Pacquiao side or Money side - Who do you believe?

By Paul Strauss: Those with wisdom answer, "Neither side!" The cast of characters: Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank; Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions; Floyd Mayweather, Jr and his Money Team; and Manny Pacquiao and the Pacman Team.

Let's take a look at what's involved. Right off the bat we know that promoters are noted for twisting things to suit their purpose. Certain fighters fall right in line as well. But, the fact is most of the publicized demands have been made by the Money side. His Team's first demand continues to be the oft repeated claim and unresolved issue of random drug testing to be done by an independent organization. Next, the Money Team wants the lion's share of the money (60/40 split). Third, they want the fight to be held in Las Vegas, NV. All of these are seemingly reasonable demands, at least from their point of view.

However, Bob Arum of Top Rank claims all three of those demands have been met. According to Arum, Pacman agreed to full random drug testing as far back as two years ago? Concerning the money split, Pacman's team has countered Money's demand with a proposal for a 45/45 split with the remaining 10 going to the winner. Finally, Pacman's side, and Arum in particular, want the fight to be held at a big stadium or arena, possibly the Dallas Cowbow Stadium. Arum feels it would be foolhardy to lose out on the millions that would come having space for thousands of additional people making up the live crowd. Of late, Arum seems to have backed off of that demand, explaining one of the Las Vegas casinos promises to build a stadium specifically for the mega fight. Consequently, that sticking point no longer holds any importance.

One of the sillier proposals concerning resolution of the split problem involves hiring an independent accounting firm to study the pay-per-view numbers of both fighters. The objective being to uncover which side deserves the bigger share. The truth is that proposal is nothing more than a good PR tactic. Of course there are those "reality TV types" who would wait with bated breath for the results, but the rest of the public knows it's nonsense. First of all, the results would never satisfy both sides. Secondly, it's common knowledge that numbers, polls and/or statistics can be manipulated.

Floyd continues to harp on things that the other side says have already been addressed. But, then you have to consider the credibility of people like Bob Arum, who still contends that Antonio Margarito is innocent. Or, even more outrageous, he compares Floyd, Jr. to the WWII Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels! On the Money side you have people who enter into negotiations, and then deny there ever were any negotiations, even though a top TV executive says there were! Or, how about when Money offers up as evidence "Manny's head has gotten bigger" as support for his allegation that Manny is on something!

That leads us to the real key to this whole mess, the boxing media itself. If they sincerely want to know who is telling the truth, they will do a better job of investigative reporting, digging for the truth with proper follow up questions. If they do that, then maybe they will discover who speaks with a forked tongue. However, if you access your DVR and pull up some of the interviews with both sides and re-watch them, you will discover (if you don't already know) the media does a pretty crummy job of interviewing. They start out asking the right questions, but then fail to follow up when their questions aren't answered. They do their best imitation of "bobble heads" and let it go, asking another question unrelated to the first. There's no true follow-up.

Why? The key factor is there is a benefit is doing so. The longer this potential mega fight sensationalism remains unresolved, the longer it remains news worthy. Muddy waters allow for outrageous remarks, such as those previously mentioned to continue to garner headlines. Special feature programs, which attract sponsors, earn dollars from advertising companies, and new shows even start popping up. The benefits, to some extent, spill over to the two teams as well. It's kind of a positive “Catch 22”. You see, as far as the fighters and their teams are concerned, all this hoopla stuff that seems to be nonsense to us, keeps their mugs in front of the cameras, and that's show biz and that's money.

Emanuel Steward recently made a telling remark when he said that 24/7 made Floyd more of a star than what Money has done in the ring! Steward wasn't being critical. Rather, he was pointing out to any interested observer something that should be obvious. Just look at Floyd's recent fight with Miguel Cotto. Most would agree, it had more action than most of his fights, and yet it was far from being a "fight of the year" type fight. Jim Lampley tried hard to make an important issue out of Floyd's little bloody nose. That's because Floyd normally remains relatively unscathed in his fights. In addition, fans know Floyd could have stopped Cotto late in the fight if he would have been willing to take more chances. He wasn't. The same has been true throughout his career. The point being he has never been considered to have a fan friendly style. Granted he appeals to a number of knowledgeable fans who appreciate his skill, but he appeals to an even wider group who idolize his life style with its luxury cars, mansions and wads of money to throw around. But, he definitely is not a "Gatti vs Ward blood and guts type fighter".

Over the past several years, Floyd has come to understand that fact, and has done what he can along other lines (outside of the ring) as a personality to generate the needed level of interest in him as an entertainment attraction. Steward definitely has a point, and that point is Floyd is a star. Does that mean he warrants a 60/40 split? Those who have made him a star are the ones who say, "Let's have the accountants decide."

The other side bellows, "Nah, let the winner take the additional 10 or lion's share". That's more acceptable or reasonable they argue. Well, we're back to "Who do you side with"? All too often the important questions in this world are decided in court by a judge or jury. When the facts are muddled, creditability becomes an important factor. Who is more believable? You decide.

On the other hand, there are a few believable facts involved here. One is everyone wants the fight to be made. There's too much money to be made for any sane person not to want it. Secondly, both teams are enjoying the limelight involved with this potential mega fight. Finally, all involved might very well screw around too much for too long, and blow the whole thing. That's a very real possibility.

Someone once asked, "What does God do when he hears our plans?" The answer is He laughs. If these jokers screw up this one, there won't be any chuckles. There will only be ridicule and the agonizing sound of painful laughter coming from fight fans. .

Article posted on 15.05.2012

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