We've been down this road so many times already that it's hard to get excited about the prospect of a Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight. When it's not drug tests stopping the fight, it's 6 month old cuts or some other excuse that really boils down to a power struggle between all the different players involved with making boxing's biggest fight. But here we are again, and April 2013 is the new date being tossed around.
One of the absolute biggest issues all along have been the tensions between Pacquiao promoter Top Rank (Bob Arum's outfit) and Golden Boy Promotions. While Mayweather was never technically a Golden Boy fighter, all of his fights since his bout with Oscar De La Hoya have been promoted by Golden Boy as "Mayweather Promotions" doesn't actually have a promoter license.
The battle between Top Rank and Golden Boy has long raged for top dog status. While the promotions have worked together in the past, the feud has only escalated, seeing the two promotions engage in a battle of counter-programming that started with Top Rank and Golden Boy battling over the September 15 date. Now, Canelo Alvarez will fight Josesito Lopez on Showtime as Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fights Sergio Martinez on HBO pay-per-view.
In the wake of that battle, there's no way that the two sides will work with the other to make a mega-fight.
Enter 50 Cent.
As I wrote about a few weeks back, 50 Cent has gotten into the boxing promoter game. A long time friend of Mayweather, 50 named his new promotional outfit TMT Promotions, TMT standing for "The Money Team," a long time Mayweather thing.
The obvious speculation as 50 rounded up some very big names in the boxing game to promote, was that Mayweather would be the crown jewel in TMT's stable, now able to get a bigger cut of his fight profits without having to give money to Golden Boy.
Oscar made the most idiotic move of his promotional career by taking a shot at 50 on Twitter as he rounded up fighters and was told that he wouldn't be promoting Mayweather anymore. And, if that's true, that would mean that the Golden Boy/Top Rank rivalry no longer stands in the way of making the fight happen.
Bob Arum spoke about his target of April with BoxingScene after Arum had a meeting with Pacquiao:
Arum spoke to BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard while being driven home from the airport after his arrival in the United States. He told us he had discussed a possible fight with Mayweather Jr. and added "we are optimistic for April next year."
Arum was confident that the issue of a revenue split which proved to be one of the stumbling blocks in the past could be resolved. Arum said "I know how to handle that with the Mayweather people and do the best deal possible and then get back to Manny. "
The entry of Mayweather's close friend and associate Curtis Jackson, popularly known as 50 Cent, into the promotional business, has been a plus according to Arum who told us "he appears to me to be a real businessman with no agenda like some of the other guys so I think we can get a deal done."
Floyd recently had some nice things to say about Pacquiao while at the premier of 50 Cent's new movie, including talking about wanting to get a deal done while NOT saying anything about "taking the test" or any other backhanded shot.
One would assume that Floyd will want to be a part of TMT Promotions after his boxing career comes to an end, and what better way to grow the promotion than to have it be one part of putting on the biggest fight in boxing after years and years of the old guard getting in the way? And, even better, Floyd would enter that fight as a considerable favorite. Meaning that not only could TMT make a statement by being a part of promoting one of boxing's biggest fights in history, but by being the side to promote the likely winner of the fight.
Yeah, Floyd hates Bob Arum. But he loves money and he loves being the attraction. For the first time in a long time, we're in a situation where making the fight actually makes sense for all sides. It's not just about protecting investments, it's about building something bigger.
If Arum feels that he can work with TMT promotions in the future as well? That's good for his bottom line and would honestly be good for boxing.
Step one is going to be Pacquiao winning his November fight. It looks like he'll be taking on either Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez has a legitimate case that he has been robbed twice (and gotten a controversial draw one other time) in his previous meetings with Pacquiao while Bradley was given a win that clearly should have gone to Pacquiao in their previous meeting. So it's far from a guarantee that Manny can get the victory and do his part in making Manny vs. Floyd happen.
But at least there's reason to be optimistic for once.