Promoters cautious on 2nd Pacquiao-Mayweather deal
When the promoters for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. take a second crack at putting their fighters together, they're hoping a calm, quiet approach will lead to the fireworks everybody craves.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday he'll start talking to Mayweather's camp "sooner rather than later" about matching the world's top two welterweights for a Nov. 13 bout in either Las Vegas or Texas.
"That's the fight people want to see, and that's the fight I'm going to do my darnedest to make happen," Arum said. "My first goal is to make that fight happen, but we're not going to negotiate this thing in the press, because if we do, given the egos (involved), it's never going to happen."
Arum returned Tuesday from the Philippines, where he proudly attended Pacquiao's apparent victory in a congressional election. The former Justice Department lawyer in the Kennedy administration described the trip as a landmark event in his life, and predicted Pacquiao eventually will be his nation's president.
Yet even during the final days of Pacquiao's campaign, Arum only heard one question from hundreds of Filipino fans: When will Manny fight Money?
"People want to see it, there's no question about it," Arum said. "I have no idea whether it's going to happen or not."
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who represents Mayweather, also refuses to predict success after the camps' first negotiations fell apart over drug testing disagreements. Schaefer said no formal talks are scheduled, and Mayweather is busy spending time with his family and watching the NBA playoffs.
Schaefer, in New York promoting Amir Khan's bout with Paulie Malignaggi this weekend, echoed Arum's desire for a calm, private negotiation out of the media spotlight.
"Is it the fight everyone would like to see? Yeah, it is," Schaefer said. "But everyone would like to see as well LeBron James against Kobe Bryant in the NBA finals, or Federer against Nadal in the Wimbledon final, or now that World Cup soccer is coming up, the Brazilians against the Italians in the World Cup soccer final.
"Does it always happen? No, it doesn't. But I don't think the success of one event is really the beginning or the end of a sport."
Pacquiao's next fight definitely will be in early November, with Arum hoping to match Pacquiao against former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito if talks with Mayweather fall through. Margarito hasn't been licensed to fight in the U.S. after getting caught with a plaster-like substance in his gloves in Los Angeles in January 2009, but Arum believes he could get a license in Texas.
As for the budding congressman, who will be sworn in June 30, Arum said Pacquiao still can train for a fight while handling his new duties. Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, echoed that belief.
"He's a multitasker," Roach said. "He's been doing this such a long time, making movies, he's a singer. He likes keeping busy. Congressmen don't do much anyway."
Arum also said Pacquiao led him to believe he wants to fight three more times before retiring.
But Arum didn't indicate whether Pacquiao would be willing to budge on his objections to the stringent drug testing demanded by Mayweather, including blood tests in the weeks leading up to the fight. Mayweather and Sugar Shane Mosley went through the same tests before Mayweather's one-sided victory May 1.
Arum also isn't certain whether Pacquiao would consider dropping his defamation lawsuit against several members of Mayweather's camp after they suggested Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs. Schaefer hasn't commented on the litigation as a sticking point.
"As a fight fan, I agree with all the fight fans out there: this is a fight people want to see," Schaefer said a day after HBO reported 1.4 million homes bought Mayweather-Mosley, likely meaning Mayweather made about $40 million from the fight. "If it's going to happen or not happen, I don't know. ... If it happens, great. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. It's not the end of the world."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is eager to put the megafight in Cowboys Stadium, which hosted Pacquiao's victory over Joshua Clottey in March.
"What are the rules about knocking down a congressman?" Jones cracked Wednesday during a Cowboys golf outing in Grapevine, Texas. "Is that against the law?"
"I wouldn't want to comment on what might be in store in the future for the fights," Jones said. "But boy, I'd like to have that Pacquiao back in that stadium. And of course a fight like that, there's no doubt in my mind we'd break every record of attendance that anybody has ever seen for boxing. I think it'd be a real plus for boxing to be able to expose that many people live to a great fight like that. ... I think we might approach 120,000 (fans) for that fight."
Arum appears to have softened his adamant desire to hold the fight in the Dallas area. Mayweather is thought to want the fight at the MGM Grand Garden, essentially the Las Vegas resident's home arena.
"I'm not married to Dallas," Arum said. "I'm a New York Giants fan. I'm going to advocate putting any fight of Manny's in the place where it's going to do the best and make the most sense, and that's not necessarily Dallas."
AP Sports Writers Dave Skretta in New York and Stephen Hawkins in Grapevine, Texas, contributed to this report.