THE announcement looked good on paper until everybody realized that it is not supported by, well, a piece of paper.
In what could be another bizarre chapter in the efforts to bring into fruition the most anticipated boxing match in history, American Floyd Mayweather, Jr. announced that he was more than willing to take on Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather denied that he has turned chicken-livered and even fixed a May 2 fight date to meet boxing’s only eight-division champion.
The only problem is that Mayweather did not substantiate his bold announcement with a written, fully accomplished fight contract. Mayweather’s statement actually came with a lot of loopholes. He made the announcement in an interview in San Antonio, Texas, where his promotional company was in the midst of putting on a show. Mayweather clearly wanted some media mileage for the boxing card and the easiest way was for him to talk about Pacquiao.
The choice of May 2, 2015 as the fight date is even ill-advised from a marketing standpoint because it falls on the weekend before Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) which is celebrated in the United States and in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the unlikely victory of the Mexican army over French forces on May 5, 1862. In the world of pro boxing, it has become a tradition to celebrate the event with a big match involving Latino fighters. Before Mayweather made the announcement, Mexican boxing star Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez already announced that he has agreed to a May 2 showdown with Puerto Rican Miguel Angel Cotto for the World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight title. Alvarez reaffirmed this week his intention to fight Cotto on May 2 notwithstanding Mayweather’s announcement.
Mayweather further stated in the same interview that he will only fight Pacquiao under Showtime, which of course will not happen because Pacquiao is hooked up with HBO. Mayweather is apparently not even aware of reports that the bigwigs of HBO and Showtime are mulling on talking to each other to discuss the possibility of a joint venture for Pacquiao-Mayweather.
The clincher that Mayweather is just pulling our leg came when he again claimed that Pacquiao is in “a very tight situation” and needs the fight to bail himself out. Mayweather noted that Pacquiao’s pay-per-view numbers are dwindling and that the Filipino only wants the fight to resuscitate his piggy bank. This is basically the same excuse Mayweather has been using to dodge Pacquiao.
To his credit, Pacquiao did not buy Mayweather’s pronouncement and countered that the American should just shut up and sign on the dotted line. Pacquiao recently intensified the pressure on Mayweather when he declared after the Chris Algieri fight that he is ready to take on the American. Pacquiao went as far as say that money will not be an issue. For his part, Mayweather again reiterated that he should get the lion’s share of the profits.
If the negotiations for the big fight fail to get off the ground, Pacquiao is looking to move down to the junior welterweight (140 pounds) division and face either WBC champ Danny Garcia or WBA titlist Jessie Vargas. Mayweather is mulling on defending his WBC-WBA welterweight plum against Briton Amir Khan. Boxing fans, however, clearly want Pacquiao vs. Mayweather and nothing else. The records show that the pay-per-view numbers of both Pacquiao and Mayweather are already dwindling, a clear sign that boxing fans are getting fed up with their excuses.
Pacquiao vs. Mayweather has been on hold for the last six years. Word is that CBS Corporation, which owns Showtime, is already reaching out to Mayweather to convince him to take on Pacquiao. Mayweather has only two fights left in his megabuck deal with Showtime and clearly the cable network wants to reap some dividends off the deal by making the mega fight.
Pacquiao claims that Mayweather has nowhere to go and is basically trapped in a corner where he is absorbing a beating from critics who have pictured the American as a coward. Pacquiao has joined the chorus line and is daring Mayweather to step up to the plate.
As things stand, the boxing world is still waiting for a more concrete, believable statement from Mayweather.