Last night, Floyd Mayweather Jr announced that he'll be fighting again on May 5, 2012, and said that he wants to be in the ring with Manny Pacquiao on that date. While obviously you have to take the Pacquiao part with a grain of salt, Top Rank and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has grabbed a bag of salt and dumped it all over even the possible idea of the fight happening on May 5.
Here's what Arum told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
"They are playing games. You don’t negotiate this way. This is Floyd trying to move Manny out of the spotlight. This is no way to negotiate a fight. The MGM on May 5th? Who the hell is Floyd to say that? I know they are not serious. We put Floyd in a corner when we made it crystal clear that the issue of drug testing is over. So he comes out and makes this statement? Nobody even knows if he is going to be around in May."
Arum is essentially going out of his way to poo-poo the talks already. He might be right that Mayweather isn't "serious" -- in fact, he probably is. Both sides know what the other side is demanding. They know what's been on the table, where any negotiations would start.
We've been here before.
But you would think that a promoter might want to juice this going into Manny's November 12 fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, too. Let the idea of Mayweather vs Pacquiao float. It's not hurting anyone. Most people are at "I'll believe it when they're in the ring" anyway, so who cares? If it adds some buzz to the Marquez fight, then great.
There's this long-standing and kind of stupid boxing tradition of not making major announcements when other fights are taking place, so I'm sure that's pissing Arum off, too. But it's a stupid tradition. More eyes are on the boxing world right now. And with Floyd making his announcement of a return date, even more eyes are on the boxing world. This hurts nobody. He stole no thunder. He merely took advantage of an opportunity.
Truth is, both sides are going to be exceedingly difficult about all of this. Mayweather and Ellerbe aren't innocent, but neither is Bob Arum. Both paint the other side as the villain, but I do honestly feel that Arum is doing more painting these days. Maybe it's just that Floyd and team are smarter and more coy about it, while Arum is very blatant and hardly veiled at all. He says what he's feeling and if it's criticized, then to hell with it.
But take this quote, of the many that are of similar tone:
"I’m not reaching out to anybody. They know my number. I want it done right. I want to maximize the revenue for everybody. And what is the magic of May 5? May 5th is Cinco de Mayo. What does that have to do with anything? It makes no sense."
Bob knows that the Cinco de Mayo weekend is always a big fight weekend. What did May 7 have to do with Pacquiao vs Mosley? What did May 2 have to do with Pacquiao vs Hatton? What does the second Saturday in November have to do with Manny Pacquiao every year? What sense is there to make? The first Saturday in May always has a big fight. That's the "magic."
I am also reminded of Arum scolding everyone back in May, prior to the Pacquiao vs Mosley fight, for noting that Pacquiao was already in talks with Juan Manuel Marquez for a November 12 fight. Preposterous, he said. Well, shockingly, Pacquiao is fighting Marquez on November 12.