Showtime exec says he’ll reach out about a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight
Achieving the impossible has to start somewhere, and after so many failed tries to make a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao super-fight, there’s an olive branch being extended.
Showtime Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza, whose premium network has four fights remaining in its exclusive deal with the unbeaten Mayweather, said he plans to reach out this week to Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum to gauge interest in the bout.
Despite Arum’s denials, Espinoza said he had made repeated efforts to talk to Arum on the telephone.
“But I haven’t tried in awhile,” Espinoza told The Times. “I will call Arum. This is an enticing enough opportunity to do it.”
Although Mayweather seems headed to a May date in Las Vegas against England’s Amir Khan, Pacquiao revived his stock with a convincing unanimous-decision victory over Oxnard’s Brandon Rios over the weekend in Macao, China, after a brutal knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December.
Espinoza was clear that if the bout could be made it would be on Showtime pay-per-view, citing Mayweather’s exclusive deal that started with unanimous-decision victories over Robert Guerrero in May and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September.
“HBO, for whatever reason, doesn’t have an exclusive deal with Manny Pacquiao, so there’s no reason it can’t be on Showtime,” Espinoza said.
Mayweather’s advisor Leonard Ellerbe and promoter Richard Schaefer, the Golden Boy Promotions chief executive who has assisted in the promotion of all of Mayweather’s fights since 2007, did not immediately return telephone and e-mail messages left by The Times Tuesday.
Arum, working Tuesday to repair Pacquiao’s tax issues that saw the fighter’s bank accounts in the Philippines frozen Tuesday, said “I know of no calls” Espinoza “has made to me or my secretary in two years,” and that the promoter doesn’t want to engage in discussion of Mayweather-Pacquiao in the newspaper.
But Arum added, “My idea is to go back to the model that was used in the” Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis “fight, where both networks did it.
“Let’s ... everyone be adults and put the ... fight on,” Arum said. “Whoever wins in the ring, wins in the ring. But talking about it before we do anything is stupid.”
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