Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao camps carry confidence into fight negotiations

To coin an oxymoron, it has become exceedingly clear that the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao negotiations will be simply difficult.

The Mayweather camp huddled throughout the weekend, discussing all negotiating eventualities, from purse split to brand of gloves to be used in boxing’s most anticipated event in decades, so as to send Richard Schaefer into negotiations with Bob Arum fully cognizant of all requirements.

That education is necessary on multiple fronts.

One, Schaefer is CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, but has no formal contract with Mayweather and, for now, only has authority to act as promotional intermediary.

Two, if Mayweather and/or his advisers, Leonard Ellerbe and Al Haymon, actually engaged the talks personally, as Arum has said he would, the parties wouldn’t last in the same room for 10 minutes and the biggest bonanza in boxing history would go bust before they ever divvied dollars.

Once Schaefer receives marching orders, the world might discover fairly quickly whether the megafight can happen.

Whether it takes two hours, two days, two weeks or two months, Ellerbe said he is confident of all outcomes.

“The impending negotiations will be much tougher than the fight, if a deal can be struck,” he said.

Through bravado or belief, or some combination, the Mayweather side has responded to Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach’s teeming confidence with its own bluster.

Ellerbe said he and Roger Mayweather, who trains his nephew, discussed the Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup and concluded that it “probably will be one of Floyd’s easier fights.”

“They say styles make fights but guess what? Skills are what win fights,” Ellerbe said. “The fight is not a problem in the ring. Pacquiao is a good little fighter but Floyd is just on a whole other level. If we can make a deal, we’ll see. If he got outboxed by Erik Morales, if he got outboxed by Juan Manuel Marquez, how the hell is going to deal with Floyd Mayweather? He’s never, ever, been in the ring with anyone who has anywhere near the skills Floyd Mayweather has.”

Roach said, after Pacquiao’s resounding 12th-round stoppage of Miguel Cotto this month, that he already has devised the game plan for defeating the undefeated Mayweather.

That victory was met with critical praise from all corners and a massive outcry for Mayweather-Pacquiao to resolve pound-for-pound supremacy.

Ellerbe dismissed the level of post-fight hyperbole.

“People can put things in your mind and make you think you’re something you’re not,” Ellerbe said. “It was interesting to me, after the Pacquiao-Cotto fight, to hear journalists comparing Pacquiao to the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali. I want those same journalists to remember those words after the next fight, if a deal can be struck and this fight comes off.”

Ellerbe stressed that negotiations will not be framed based on financial results of the two recent pay-per-view fights, with Mayweather selling 1 million units and $52 million for his September win over Marquez, and Pacquiao selling 1.25 units and $70 million against Cotto.


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Instead, he points to their common pay-per-view opponents -- Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton -- and the superior numbers Mayweather did against all three, by comparison to Pacquiao.

“When the American public speaks, the numbers are quantifiable and irrefutable,” Ellerbe said. “That’s evidenced by the the market speaking. America speaks, and America has spoken.

“Floyd has done better numbers, both domestically and internationally. Floyd and Hatton did the largest number ever in the history of the U.K. They did a little more than 1 million homes, and Pacquiao did a little more than 300,000 homes with the same guy. Clearly, Floyd is a bigger star than Pacquiao.

Ellerbe said he could “discount” any possibility of Mayweather fighting a January tuneup, and said the focus is on Pacquiao first, with Shane Mosley the backup plan if Pacquiao doesn’t materialize and Mosley beats Andre Berto in January.

“It’s really quite easy,” Ellerbe said.

That’s exactly what the world wants to hear.

We’ll see if it turns out that way.

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