“It needs to happen for both guys,” Roach said in a recent interview, throwing his support behind the May 2 date, the next open slot on Mayweather’s calendar in his six-fight, $200 million deal with pay cable network Showtime. “I think we waited long enough.”
But surprise, surprise — there’s already an issue with that date. The objection comes from Pacquiao’s own promoter, the veteran boxing impresario, Bob Arum. It seems that Arum, who also promoted Mayweather for the first 10 years of the pound-for-pound king’s career, feels that the May 2 date should be reserved for Mexican fighters only.
“May 2, that Cinco De Mayo weekend, is a Mexican holiday. It is a big Mexican-American holiday. It’s a fight date being talked about for Mayweather, Pacquiao, even Cotto, but they’re not Mexicans or even Mexican-Americans,” Arum told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in a recent interview. “The only Mexican who is a draw on that date is Canelo.”
“Canelo,” of course, is the top Mexican fighter of the moment. Another is 24-year-old junior middleweight Saul Alvarez, who fought Mayweather in September of 2013 — and suffered a one-sided decision loss.
But Arum has made no secret of his desire to match another of the top fighters in his stable, Miguel Cotto, against Alvarez in what would be a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico showdown on a May 2 “Cinco de Mayo” card.
Cinco de Mayo, which as the name states in Spanish actually falls on May 5, is an important holiday for Mexican-Americans, perhaps moreso than in Mexico itself. The date marks the against-all-odds triumph of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
But for Mexican-Americans, the date is primarily seen as a celebration of their ethnic pride.
That’s why Arum says the date should be reserved for a Mexican fighter. But the fact that Cotto, the likely opponent for Alvarez on that date, fights for Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions may have something to do with his thinking as well.
The fact that Pacquiao is signed to a contract with HBO — as is Alvarez, and Mayweather fights exclusively on Showtime under his current deal, is almost certainly a factor as well.
Would Bob Arum be willing nonetheless to co-promote a Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight on May 2 anyway, given the record revenues the fight is all but certain to generate? Right now, the answer appears to be “no,” meaning that boxing fans may have to wait until September of next year to witness the long-awaited mega-fight — if it ever happens at all.