A few good minutes with boxing promoter Bob Arum – even on deadline – are usually well worth it.
Late Tuesday afternoon, after unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. spent time in a session with print reporters criticizing the final cut of pay his rival Manny Pacquiao will earn for their Saturday night fight, Arum said he vows to be on his best behavior at Wednesday’s news conference at MGM Grand.
“I promise not to make waves at the press conference, not to go after [Mayweather], not to respond,” Arum said. “He’s trying desperately to get Manny and me in a war of words with him, and we’re not going to do it.”
Mayweather, who was promoted by Arum until 2006 and went on to fight in pay-per-view bouts that established total buys and sales records, said Tuesday that Pacquiao could’ve earned more if he had been aligned with Mayweather’s powerful manager, Al Haymon.
“I don’t think anything, I don’t think anything,” Arum said before thinking something. “Just see how Haymon treats [Mayweather] after he finishes fighting.”
Arum declined to address that subject further, noting “there’s big developments coming” around Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions circuit that could soon be confronting a lawsuit filed by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions for violating the Muhammad Ali Act forbidding a manager jointly serving as a promoter. The possible lawsuit was first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix on Tuesday.
As for Pacquiao, Arum said: “Manny is super confident and super relaxed. You’re going to see the best Manny.”
Then, of course, Arum, who’s been promoting fights since Ali’s bouts in the 1960s, ignited his own war of words with Mayweather.
“And you’re not going to see the best Floyd,” he said.
“I think Manny’s going to beat him up like he beat up De La Hoya,” forcing him to quit on his stool after nine rounds and retire the next year.
“Floyd’s legs aren’t the same. People have watched him in the gym. Floyd’s only chance is to stand there and try to knock Manny out. He has no chance against Manny as a defensive fighter. None.
“Pacquiao has the speed and the power to [track down and wound Mayweather]. Oscar was bigger, too, a lot bigger than Floyd. He got beat up. And Floyd’s going to get beat up too.”
Pacquiao’s close friend, Chavit Singsong, told reporters Monday in Hollywood that he could see a scenario where Pacquiao retires after the Mayweather fight because no major challenge would remain.
“The way he talks to me he’s going to continue fighting, but I don’t know for sure,” Arum said.
If the bout is competitive, the calls for a rematch will be as fervent as the demand for this bout.
Arum is miffed at how this co-promotion has been handled, saying the head of MGM Resorts, Richard Sturm, previously ordered his employees not to speak to Arum and members of his company, Top Rank Inc. That edict, alleges Arum, must’ve come from Haymon.
“Nothing is an impossibility,” Arum said of a rematch despite the strife. “Obviously, a lot of things have to change before we consider a rematch. … We’re not going to get pushed around.
"I'm having fun now that the big issues have been settled and I'm looking forward to seeing this fight happening, but this was the worst experience on a promotion for me in the 50 years I've been in the sport. Total anxiety. ... Really nasty and terrible."
Read the Los Angeles Times’ special edition Flipboard digital magazine Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.