Groundwork has already been laid to help make a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather mega-fight.
The man who helped coordinate the first of what fight fans hope will be further fruitful sessions identified himself Sunday.
He’s Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach.
After Pacquiao’s six-knockdown Sunday conquest of Chris Algieri added fuel to the flame of reignited talks to stage the long-evasive super-fight, Roach told reporters he brokered a meeting earlier this year between Pacquiao promoter/fight-maker Bob Arum and CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves.
Roach explained that he and Moonves have a mutual acquaintance in Los Angeles, a waiter at Craig's restaurant on Melrose that helped arrange the meeting.
CBS is the parent company of Showtime, the premium cable network that has paid Mayweather more than $30 million in purses in four of the six fights on his contract.
Three of those massive purses came in fights against lesser-knowns Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana that failed to average one million pay-per-view buys.
Few tell Mayweather what to do, but Moonves’ prior lucrative backing has to count for something if the executive feels compelled to ask Mayweather to give the Pacquiao fight stronger consideration than he ever has.
Sources close to Mayweather have said the unbeaten fighter has never wanted the Pacquiao bout more than he does now.
Pacquiao is pushing for the bout, from his new Foot Locker ad to his bending in purse-split percentages. He told The Times Friday he’s willing to accept the fight at terms the Mayweather side has told The Times will be required to make the fight happen.
Following a Pacquiao-Algieri worldwide publicity tour, Roach said he urged Moonves to meet with Arum at the promoter’s Beverly Hills home.
“They didn’t like each other,” Roach said of a strain that dated to Pacquiao’s return to HBO after fighting one bout on Showtime in 2011. “Bob promised [Moonves] three fights … and only gave him one. … [Moonves] actually told me, ‘I’m not dealing with the devil.’ ”
“I kind of sneakily put them together, about four months ago. I knew it was risky. … [Moonves] wanted to make the fight without Bob and I said, ‘That’s not going to happen, you’ve got to bring him in.’ They walked out of that meeting with their arms around each other, happy.”
Moonves and Arum have kept the dialogue moving in follow-up phone calls and visits, and Arum said he expects another meeting with Moonves this week in the Southland.
“Bob says it’s going to happen,” Roach said of the fight.
Roach is hoping for the best. He said Sunday he’s started to review Mayweather film again.
“I like challenges. It’s not an easy fight by any means, but I love Manny in that fight, and look forward to getting Manny ready for that fight,” Roach said.
“I know he’s the best opponent we’ve ever faced. I really need to do my homework. He does put a lot of things together a lot better than most fighters.”
Roach said not making the fight will “haunt them forever.
“Usually, the best do fight the best somewhere along the line, sometimes too soon, sometimes it’s a little late. But it’s going to be a good fight.”