Bob Arum: May 5 fight a 'joke'
Top Rank's Bob Arum, who promotes Manny Pacquiao, told ESPN.com Thursday that he is not taking seriously Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s apparent plan to try to make a fight with Pacquiao next spring.
On Wednesday night, Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather's advisers, told ESPN.com that Mayweather had decided to return to the ring May 5 and that they had put the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on hold.
"We're looking to make the biggest fight possible and everyone knows what that fight is, the little fella," said Ellerbe, who was talking about Pacquiao.
Pacquiao defends his welterweight title in a third showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand on Nov. 12. Arum said the Mayweather camp making an announcement about his next fight just before Pacquiao's bout was simply a way of trying to steal some of the spotlight from Pacquiao. Arum also said if the Mayweather camp was serious about trying to make the fight they would come to him privately, not work though the media.
"Listen, we're not going to consider anything until after the Marquez fight," Arum said. "The way they are going about it seems like a bizarre way to go about it. If you want to put it together, you meet, you talk. You don't just come out and say, 'The fight is May 5 at the MGM.' What kind of negotiation is that? So I don't take what they said seriously.
"I think it's Floyd's way of trying to grab a little bit of the spotlight away from Manny. I'm not going to get upset. I take it with a grain of salt."
It is not the first time Mayweather, who returned from a 16-month layoff to reclaim a welterweight title on Sept. 17 by knocking out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round, has made news just as Pacquiao was taking center stage.
Hours before Pacquiao fought Ricky Hatton at the MGM in May 2009, Mayweather announced at a news conference at the casino that he was ending a nearly two-year retirement to return to fight Marquez. Also, while the Philippines' Pacquiao was on the media tour in September 2010 to promote his November fight against Antonio Margarito, Mayweather released a lengthy video on the Internet slamming Pacquiao, mocking Asian people and using a homosexual slur .
"When they want to do some serious negotiating somebody will call me or (Top Rank president) Todd (duBoef) and we will sit down and talk. It's obviously a fight we want to make," Arum said.
A fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather, who both are welterweight champions and considered the two best fighters in the world, figures to break all boxing revenue records. Many believe it would shatter the all-time pay-per-view mark of 2.45 million units generated by Mayweather's 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya.
Arum said it made no sense to him for Mayweather to lock in a site without soliciting offers from other venues, although all the Mayweather camp did was put a hold on the MGM's arena. The Mayweather camp has not made a formal deal with the casino and could easily release the date.
"Don't you have an obligation to the fighters to maximize the revenue?" Arum asked, adding that he thought it would make sense to at least talk to such players as Jerry Jones, who paid millions to have Pacquiao twice fight at Cowboys Stadium in 2010, or Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn, who has been involved in several major fights, to see if they are interested.
"Don't you want to hear what they have to say?" Arum asked. "And before you set a date don't you want to see if the guy you want to fight is available?"
Although Arum -- who promoted Mayweather for most of his career before a falling out -- often gets emotional and loses his temper when talk turns to a possible Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, he was laughing and bemused during his analysis of Mayweather's announcement.
"I'm not bent out of shape at all," he said. "For me it's sort of funny, amusing. It's noise and it probably helps my Pacquiao-Marquez event. I'm happy with it. It's out there. But it's a joke. You don't negotiate this way. The reason I don't take it seriously is why make an announcement now? Why now? How do you justify it? What's the hurry?
"Either they're just amateurs and not thinking or they thought I would go ballistic. There is some Mickey Mouse agenda. And of course (Golden Boy promoter Richard) Schaefer (whom Mayweather hires to promote his fights) is just a tool. He does what they ask him to do. This isn't Schaefer thinking it out. He is doing what he is told. They had some kind of reason to do this. Floyd was getting pissed off with all the attention Manny is getting."
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Arum also said it would be impossible to make a deal without knowing what was happening with Mayweather's legal situation because he faces multiple cases, including four felony and four misdemeanor charges stemming from an alleged domestic dispute with his former girlfriend, who is the mother of two of his children.
"How can you make a deal without knowing the criminal situation?" Arum said.
The sides have tried to make the fight before. Arum says twice. The Mayweather camp says there was a legitimate negotiation only once. That time it fell apart over the drug testing protocol. Mayweather insisted on random blood and urine testing. Pacquiao agreed to unlimited random urine testing but wanted a cutoff for blood testing.
Mayweather and his uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, have accused Pacquiao of using performance enhancing drugs, which he denies. Pacquiao has a defamation lawsuit pending against them over the accusations. That suit would have to be settled before a fight could happen, Arum said.
As for the drug testing, Arum said it would no longer be an issue.
"Olympic testing is OK for this fight, blood and urine, random testing, no problem," Arum said.
He said Pacquiao would accept testing rules of the U.S. Anti Doping Agency when he trains in the United States, which would be for the second half of his training camp. For the first few weeks, when he is in the Philippines, they would accept the World Anti Doping Agency's rules.
"One thing we won't tolerate is a prohibition of Manny training outside the United States," Arum said.
When he read ESPN.com's initial report of Mayweather's declaration of fighting on May 5, Arum said, "I howled. When do the games stop and serious negotiations begin? This latest stunt is a game. It really is hilarious if they think this is how you negotiate.
"Why did they, if they were serious people, do it this way? In other words, this was going to make us happy? Why would they do this -- lay out a venue, a date already? What was that about? Let's wait until Nov. 14 and see where it goes, but this kind of stuff is counterproductive."
Dan Rafael is the senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
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