Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 9
Mayweather responded to the Pacquiao fight rumors to Fighthype.com, saying “All lies. You know better than that!”
When I heard Pacquiao and Arum talking about the Mayweather fight, I didn’t believe it for a second, because Mayweather has already made himself pretty clear about what Pacquiao needs to do in order to get a fight against him and thus far he hasn’t done what Mayweather has asked him to. Mayweather mentioned that if Pacquiao leaves Top Rank when his contract is up with them then there could possibly be a fight against him.
Mayweather also said that Pacquiao has unfinished business with Juan Manuel Marquez that he needs to clear up first before they could take about a fight between them. Pacquiao took care of his Tim Bradley problem, but Pacquiao still needs to avenge his loss to Marquez before he can talk about a Mayweather fight.
Promoter Bob Arum has given boxing fans more than a glimmer of hope that they might see not just one but two superstar clashes between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao next year.
The pair's infamous war of words has never materialised into an in-ring encounter, but the Daily Mail's Jeff Powell quotes the Top Rank CEO saying a settlement between HBO and Showtime's broadcasting rights could lay the framework for a deal:
Both networks want this to happen. All signs seem to point to a first fight early next year. A second fight in the autumn would provide a different cash split because the winner of the first would claim the higher percentage. As each of them believes he would win, that provides an extra incentive.
It's suggested that a bout in May would be worth a record $300 million, per Powell's article, with a rematch later in the year almost doubling that figure at a presumed $500 million, fees orchestrated to finally entice both boxers into penning a deal.
HBO are responsible for the broadcast of Pacquiao's bouts while Showtime take governance for Mayweather's, but the mega money involved in a double fixture—totalling close to $1 billion—has the means to finally produce a long-awaited bout.
As Powell attests, "Pacman" has already agreed to Olympic-standard drug testing at Mayweather's request and now supposes that "Money" need only decide if his 46-match winning streak is worth putting at risk.
Recently asked whether retirement was on his agenda, Pacquiao was quick to distance himself from any notion of hanging up his gloves, per boxing reporter Michelle Joy Phelps:
Both of these champions have been locked in a perpetual cycle of fan disappointment. On numerous occasions, the two have seemed close to agreeing terms, only for one obstacle or another to block the path for what could be one of the greatest fights in the sport's history.
Now, with Pacquiao at 35 and Mayweather at 37, the opportunities to sanction the fight are growing smaller in number, with the bout's optimum entertainment value already past its prime.
Pacquiao is already feared to be past his best after back-to-back losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, although he did avenge the former in his last outing. Any further defeats would severely harm the lure of a collision with Mayweather.
That being said, audiences would be more than happy to sample the bout twice in the space of six months, and the fight would be open to a wider net than ever should both network titans agree to a joint deal as is suggested.
At this stage of their careers, both veterans have racked up big pay days and commendable net worth, but as they edge closer to the end, bringing in such staggering fees in 2015 may be too good an offer to turn down, depending on the split.
Money has a rematch against Marcos Maidana coming up on Sept. 13, while Chris Algieri hopes to take Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title in November, with no future fights set in stone for either boxer after that.
Even those timeframes align nicely for a potential showdown in May 2015.
The old adage goes that money can't buy you love, but in an industry ruled by the almighty dollar, it could be that such extreme sums of cash eventually open the pathways to finally seeing these two bastions of the sport entertain.
That being said, the world audience has learnt better than to get their hopes too high for the super-fight prospects, and only when names are on the dotted line will it be believed.