Talks to begin next Monday
MANILA -- It’s no surprise that everybody’s clamoring for a “fight for the ages” between Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao and former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Coupled by the lack of marketable names in the heavier divisions, boxing’s popularity in the past years has been eroded by the explosion of mixed martial arts as a mainstream sport.
“The boxing universe will demand this fight (Pacquiao-Mayweather),” said Tolentino shortly after witnessing Pacquiao's demolition of Miguel Cotto over the weekend.
“[This is] a fight that is good for boxing,” he said.
Should the fight finally push through, boxing fans will surely be delighted to witness a battle between the best and the most popular fighters today.
Pacquiao just recently recorded boxing history by winning his seventh title in seven weight classes. Mayweather, meanwhile, is the former pound-for-pound champion who never lost a fight in 40 outings.
“That (Pacquiao-Mayweather) will restore attention to boxing. Even [boxing great] Sugar Ray Leonard is saying that he wants this fight to happen, boxing needs this fight to happen,” said Tolentino.
The boxing analyst said although Mayweather won’t admit it, the former pound-for-pound king actually emerged from retirement to face Pacquiao.
The potential fight revenue will be too much for Mayweather to pass up, said Tolentino.
“Mayweather may not want to admit it but I believe he returned because he knows he will make a lot of money against Manny Pacquiao,” he said. “I don't see him returning for Juan Manuel Marquez, he returned because he wants Manny Pacquiao.”
Negotiations may start next week
The powers that be in the boxing universe might actually give in to the public demand.
In a report by Yahoo Sports, Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank Boxing, the promotion which handles Pacquiao, said that Mayweather knows what to do if he really wants the fight.
“If Floyd Mayweather wants to fight Manny Pacquiao he knows who to call,” he said.
Ross Greenberg, the head of HBO Sports, later said he has already spoken to Richard Shaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Mayweather.
“Richard told me point blank, Bob Arum will be getting that call Monday,” Greenberg said. “He plans on meeting next week with Bob to make the Mayweather fight.”
Greenberg said it’s no secret that the negotiations will center on the revenue cut.
“Benjamin Franklin is the most important personality [in the negotiation],” said Greenberg, whose company would handle the pay-per-view. “His face, multiplied by 15 million brings people to the table. Each guy needs to look at the big picture and the big picture is a boat load of cash and a fight too important for the sport.”
'Pacquiao can fight somebody else'
Should Mayweather play hard to get, Pacquiao’s coach said they could easily find another opponent for the Filipino boxing dynamo.
Fredie Roach said Pacquiao can face the winner between WBA welterweight champion Shane Mosley and Haitian-American Andre Berto who climb the ring in Vegas on January 30 next year.
“Maybe the winner of that Mosley-Berto fight can be a great fight for Manny,” said Roach.
Another name which Roach mentioned was that of Marquez, the stubborn Mexican counter-puncher who, to this day, believes that he beat Pacquiao when they last met in March last year.
“Maybe we can do Marquez one more time and give him a rematch. We can fight anybody. Who knows. It will definitely be a big fight,” said Roach. With a report from The Philippine Star