Let's get this out of the way right up front. Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Bob Arum, Oscar De La Hoya and more all share blame for Pacquiao and Mayweather not stepping into the ring to face each other. But there has been quite the shift in terms of public perception in the ongoing war of words and actions between the two over the past six months.
Somewhere along the line it was Floyd, the convicted criminal and obnoxiously cocky fighter, who became the good guy while the smiling, singing Pacquiao has participated in the assassination of his character by the coward Bob Arum.
Floyd had a May 5 date booked in Vegas and made it known that he was ready to make the fight with Pacquiao. Bluster or not, he put the ball in Manny and Top Rank's court. But then it seemed that his jail conviction would get in the way of the fight. Bob Arum showed up after the conviction and said the following (via BoxingScene):
"It's not an option," Arum said. "Manny is going to fight in May or June and if Floyd is available and Manny is successful, we'll fight Floyd in November. We are not going to operate Manny's career on what if, what if, what if. That doesn't make any business sense."
That was January 5. On January 6, Floyd was able to get his sentence delayed to June 1, allowing him to keep his May 5 date. Given that Arum said Manny would fight in May or June, that had to mean the fight was a possibility, right?
"I don't think it has any impact," Arum said, upon learning of the ruling. "No impact at all. Manny isn't going to be ready to fight until summertime."
The excuse for May suddenly being out of the picture? A cut Manny suffered against Juan Manuel Marquez on November 11 (pictured to the right, enlarged view here).
Yes, there's a cut and it wasn't a pretty one. But how dumb do you have to be to believe that Manny can't be ready to fight in six months? Because of a pretty standard cut?
Andre Ward suffered a nasty cut in training for his Super Six finals bout with Carl Froch and the bout was pushed from late October to mid-December.
As horrible as that cut was, Diego returned to action in May of 2010. And it's not like that was a rare case. Vitali Klitschko suffered two horrible cuts (picture) against Lennox Lewis on June 21, 2003 and was back in the ring on December 6.
As Scott Christ pointed out at Bad Left Hook, it's always something:
It's kind of hard to think that Bob Arum wants this fight to happen. "Maybe later, maybe later, maybe later." He's said the fight could happen in November, or five months after Pacquiao is expected to be in the ring next. But that leaves plenty of time to find excuses again.
And I'm not saying Mayweather is the good witch, either. But we're at a point where you get this great big opening, with Floyd's sentence delayed, and now Manny won't be ready until a few days after Floyd has to report to jail?
It's always something, isn't it?
Met with the expected amount of criticism, Arum tried to deflect and insult Floyd's ability to do business in Vegas:
In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Arum said Mayweather "is apparently going to fight Robert Guerrero. Can you believe that. They won't do any business at all."
Arum claimed that MGM Grand which Mayweather's camp had long announced as the venue for the planned May 5 fight even before he was sentenced to a prison term, was "bulls**t because MGM didn't want to give him the date until they found out what Pacquiao was doing. Mayweather brings in no business."
First off, Floyd Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya? $18.419,200 at the gate. Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley? $11,032,100 at the gate. Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton? $10,393,950 at the gate. Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz? $9,000,000.
Seems like Floyd can do a little business.
But that's really beside the point. It's just Arum trying to deflect. And it's Arum trying to deflect because he's lost the PR battle.
Manny was the hero of the people for much of the Mayweather/Pacquiao nonsense. For a while it was Floyd shooting himself in the foot with racist videos and other ill advised public outbursts. Now Manny is the man who the public can point at and say "he doesn't want it!"
Maybe he does want the fight, maybe he doesn't. But that's simply irrelevant with Bob Arum's inability to handle the situation.
Even in potential opponents you have Arum talking about Manny facing Marquez for a fourth time, Miguel Cotto in a rematch of a fight that Pacquiao dominate, Lamont Peterson who holds no advantage anywhere in what would be a farce of a fight or Tim Bradley (and Arum had the balls to talk about Guerrero being a nobody). All while Floyd seems set to fight Canelo Alvarez, a rising star and larger man.
Things are getting ugly for Manny.