With a potential May 5 mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr once again catching fire as a topic of debate, attention is now turning to promoters Bob Arum and Richard Schaefer, who are offering wildly different takes on the current climate of negotiations.
Schaefer told The RING that Arum's talk of making the fight without Golden Boy is nonsense:
"Who is he trying to fool? The public, the fight fans, the fighters, the networks? Everybody is sick and tired of that lying snake," said Schaefer.
"Everybody is sick and tired. Arum does not want to make the Pacquiao fight, so stop believing everything this guy says."
But Arum is still saying that he's working on the fight without Golden Boy, and with help from outside investors. Michael Marley has this:
"It's understandable because Richard is on the outside looking in," Arum said. "Who knows and who cares what Richard says? They have no contract with Floyd, that's fact. Just like Manny, aside from our contract with him, can choose who he wants representing him so can Floyd do the same thing. We don't terll Floyd or Manny who they can have working for them."
To me, personally, the whole tone of this has changed over the last few weeks. Arum has gone on the offensive here, or so it appears. And Golden Boy seems to be on the defensive a little bit, perhaps because there's a real chance that with no contract with Mayweather, they could be totally cut out of what is by far the richest fight in boxing.
But forget the promoterspeak for a moment. More than that, the tone has shifted in what's expected of a Pacquiao vs Mayweather matchup. No more, perhaps, is this a fight that is some utterly unique spectacle, but just a really big fight between the world's two best fighters. Manny Pacquiao took some PR lumps for his debated decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12. The way to cure that? Fight Mayweather.
And Mayweather himself is short an opponent for May 5, and this time, there's not even an Ortiz vs Berto fight to pluck from. (Those two will rematch in early 2012, but the winner facing Floyd lacks zest for many reasons.) Anyone else, Floyd has to give up some weight, be it Sergio Martinez or Canelo Alvarez.
Floyd and Manny may have reached that critical point where nothing else makes much sense anymore. Pacquiao always has Marquez, but public response to the idea of a fourth fight has not been strong, and Juan Manuel Marquez feels he's in a position to make his own demands for money, and for the location of the fight.
In other words, if one of them is going to give any concessions, it has to be worth the money and the risk involved. And that only comes for Floyd against Manny, and for Manny against Floyd.
Knock on wood, and I hate to get anyone's hopes possibly up, but one way or another (and don't count out Golden Boy involvement, either), this might be the time for this fight to finally happen.