Monday, November 30, 2009

No financial road blocks to Pacquiao-Mayweather

Word is that the first meeting last week between Manny Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum and Floyd Mayweather representative Richard Schaefer was so good that "it was almost shocking," one anonymous boxing business source said.

Top Rank's Arum and Schaefer, who is CEO of Golden Boy Productions, have a strong relationship, and it was just the two of them who sat down for a face-to-face lunch with no attorneys present to hash out the numbers and take them back to the fighters. There's a gag order in effect until the negotiating process reaches its conclusion, but there were no major hangups regarding money for a fight Arum previously said could generate $80 million in revenue. The best indications are that a deal is very close with only some relatively small details remaining to be worked out.

The target date for the fight looks like May 1, but there's no indication yet of the site. Las Vegas casino owners have offered to construct a temporary stadium on the Strip, and Arum also has an offer from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to hold the welterweight title bout in the Cowboys' new stadium.

It should be noted this is just the beginning of a process. Mayweather has been known to make difficult demands in the past, and Pacquiao is back in the Philippines, where he works through his attorneys. No contracts have been drawn up yet and Arum and Schaefer are likely to meet again soon. But the simple fact that no major financial roadblocks came up in the first meeting is the best indication that the fight the public wants to see will get done. And soon.

Pavlik injury a sour note

For a sport that is supposed to be on the ropes, the news about Pacquiao-Mayweather plus a crowded calendar in December and January would seem to indicate the boxing business is thriving. The only disappointment is that WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik's hand injury took him out of a planned meeting with Paul Williams Saturday in Atlantic City.

Williams' promoter Dan Goosen kept the Dec. 5 date on HBO and substituted Sergio Martinez for Pavlik. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, where Pavlik was treated for what has been described as a life-threatening staph infection on his right hand, at first indicated Pavlik would be ready for Williams. But when he couldn't make a fist a month ago, Pavlik dropped off the card.

Now, Pavlik is slotted into a pay-per-view card two weeks later on Dec. 19 against Miguel Espino. He still wants to fight Williams eventually, but now Martinez and Espino stand in the way.

Gamboa faces Mtagwa

On Thursday, a news conference has been scheduled to announce the return of Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez to Madison Square Garden after their rousing doubleheader last month. Once again, they won't be facing each other.

After struggling to hang on at the end of a win over tough Tanzanian Rogers Mtagwa, Lopez asked to move up from 122 to 126, where he will meet WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano. After Lopez said Gamboa should have to fight Mtagwa first before fighting him, the Cuban volunteered on the spot to put his WBA featherweight title on the line against Mtagwa, who fights out of Philadelphia. The show is scheduled for Jan. 23 at WaMu Theater at the Garden and will be televised live on HBO's "Boxing After Dark."

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