Open Letter to Mayweather and Pacquiao

By David Matthew on January 24, 2012
Open Letter to Mayweather and Pacquiao
Warriors don’t allow miniscule details of contract law to get in the way of making a fight

Do Floyd and Manny really want to be the undisputed king of boxing, or do they just want to look good as elite fighters…

“Every now and then you gotta ask yourself: Do you really want to win, or just look good losing?”—Phonte Coleman

As we inch towards February with still no deal between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to fight in May in what would be the biggest mega-fight in decades, it’s time for both Floyd and Manny to boss up. At present, both fighters seem to be content with letting the fight slip away so as not to appease the other’s “demands.” This isn’t the stuff warriors are made of. Of course, boxing is a business, and in this instance—big business. That said, when the opportunity is there to forever enshrine your legacy as the greatest fighter of this era, warriors don’t allow miniscule details of contract law to get in the way. Unfortunately, both the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps are operating more like stubborn lawyers unwilling to mediate a conflict than warriors who are hungry to pursue a chance at ultimate glory that only a handful of fighters have tasted throughout the sport’s history.

In the wise words of Little Brother’s Phonte Coleman, it’s time for fans to pose this question to both Floyd and Manny: Do you really want to win, or just look good losing? Sure, Floyd can fight a number of guys on May 5th not named Pacquiao (Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, Andre Berto etc.), but it’s a lose-lose for Floyd. Regardless who he fights on May 5th, if it’s not Pacquiao he will receive widespread criticism, even if he looks spectacular. Similarly, Manny can go ahead and fight one of the guys Arum has “prepared” for him: Tim Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Lamont Peterson, or Miguel Cotto. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Manny could fight in June and look as dynamic as ever, yet it would do nothing to enhance his legacy and answer the burning question on everyone’s mind: Who is the better fighter of this era—Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao? Further, imagine if either Floyd or Manny are upset in their next fight. All of a sudden the mega-fight of the new century that everyone is waiting for would instantly lose its luster, and fans would be robbed of the definitive matchup in boxing that could conceivably compete with epic rivalries of the past. So, do Floyd and Manny really want to be the undisputed king of boxing, or do they just want to look good as elite fighters that allowed their singular opportunity at boxing immortality slip away because of childish arguments and bad faith negotiations?

It’s not just that fans will be frustrated at having never seen Floyd and Manny face off against each other, but Floyd and Manny themselves will someday regret never testing their mettle to the fullest extent should they choose to shy away from the confrontation. In an extraordinarily synergistic display of timing and star alignment, Mayweather and Pacquiao are both all-time greats who happen to be around the same age, fighting at the same weight class, at the same time. Despite this, there are more cited reasons amongst both camps to not make the fight happen than there are to actually go forward in good faith and get the deal done. Sadly, both camps have failed to deliver in negotiations that have become fractured seemingly beyond repair.

Enough is enough.

I truly question whether either guy really wants the fight. Both Floyd and Manny claim that they want to make this fight happen “for the fans”—yet both camps have prevented the fight from happening for one reason or another. First it was Floyd’s insistence on heightened drug-testing that stained the negotiations. After Manny looked as dynamic as ever in dispatching Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito, there lacked any sense of urgency from Mayweather’s camp to make the fight happen. Whether it was because of a genuine belief that Manny was using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) or simply strategic maneuvering by Floyd to wait until Manny slows down a bit, the fight didn’t happen at a time when Pacquiao seemed more than willing to make it happen.

Then there was the infamous time-ticker on the Top Rank website courtesy of Bob Arum that gave Mayweather a “countdown” deadline to negotiate. This set off a string of media stunts where Arum would publicly criticize Mayweather, yet failed to show any real desire to want to negotiate with Mayweather. “He doesn’t want to fight Manny because he knows he’ll lose” were the words Arum would often exclaim. Unfortunately for the boxing world, it seemed as if Arum was more intent on publicly disparaging Mayweather’s reputation than he was on actually getting a deal done to deliver the fight.

