Top Rank says they'll talk Mayweather-Pacquiao, but don't get ahead of yourselves

If Floyd Mayweather Jr. is victorious tomorrow and Manny Pacquiao survives a big test from Miguel Cotto in November, expect negotiations. David Mayo reports that Top Rank President Todd duBoef told him their company -- Pacquiao's promoter -- will be willing to talk to Floyd about the potential biggest fight in boxing for 2010, a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown to decide the true pound-for-pound king.

From the Grand Rapids Press:

"I agree that there is a public demand for it that you don't see often in our sport, this pent-up demand for Pacquiao and Mayweather," duBoef said. "I think it's because the names resonate globally, they've been in big fights, they've been in marquee positions.

"So I think it does have a totally different appeal that is just what fight fans want. I think if both guys win, we sit down and talk. If rational behavior prevails, which it has a tough time doing in our sport ... then the public will get it."

Note Todd's tone, and don't get overly excited. "If rational behavior prevails, which it has a tough time doing in our sport" is simply duBoef's way of saying that it is far from a guarantee. We know that Mayweather wants his money, and that he'll be very reluctant to give up a lion's share, and possibly even reluctant to go 50-50 with Pacquiao. To be completely fair and truthful, we also have seen Pacquiao be a stickler in negotiations. His team nearly got the Ricky Hatton fight called off by refusing to budge from 60-40 before Bob Arum intervened and saved the fight at a point where Hatton seemed genuinely willing to tell Pacquiao's team to go fly a kite, to keep the language family-friendly.

But this isn't just about Mayweather being rational, or about Team Pacquiao being rational. It is absolutely no secret whatsoever that Mayweather, who negotiates his own fights with Leonard Ellerbe and promotes himself, and Bob Arum had a nasty falling-out years ago. Let's just say they won't be going to one another's Halloween parties next month. Mayweather publicly blames Arum for not promoting him right and making him a superstar, and Arum publicly blames Mayweather for not fighting a lot of the guys they offered him, and has more or less called Mayweather a coward on several occasions.

Can they work together? Bigger hatchets have been buried for the good of everyone's pocketbook in even the recent past. Take the ending of the Golden Boy-Top Rank Cold War in 2007, which has been a huge benefit for the sport in every way. The rift between Oscar de la Hoya and Arum was bigger than Mayweather-Arum, because for one thing, Oscar left Arum as a fighter, but he did it to start a direct rival. Mayweather promotes himself, sure, but nobody sees Mayweather Promotions as on par with Golden Boy. Floyd's not competing for the same young talent that Arum is, which Oscar did, and Floyd's not "stealing" fighters from Arum, which Oscar "did." (And Floyd never offered Pacquiao a briefcase of cash, which Oscar did.)

Most of the promoters don't get along, but few of them have the issues that a promoter and his ex-fighter can have, save perhaps for Arum and Don King, who would probably just as soon set one another on fire as work together more than absolutely necessary.

If we assume Mayweather and Pacquiao both win their upcoming fights -- and that's not even close to a guarantee -- I figure there's a genuine 50-50 shot and nothing better at seeing them fight next year. If they don't, I don't know what Floyd would do otherwise. Fight Mosley? It's been desired for years, they've nearly done it before, and then it falls apart for one reason or another. And Mayweather-Mosley does not even come close to Mayweather-Pacquiao money. Frankly, Mayweather-Mosley doesn't come close to Mayweather-Cotto money, were Cotto to beat Pacquiao.

If Floyd wants the biggest money in his next fight should he beat Marquez, it's gotta be the Cotto-Pacquiao winner, and neither fight is easy to make considering Top Rank promotes both guys.

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