With Manny Pacquiao announcing more than a week ago that he had agreed to all of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s contractual demands for their long-planned superfight, Mayweather remains a holdout. While Pacquiao laid down a deadline of the end of January — a date now just four days away — for Mayweather to sign the fight contract, the American’s refusal to ink the deal, creating the biggest-money fight in boxing history, appears increasingly baffling.
Mayweather and sources in his camp have stated that Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, is actually somehow causing the holdup with behind-the-scenes maneuvering, the details of which no one on either side has specified.
Arum, for his part, has his own theory about why Mayweather is shying away from the fight, calling the undefeated welterweight king “chicken” in an interview with a Spanish-language TV network.
The 83-year-old promoter has been sounding that note for much of the past weekend, saying in a separate interview on Saturday that he, Arum, has become a “scapegoat” for Mayweather’s fear of losing to Pacquiao, whose southpaw style will create a difficult matchup for Mayweather, Arum says.
But the real reason that Mayweather continues to stall the Pacquiao fight deal from happening may lie, some boxing observers believe, in another contract — Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s six-fight deal with the CBS-owned, premium cable network, Showtime.
Mayweather has so far fought (and won) four of those six fights. He is scheduled for fight Number Five on May 2 of this year, with the contract finishing up later in 2015, most likely in September.
At that point, Mayweather becomes once again a free agent, free to cut any pay-per-view deal for the Pacquiao fight that he wants, with either Showtime or its Time-Warner-owned rival HBO — or even a third, independent entity.
Financially, observers say, it simply makes more sense for Mayweather to wait one more year before finally agreeing to fight Pacquiao in a mega-fight that has remained at the top of boxing fans’ “most wanted” list since talks first began and fell apart in 2009.
According to David Mayo, who writes for the Michigan-based MLive news site — which covers Grand Rapids native Mayweather closely — one other factor also points toward 2016 as the likely time frame for the long-awaited Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao superfight.
“There also is a new 20,000-seat arena under construction on Las Vegas Boulevard, expected to be completed by early 2016,” Mayo notes. “It long has been speculated that Mayweather-Pacquiao would be an ideal fit for the new venue, which would seat about 4,000 more for boxing than MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Mayweather has fought exclusively since 2007.”
In other words, the dollars and cents dictate that Floyd Mayweather will fight Manny Pacquiao — in 2016. In 2015, expect Mayweather to stage a rematch with Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto, an opponent he has defeated comfortably once already, while Pacquiao travels to England for a showdown with the speedy Amir Khan.