Speculation about a possible Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao fight have been ongoing for months, but on Wednesday, much of the intrigue and luster about the fight took a major blow to the mid-section.
According to reports by the Los Angeles Times, negotiations fell through because of possibly the #1 reason why most mega-fights never happen -- revenue sharing. Oscar De La Hoya, who is unquestionably the biggest draw in boxing wanted a 70-30 split and Manny Pacquiao countered that offer by requesting a 60-40 split. Manny Pacquiao's lawyer, Franklin Gacal released a statement Wednesday morning, calling the offer from De La Hoya "unconscionable hence unacceptable." Gacal went on to say that De La Hoya simply won't budge from his 70-30 split proposal.
A seemingly annoyed Pacquiao also released a statement, saying that it would have been an honor to fight De La Hoya on his last fight, but due to the circumstances, he must move on. Pacquiao said that he instructed his lawyer to start negotiating with Bob Arum for his next fight, which will be at the lightweight division (135 lbs.), where he scored his most recent victory -- destroying fromer WBC beltholder David Diaz in nine round. Pacquiao's next fight will come against Mexican lightweight Humberto Soto in November. The fight, assuming it will be much easier to make, will be in Las Vegas.
Already, both the Golden Boy Promotions camp and the Pacquiao camp have started going back and forth about why the fight wasn't made, but Bob Arum this time, is taking more a neutral approach. According to the L.A. Times, Arum said, "The decision was all Pacquiao. He feels, under the circumstances, he's entitled to a better split. When he realized there was absolutely no movement on De La Hoya's side, he decided to turn down the fight."
Chief Executive Officer of Golden Boy Promotions, Richard Schaefer responded to Pacquiao's disapproval of the fight by saying that he was surprised and that he hopes that the details of the split were adequately explained by Pacquiao's Filipino advisers, because Pacquiao was set to cash in like never before in his career. Schaefer also responded to Pacquiao's decline of the offer in a somewhat of a insulting way, saying that he doesn't know anyone that spends money in percentages, "If you buy something, you don't ask how much percentage does it cost. You spend in dollars and cents. He could have made, at least, $9 million to $10 million, or about three or four times as much fighting someone else." Schaefer went on to suggest that Pacquiao would now have to fight three or four more times to make anywhere close to what the Golden Boy camp was offering.
Debates on whether the possible Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs), Manny Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs) would be good or bad for boxing have been going on as soon as news broke that negotiations opened up. Those who advocated that it was bad for boxing usually argued that the much bigger De La Hoya, who hasn't been below 150 pounds since his 2001 fight with Arturo Gatti, was just looking to get paid as much as he could and look good doing so, and purposely chose a much smaller Pacquiao, who has never fought above 135 pounds, to fulfill that need.
The same thing happened at least once when Oscar De La Hoya was negotiating a fight with recently retired pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. De La Hoya used the excuse that Mayweather needed De La Hoya, not otherwise, to get the lion's share of the revenue. The split for that mega-fight, the highest selling and most profiting in boxing's history, wound up being finalized at 60-40 in favor of De La Hoya. It's only logical to expect that De La Hoya will use the same excuse for the Pac-Man.
Eventually, Arum's neutral stance will prove to be genius. Not destroying a relationship with Oscar De La Hoya again keeps the door for negotiation open not only between the two fighters but between the two companies -- which are responsible for bringing boxing fans around the world great fights as of late.
Maybe De La Hoya will be a little flexible in negotiations with Pacquiao and might be willing to split 65-35 just to try to get paid a huge amount again, and hope to look good doing it -- but more importantly because he knows that if this deal with Pacquiao doesn't go through -- there will be even more pressure on him to fight Antonio Margarito -- who he clearly wants no part of just yet.
Maybe Pacquiao will come to his senses and accept the offer on the table. Going from a possible fight with THE Oscar De La Hoya to fighting Humberto Soto is quite the downgrade, to say the least. He'll get paid a career high, and frankly has a very good chance of defeating De La Hoya and making him look too old, too fat, and too slow to keep up with him. If Steve Forbes can hit De La Hoya that much, albeit in a one-sided defeat, it is clear that Pacquiao will also be able to hit him easily, and if he fights smart, might be an one-sided fight in favor of the Pac-Man. Although his other offers include a mega-fight with the UK's Rick Hatton, assuming they both get by their next obstacles -- which aren't to slept on, they won't quite pay like a fight with THE Oscar De La Hoya.
With that established for now, Pacquiao's approach is a good 'get paid more' strategy, now if he can just apply his own ferociousness and apply at least half of Floyd Jr's impeccable boxing skill, the strategy will prove to be a success. Let's hope he has a copy of the Mayweather-De La Hoya fight.