Thursday, January 29, 2015

Adviser decidedly more optimistic about likelihood of Mayweather-Pacquiao bout

A key member of Manny Pacquiao's staff told Yahoo Sports on Thursday he is optimistic an agreement can be reached to finalize a bout between the Filipino congressman and Floyd Mayweather Jr., the pound-for-pound top fighter in the world.

After a chance encounter between the fighters Tuesday at the Miami Heat-Milwaukee Bucks NBA game at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Mayweather visited Pacqiuao in his suite at the Trump National Doral hotel later that night.

Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz called the meeting highly productive and said he is optimistic that the long-awaited fight can finally be made.

Pacquiao said earlier in January that he had agreed to all of Mayweather's terms and conditions. Executives for Showtime, which has an exclusive contract with Mayweather, and HBO, which has a deal with Pacquiao, have worked out many of the issues between them relating to the broadcast.

In the Tuesday meeting in Pacquiao's suite, Mayweather expressed concern about what Koncz called broadcast issues, but he said they were quickly resolved after a conversation with Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum and HBO CEO Richard Plepler.

"We talked to Bob and Richard and got that handled pretty quickly," Koncz said.

Koncz said he is more optimistic now than he was last week, when he accompanied Pacquiao to England for a meeting with Prince Harry. During that trip to London, Koncz and Pacquiao met with Amir Khan to see if he was interested in facing Pacquiao in the event a Mayweather-Pacquiao match couldn't be made. Khan said he was and indicated to Pacquiao that he was free and available to take the fight if it is offered.

Pacquiao had earlier this month said he would begin talking to other potential opponents in earnest in February if he didn't have a deal by with Mayweather by that point.

The chance meeting at the Heat-Bucks game seems to have reinvigorated the process. Pacquiao was supposed to have flown to Los Angeles that day after having served Sunday as a judge at the Miss Universe pageant, but because of the weather on the East Coast, his flight was canceled.
He is friends with Heat coach Eric Spoelstra, who is of Filipino descent, and went to the game. Mayweather also happened to attend and came over to speak briefly to Pacquiao at halftime.

"For the most part, it was just Floyd, Manny and I in the [hotel] room and it was a very good conversation," Koncz said. "I think Floyd is sincere about wanting the fight, I really do. I know Manny has wanted it and he's ready to fight and has been for a while. So I'm very optimistic. I really am.

"Nobody can stop this. I can't stop it. Bob can't stop it. HBO can't stop it. Showtime can't. [Mayweather adviser] Al [Haymon] can't. The only ones who can stop it are Floyd and Manny, and right now, they're both saying they want the fight."

Pacquiao is staying in the U.S. through the end of next week. He's going to spend the weekend in Los Angeles, but on Tuesday plans to fly Washington, D.C., to attend the National Prayer Breakfast with his wife, Jinkee, on Feb. 5. President Obama is expected to attend the event with the Dalai Lama.

The fight, if it is finalized, would be held May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Many of the details of the fight are complete, including minutaie such as the type of gloves the fighters will wear, who will walk first to the ring and who will be announced last.

But Koncz said Pacquiao, who has agreed to a 60-40 financial split that favors Mayweather, is doing whatever he can to make the fight.

"We're treating him as the A side in this because we just want to get it done and we want to give the fans what they've been asking for, for years," Koncz said.

If the fight is made, the announcement will come from Mayweather. Mayweather has used social media, including Twitter and Shots, to announce his last several fights.

Koncz said Mayweather wants to make the announcement, and that he and Pacquiao agreed.

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