Floyd Mayweather Jr. aide: No megafight
The latest round of negotiations for the potential megafight between welterweight champions Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are over before they have even begun.
Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather's advisors, and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer both told ESPN.com Monday that they were notified that Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank was not interested in coming to the table.
In my opinion, you have three cowards -- Bob Arum, (Pacquiao trainer) Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao.” -- Leonard Ellerbe,
advisor to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"We have been informed that Bob Arum is not interested in pursuing a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao at this time," Schaefer said.
Mayweather knocked out Victor Ortiz in his return to the ring after 16 months off in September, and Pacquiao eked out a controversial majority decision against rival Juan Manuel Marquez in their third meeting Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
That set the table for the showdown that looms as the biggest money fight in boxing history, especially with Mayweather announcing two weeks ago that he planned to return May 5 at the MGM Grand and, according to Ellerbe, wanted to "make the biggest fight possible and everyone knows what that fight is, the little fella (Pacquiao)."
However, that does not appear to be the plan Arum and Pacquiao have, even if they had said they were open to it before the Marquez fight.
Schaefer said the notification came in an email from retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein, the mediator who has worked closely with the sides to settle numerous lawsuits and issues in recent years.
"I am sick and tired of Bob Arum twisting the truth. It's another case of 'yesterday I was lying, today I'm telling the truth,' " Schaefer said, invoking Arum's most famous quote. "The truth of the matter is that we received this afternoon an email from retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein, who has informed us that Top Rank is pursuing a rematch with Marquez and, therefore, is not interested in immediate talks for a possible Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. This is obviously as clear as it can be that they have no intentions of making a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Therefore, Floyd Mayweather will have no other choice than to move on and identify and lock in another opponent for his ring return on May 5."
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Schaefer said the plan was to use Weinstein to help them make the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight because he is trusted by both sides and intimately familiar with the problems between the rival promotional companies.
"Judge Weinstein is respected by both parties and mediated issues between Top Rank and Golden Boy before, so the plan was to see if he could help facilitate such a fight. Floyd's team really wanted to get this fight done," Schaefer said. "If you just sit down with Arum, he can at any time have one of his fits, one of his 'f--- you' attacks, and the likelihood that he would have a 'f--- you' attack in front of a retired judge seemed less likely than if Arum and me would be alone in a room."
Arum told ESPN.com that he knew nothing about an email and claimed that nobody from his company had communicated anything about making -- or not making -- a possible Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
But Arum did say, "We are pursuing a fourth fight with Marquez. As far as doing anything definitively, we aren't ready to do anything definitively. When we are ready to make a determination of what we are going to do, we will do it. We are not going to do this in the press. We will do what is in the best interest of ourselves and our client and make a decision when it's time to. If we decide we want to do a rematch with Marquez, there is no reason to sit down with Mayweather. If we want to explore a Mayweather fight, we will sit down with them. But I'm not going to sit down with them just because it's a good show."
Ellerbe was just as upset as Schaefer was.
"In my opinion, you have three cowards -- Bob Arum, (Pacquiao trainer) Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao," Ellerbe told ESPN.com. "Now we all know the truth once and for all why this fight hasn't been made. It should be clear to everyone that they don't care what the fans want, especially when Floyd is ready, willing and able to fight Manny Pacquiao now. Floyd said if this isn't clear, he doesn't know what is.
"All along we know why the fight isn't being made. This is the perfect opportunity. Both guys just fought. This is the fight the fans want to see, and it's a disgrace that they are not willing to give the fans what they want. In my opinion, there are three reasons why Arum doesn't want the fight. He knows there is no way that Manny Pacquiao can win, it kills his cash cow, and he wants to do in-house fights where he controls both sides. I said all along why this fight hasn't been made to this point. Manny Pacquiao knows, Bob Arum knows and Freddie Roach knows."
Ellerbe said he and Schaefer would begin exploring potential May 5 opponents for Mayweather.
"We have a number of options, and we will evaluate that and give the fans the biggest fight we can give them," he said. "But before we can get started (on a Pacquiao fight), Top Rank doesn't even want to listen. They're not even interested in Floyd Mayweather. They want no part of Floyd Mayweather. They have no interest in the little fella fighting Floyd. Manny Pacquiao needs to stand up, in my opinion, and tell his promoter that he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather next and stop hiding behind his promoter."
Ellerbe said Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) did not watch as Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) turned in a shaky performance on Saturday night because he was making a paid appearance at a nightclub in Virginia. Mayweather came out of a 21-month retirement in September 2009 and fought Marquez, dropping him in the second round and winning a near-shutout decision, a far more dominating performance than Pacquiao has had against him in any of their three bouts.
Dan Rafael is the senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.