Now, at a time when Mayweather has recommitted himself to the sport and actually seems to be the fighter initiating negotiations, it’s Team Pacquiao that has turned lukewarm to the notion of a showdown. After Pacquiao clawed his way to a controversial victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in November in a fight most experts felt he lost, Floyd smelled blood in the water and began instantly calling out Pacquiao, who suddenly looked more vulnerable than ever. But Arum claimed that the fight couldn’t happen in May because it looked like Mayweather was heading to jail. Then, after a Nevada judge delayed Mayweather’s sentencing to accommodate a May 5th superfight, Arum instantly changed his tune and claimed that Pacquiao was now fighting in June against an opponent not named Mayweather. Come on, Bob.

Of course Arum and Mayweather have history. Mayweather was once a Top Rank fighter under Arum’s managing umbrella, but in 2006 Floyd parted ways with Arum as he felt that Arum was too in control of Floyd’s dealing and finances. While the move proved to be revolutionary for Mayweather, who has since become the sport’s biggest PPV draw and its highest paid athlete, it has spelled disaster for boxing as Arum and Floyd maintain extreme bitterness towards one another that has repeatedly prevented them from negotiating in good faith. Arum is known for insisting on in-house fights, only wanting to match fighters from his own stable against each other. Mayweather is known for wanting to nothing to do with Arum to the point where he hires Golden Boy Promotions to negotiate on his behalf. This exposes a deeper problem in boxing: a broken organizational structure that enables a rift between a promoter and fighter to send shockwaves throughout the sport, fracturing matchmaking, and preventing the best fights from happening year after year. Imagine if Pat Riley had a beef with Kobe Bryant and thus refused to match Lebron James and the Miami Heat against the Lakers, ever. Absurd, right? That is precisely what is happening in the sport of boxing, and the sport has had enough of it.

It’s time for Manny to boss up and demand that Arum make the fight. Manny has often claimed that he will even make concessions in order to make the fight because he realizes how much the fans and people want to see him match up against Mayweather. Well, where’s that willingness now, Manny?  While some claim that Manny wants the fight and it’s Arum that’s getting in the way, they fail to realize that Manny can do whatever he wants at this stage of his career. If he really wanted the Mayweather fight, he would demand that Arum make the fight happen. Instead, we get another circus of excuses and cloudy quotes from obscure media sources about Manny’s stance on the fight.

For Floyd, it’s time to put a halt to the trash-talking—at least until the fight is made. As of now, it’s all bark, no bite. Floyd was recently quoted by ESPN as saying that he wouldn’t accept a 50/50 split with Manny. While it’s true that Manny once agreed that he wouldn’t take a 50/50 split against Floyd—that was in the past. It’s time for Floyd to realize that while he indeed is the PPV king, Manny is the most popular name in the sport worldwide and is Floyd’s equal in terms of an ability to generate massive revenue and captivate fight fans. If Floyd truly believes it will be easy work against Manny, just accept a 50/50 split (which is the appropriate split of revenue anyway) and prove it. After all, we all know that both Floyd and Manny will rake in record paydays in a fight that could pay them more money than any fighter in the history of the sport has ever earned. Thus, does it really matter if it’s a 50/50 split, or a 60/40 split? Hardly.

There is nothing stopping this fight from happening in May except for the respective egos of those involved in the negotiations. So on behalf of the boxing community and the sports community en masse, we ask Floyd and Manny to do something for all of the fans who have supported their PPV fights year after year, making them bigger stars and wealthier fighters than they ever could have imagined. For the sake of the fans, the sport, and your respective legacies—put ink to paper and back your words up with a signed contract…or stop talking about the fight altogether. You’re making boxing look bad and even worse—you’re making yourselves look bad.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. speaxy 11:26am, 02/02/2012

    The fight of Pacquaio and Mayweather is on. Just analyze how they fought their common challengers. watta fun. they have all the alibis. watta boxing?

