In a remark sure to raise hopes that a long-awaited Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. megafight will finally happen this year, promoter Bob Arum sounded a somewhat optimistic note Monday in an interview with the Philippine newspaper, the Manila Standard.
“The talks are slow, but at least there is movement,” Arum told the newspaper, in one of the first instances in which he has acknowledged that negotiations for the fight — anticipated to become the biggest money bout in boxing history — are actually making progress.
While Arum did not comment on the proposed May 2 date for the fight — a date which he had previously ruled out saying that, coming only three days prior to the Mexican-American Cinco de Mayo holiday, any major May 2 fight should include a Mexican boxer — he did reveal to the Standard the single issue holding up the talks. And indeed, the revelation was no surprise.
“It’s always about money,” Arum commented.
Mayweather called Arum’s stance on the May 2 date, the date proposed by Mayweather himself, an “excuse.”
“Bob Arum is trying to throw another excuse out there, talking about how they don’t want to fight on May 2nd,” said the fighter in a recent interview. “Why not? Let’s make the fight happen.”
Last week, Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz, who acts as the Filipino fighter’s go-between with Arum, said that Mayweather and his camp had sent over a new counter-offer in response to the latest Pacquiao team proposal. But Koncz did not specify the terms of the counter-offer or the latest Pacquiao pitch.
Whether the new counter-offer was what Arum meant by “movement” in the talks was not made clear, but given the timing, could well be what the 83-year-old veteran promoter, who made his reputation in the boxing industry staging such superfights as the classic 1985 showdown between Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns, was referencing.
Koncz also said that whether or not the Mayweather fight takes place in 2015, Manny Pacquiao is contractually bound to fight two times in 2015.
Arum added that unless the Mayweather negotiations come together soon, he will book a fight for Pacquiao in April, probably in a United States venue, where the fight will be broadcast by the pay cable network HBO.
Mayweather is under contract to rival pay cable channel Showtime, and must next fight in May — against Pacquiao or someone else.
Pacquiao himself gave an interview to the Philippine network ABS-CBN News over the weekend, in which he said that he is willing to fight on any date of Mayweather’s choosing.
“Of course if he wanted the May 2 date, that is no problem,” Pacquiao told the network, adding that he is pleased that the two sides are now actively negotiating. “It’s beautiful that we’re talking now. We’ve never had that before.”
Not only the date but the venue for any possible Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in 2015 remains unknown, but the megafight would almost certainly be held in Las Vegas.