Don King expects ringside guest Saturday: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Boxing took another crazy turn Thursday, as an unexpected man emerged to possibly resuscitate the twice-failed talks to stage a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao mega-fight:
Yes, the big-haired, legendary promoter blamed for so many of boxing's ills has struck up a close friendship with Mayweather, feting him with a $500 lobster tail at a Boca Raton, Fla., restaurant last week, and reinforcing to the 41-0 fighter the kudos King believes he deserves to hear.
"Whatever Floyd wants, he gets," King told The Times on Thursday, adding he expected Mayweather to join him in St. Louis on Friday for the weigh-in of Saturday's junior-welterweight title fight between King fighter Devon Alexander and Andriy Kotelnik, and to sit ringside with King in front of HBO cameras on Saturday.
"I'm just telling Floyd what he is, a bad sucker."
Pacquiao has already moved past the second round of failed talks with Mayweather to schedule a Nov. 13 super-welterweight fight against Antonio Margarito, but if the mega-bout is ever going to occur, someone with the brashness and confidence of King might be the only man who can make it happen.
That's the opinion coming from Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum.
"King's the most persuasive guy I've ever met," Arum said. "With enough time, he'll get this kid [Mayweather] to come over. Don's no fool. He knows how to make a fight."
Arum and King were once bitter rivals, but Arum has now come to dislike Golden Boy Promotions Chief Executive Richard Schaefer, an advisor to Mayweather in negotiating recent fights. The first stage of talks with Pacquiao imploded when Mayweather's team insisted on random drug testing.
"If King were ever involved, it would give a real impetus to make this fight happen," Arum said. "All those little details that have stopped us before, King doesn't give [a thing] about. All he cares about is the end result, making the most money possible."
King said Mayweather hasn't signed anything, allowing King to negotiate his next fight.
"I'm just happy to be seeing [Mayweather], he came out last week [to Florida] because he said he wanted to talk, and I'm hoping we'll get it together," King said. "Me and Arum can do this fight with Pacquiao in a flash."
King said he doesn't thrust that point upon Mayweather, adding they haven't even discussed a possible future fight date, although April or May of 2011 seems logical.
"He'll say it to me on his own when he wants, 'Everybody's talking about this Pacquiao fight,' and I'll tell him, 'Yes, we can do this, that and the other,' " King said. "He can bring it up himself. I'm just waiting, being very patient. The power of understanding people is important. I believe he can make the most money with me, because we'll show his dignity and pride, and stop people from throwing stones at him."
How? King declined to elaborate, cracking, "I ain't going to tell you that, I'm going to show you. That's why I'm in the 'Show Me State' now in St. Louis."
Mayweather and his advisor were not immediately available for comment, and neither was Schaefer.
"If anybody can do it, it's Don King," Arum said. "I know my man Don."
Photo: Don King waves an American flag before the WBA heavyweight bout between Russia's Ruslan Chagaev vs Australia's Kali Meehan in Rostock, Germany, in May. Credit: Danny Gohlke / AFP / Getty Images