Only in boxing could soap opera-like drama unfold the way it has in the continuing saga that has become the contract negotiations between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
The fight is on, and then the fight is off.
Negotiations are moving swiftly, and then there are no negotiations at all.
The two camps are communicating, and then the two camps haven’t spoken to each other at all.
Fight fans around the world, even here in the Desert cities surrounding Palm Springs, are wondering why boxing has to be so complicated.
The latest chapter is a doozy. Team Mayweather issued a statement this week saying there have been NO negotiations at all.
“Here are the facts,” Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellberbee starts off. “Al Haymon (Mayweather manager), Richard Schaefer (Golden Boy Promotions) and myself speak to each other on a regular basis and the truth is no negotiations have ever taken place nor was there ever a deal agreed upon by Team Mayweather or Floyd Mayweather to fight Manny Pacquiao on November 13. Either Ross Greenburg or Bob Arum is not telling the truth, but history tells us who is lying.”
“What they said was absurd, but why did they say this?” Arum said to the media. “They could say a lot of other things. My feeling is that this is rapidly becoming one of the most bizarre things ever.”
Mayweather made a cameo public appearance on Sunday to coach in a charity basketball game hosted by Dwayne Wade and Alonzo Mourning. But Mayweather provided more frustration by making it clear he is on a self imposed vacation.
“I’m not really thinking about boxing right now. I’m just relaxing,” Mayweather said. “I fought about 60 days ago, so I’m just enjoying myself, enjoying life, enjoying my family and enjoying my vacation.”
This latest chain of events began at midnight last Friday with Top Rank’s ‘Countdown,’ a media event aimed at getting Mayweather to speak up, accept the fight or even decline it. Of course Mayweather did neither.
It did result in the decision to look for a new opponent for Pacquiao. Arum said negotiations would begin this week with Miguel Cotto, who Pacquiao has already defeated, and Antonio Margarito, who just completed a year-long suspension after a hand wrapping scandal.
It looks as if fight fans will have to settle for another set of minor league opponents, at least for Pacquiao’s proposed bout in November. Talks fell through earlier this year and the result was a snooze fest between Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey and a marginally entertaining bout between Mayweather and Shane Mosley.