Lots of blame to go around for failed Mayweather-Pacquiao bout
Oscar De La Hoya referred to me as "Lance Arum" Wednesday on Twitter. The Golden Boy's business partner, Richard Schaefer, has instructed me to "lose my number." And an exasperated Bob Arum just asked, "How many times do I have to tell you this?"
Yes, tensions run high when you're conducting the postmortem on how to squander more than $100 million.
Schaefer is upset that I didn't pay enough attention to what he says is the fact that Arum repeatedly dismissed the idea that Schaefer was truly representing Floyd Mayweather and fully authorized to negotiate a deal for a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Don't refer to Schaefer as Mayweather's promoter, however, because that makes Mayweather upset. He's his own promoter. Get it?
Before he stopped talking to me Thursday, Schaefer told me Wednesday, "Since 2007, I've promoted Floyd's fights, and all those people who've tried to circumvent and short-cut me ... this makes it clear that we are a real team. Stop trying to circumvent. When they did that, again and again, it shows me [that Pacquiao's negotiators, i.e. Arum] don't want the fight. It's time to realize that I, [manager] Al Haymon, [advisor] Leonard Ellerbe, we all work with Floyd. And if Arum wants a fight with Floyd, he know clearly knows who to deal with."
Schaefer deserves congratulations for responding to the Pacquiao talks going south by luring Arum's expired fighter, super-welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, to create the best possible bout short of Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Cotto avenged his tainted 2008 loss to Antonio Margarito with a decisive victory in December, and the 31-year-old's body-punching talent and sharpened boxing does make him a legitimate threat to hand Mayweather (42-0) his first loss. And Schaefer said this will be "the first of many" Cotto fights under Schaefer's Golden Boy Promotions banner.
But May 5 is not Mayweather-Pacquiao, and that's what everyone wanted.
The fingers pointing at Arum are credible. He made a big deal of wanting to avoid a May 5 date so he could try to build an outdoor venue for the super-fight, but he knew Mayweather had a June 1 report-to-jail date, and that a fight of such magnitude did not absolutely require an extra month of publicity to boost pay-per-view sales, which would've been astronomical.
Arum compromised the deal -- perhaps fatally -- by not striking a more conciliatory tone with his bitter business rival Schaefer, especially after Mayweather publicly encouraged Pacquiao's representatives to deal with Schaefer. Talk of an outsider emerging and promising to guarantee Mayweather millions of dollars for the fight was a fairy tale.
"Don't you understand?" Arum said. "Mayweather told us not to deal with anyone unless he tells us to deal with them. If Mayweather said, 'You deal with Richard Schaefer,' we would do that. But I'm not going to call someone when Mayweather tells us, 'Don't negotiate with anyone unless I tell you.' Schaefer had no contract with this guy. He's absolutely overblowing his importance. He's acting like he's an indispensable guy, when he's hired for a fee and not acting as a traditional promoter."
It actually would've been best if the two fighters got together in a room like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield did, haggled out the outline of a deal, and ordered their people to make the fight.
Now Arum is moving on to a Pacquiao fight against Cathedral City's unbeaten junior-welterweight champion, Timothy Bradley, meeting in San Antonio on Thursday with Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz and Bradley manager Cameron Dunkin.
"It's a good fight -- fresh face [in Bradley], undefeated guy," Arum said.
Bradley may have a fresh face, but the act and blame game has grown very stale.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Manny Pacquiao. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press.