was trying to get of the fight so he could fight Pacquiao instead (those seem to be false) but I think we should take Floyd at his word and assume he was actually injured.
What I do know, is that the Pacquiao camp put out feelers about restarting the negotiations for PBF-Pac-Man fight but were rebuffed. Golden Boy also let them know that the Mayweather-Marquez was back on and would happen in September.
That was when Pacquiao decided he had to take the next best fight out there to stay on his own personal schedule and that fight is the Cotto-Pacquiao fight which will take place in November.
Now, I'm sure there are people who will post all kinds of nonsense about what I've said here. But I really haven't stated anything that can't be found in several other legitimate sources that you can easily Google.
BUT - please don't send me your links to a Filipino gossip rag that publishes out of Bulgaria. Don't send me your quotes from Bob Arum who changes his statements ever day and lies through his teeth.
And most of all, don't send me PBF quotes because he's a born promoter and even though he's a great, great fighter, can not be trusted at this point in terms of being believable in any way.
I honestly don't know if we will ever see these two in the ring. I don't think Floyd will lose to JMM but it is possible. JMM is a great fighter but going up at 27 and 28 is one thing because the average human doesn't completely develop until the age of 28. Going up at 35 is another ball game all together.
Manny's fight is a little tougher. Cotto is a tough guy, and at 145 the catch weight is now basically a non issue. Cotto fights best at 147, and he weighed in at 145 as recently 2007 for one of his fights.
Then there's all the other issues. Manny's imminent retirement, Floyd's arrogance, Arum's meddling. And who knows what else.
That's what I think is the saddest thing about the whole affair.
It looked like we had another Hagler-Leonard fight on our hands. One of those fights that helps the sport because the whole country gets jazzed about it.
It could have helped the sport in way that 100 Marquez-Mayweather or Pacquiao-Cotto fights never will be able to.
And now it may not happen.