  2. JC45 09:43pm, 01/29/2012

    I reckon interest in this fight is waning fast, it peaked two years ago. Even on most boxing sites there are way less comments on any Floyd-Manny article than there were even say 6 months ago.

  3. anonymous 05:17pm, 01/29/2012

    so much words mr. gayweather…if you really want to fight pacquiao..enough with the words….it’s too obvious that you are scared and those leftovers that you are saying are good are even scared of fighting cotto….c’mon..!! you’re the one who needs to wake up…!!!!

  4. anonnous 05:01pm, 01/29/2012

    this fight will never happen, if they will look at the money at stake…it should be the pride of being the undisputed fighter of their real men..!!!!! don’t make money the reason for you guys not to fight each other…besides if it will not happen, you will both lose the chance of being king of boxing though you guys set records…you guys have lots of money, but do you guys have pride..?

  5. speaxy 03:47pm, 01/28/2012

    The true fighters are no excuses. Pacquiao and Mayweather must prove to their fans who is the undisputed pound for pound boxer of all time. When is the fight? For me 50-50 is very agreeable. This year is the best for them.

  6. jofre 12:43pm, 01/26/2012

    It’s now to the point where I will definitely boycott any fight invloving Mayweather. He is doing all he can to delay the fight until he is sure he can take the Pacman and retire undefeated. It’s crazy becasue he has the peerfect style and skill set to beat the Pacman and I would make him a heavy favorite. Although in my heart I’d be rooting for Manny to destroy him.

  7. Gajjers 01:20am, 01/25/2012

    I agree with all you guys; it’s a shame that we’ve been held to ransom by these two (and their brain trusts) by dint of our passion for the sport. It’s tough enough beating the boxing drum to casual sports fans these days, and these prima donnas were perfectly poised to make a massive difference, only for them to turn that opportunity into a 3-year(and counting) ego trip. I hope this carousel doesn’t set a precedent for future marquee performers. Actually, I’m hoping there’s a fighter coming down the pipe with the right stuff to help us ditch these self-serving stars & get rid of the sour taste this mess has left in our mouths.

  8. the thresher 05:34pm, 01/24/2012

    Angelo Lefty has the beat

  9. David Matthew 04:35pm, 01/24/2012

    well-said, thresh.  I would certainly like to see that.  That’s the diff. between ‘good faith’ and ‘bad faith’ negotiations.  Those impartial of the GBP/Arum/Floyd bickering could get a deal done in no time.  At present,  we have relations so bad that it doesn’t even matter if the contract is pristine and appeasing to both camps, it won’t be signed because of this childish grudge that is handicapping the sport.

  10. Angelo Lefty 04:32pm, 01/24/2012

    Gotta roll with you on this one Thresh this is insane and very girly! These look like 2 high school bullies who are afraid to fight each other and the whole school wants to see it! Wow no long paragraph for me these guys and there promoters make me ill @ the sport I love sooo much…..................

  11. the thresher 03:49pm, 01/24/2012

    What the guys need to do is find a sharp lawyer who is an expert on Contract and business law and have him or her figure out a way in which to promote this fight without a middleman. Pay the lawyer a fee and then get on with it.

    Let De La Hoya, Arum, and all the rest of these bottom feeders sit on the sidelines and see how they respond. This could be a business model for elite fighters—but only elite fighters.

    When the promoters get in the way because they personally want a BIG cut of the action, it’s time to get rid of them.

    What law says they are required?

    As I have stated before, Camacho did this and kept a lot of money in the process.

    Just saying…..

  12. the thresher 03:01pm, 01/24/2012

    Wasn’t there a song that began….“Does anyone really care….?”

    It has gotten to the point with me that as soon as I see their names or that of GBP or Arum, I simply ignore them and move on. However, since you are a fellow-writer on, I shall give your article my full attention. lol

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