MANILA, Philippines - Unbeaten WBC welterweight and WBA “super” lightmiddleweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. plans to fight twice this year and there is speculation that while Manny Pacquiao is coming off a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, the Filipino icon remains a plausible opponent once he reestablishes his marketability with a resounding comeback win.
At the moment, Pacquiao is not in Mayweather’s agenda. A reliable source said Mayweather is “90 percent sure” of taking on interim WBC welterweight titlist and mandatory challenger Robert (The Ghost) Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather will then battle WBC lightmiddleweight champion Saul (Canelo) Alvarez of Mexico on Sept. 14 also at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Mayweather was recently quoted in media as advising Pacquiao to rejuvenate, take a vacation, spend time with his family and refocus. “He can bounce back, he’ll be okay,” said Mayweather.
It’s no secret that Mayweather has hemmed and hawed in negotiating a fight with Pacquiao because he dislikes Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. But before Pacquiao’s loss to Marquez, Arum said he offered Mayweather a whopping $100 Million guarantee to make the fight happen. Arum also said Pacquiao’s slice of the pie would be $80 Million. To sweeten the pot, Arum thought of providing a bonus of 10 percent of the action to the winner. Arum said Mayweather never called back to even react to his offer.
Arum was Mayweather’s promoter from 1996 to 2006. Then, Mayweather broke away and began promoting himself with Golden Boy, Top Rank’s fiercest competitor, playing a minor role as a caddy. Records show that after Mayweather struck out on his own, he earned his biggest paychecks. For facing Oscar de la Hoya in 2007, Mayweather took home $25 Million - which was Pacquiao’s guarantee for the fourth Marquez fight last month. In his last three bouts, Mayweather has pulled in at least $80 Million.
Writer Andreas Hale said the reason why the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight hasn’t happened is linked to economics. “This is about the business and who will be profiting off of whom,” said Hale. “If left up to Mayweather, Arum will never make another dime off of a boxer. The same can be said for Arum’s feelings toward Mayweather. Unfortunately for Pacquiao, he’s been a pawn in this rivalry and his allegiance to Arum has become problematic.”
Mayweather once reached out to Pacquiao and they spoke on the phone about a possible match-up. Nothing came out of the conversation. “I’m tired of the media and the people being fooled,” said Mayweather. “The truth is that Arum is not going to let the fight happen. It’s not on me. I offered Pacquiao $40 Million. I told him I’d wire him $20 Million in 48 hours but he wanted a 50/50 purse split. That’s not going to happen. He’s not breaking records for pay-per-view sales. I am. The public is being fooled. Once he is free from Arum, the fight will happen. This sport is grueling and I want Pacquiao to make money.”
Hale said Mayweather feels that Pacquiao is getting short-changed like he was when Arum was in his corner. “He feels Pacquiao isn’t seeing half of the money he is reportedly earning after Arum takes his cut and whatever other fees are coming out,” continued Hale. “For Mayweather to cough up half of the proceeds and see Arum collect a hefty paycheck sickens the undefeated Mayweather. Whether right or wrong, this is the sticking point and the primary reason why this fight hasn’t happened.”
A source said Mayweather will only deal with Pacquiao, not Arum. “That’s why Mayweather never called back Arum if the offer was ever made at all,” said the source. “Believe it or not, Mayweather has a soft spot in his heart for Pacquiao. He feels for Pacquiao and thinks he’s being exploited. It also has something to do with Pacquiao’s humble beginnings, humanity and Christianity.”
But Mayweather, who turns 36 on Feb. 24, isn’t waiting for Pacquiao to knock on his door. He’s moving forward with two fights this year. Mayweather hasn’t fought twice in a year since 2007 when he beat Ricky Hatton and De la Hoya. Since 2009, he has maintained a rate of one fight a year.
It appears likely that Mayweather’s next opponent will be Guerrero who decked Andre Berto twice en route to scoring a win by unanimous decision last November. Guerrero, 29, is unbeaten in his last 17 fights and hasn’t lost since bowing to Gamaliel Diaz on a split verdict in 2005. His record is 31-1-1, with 18 KOs compared to Mayweather’s 43-0, with 26 KOs.
Alvarez, 22, is another opponent in Mayweather’s radar. The speculation is Alvarez will meet WBA lightmiddleweight champion Austin Trout, who recently beat Miguel Cotto, in the May 4 undercard. If Mayweather and Alvarez win on May 4, they’ll advance to face off on Sept. 14. Both May 4 and Sept. 14 fall during Mexican holiday weekends.
As for Pacquiao, he’ll reenter Mayweather’s horizon with a big win in a comeback fight. Timothy Bradley could be Pacquiao’s next opponent but there is talk of a Marquez bout against the WBO welterweight champion. Mayweather’s adviser Leonard Ellerbe recently said anyone who fights Mayweather will make like he hit the jackpot in a lottery. Pacquiao could still be in the sweepstakes for a Mayweather fight.