February 19, 2015
February 19, 2015
Mayweather-Pacquiao1

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EVERY day somebody writes something about Manny Pacquiao fighting Floyd Mayweather.

They regurgitate information. They claim to have a ‘source’ who told them the fight will be announced on a particular day or time.

Some even claim they have offered a purse of $200m to stage the fight in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The president and CEO of a US-based promotions outfit, Akbar Muhammad, a former employee of Top Rank Promotions and Don King Productions, claimed few weeks ago that a group of investors in the UAE were willing to pay nearly US$200 million to finally get Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in a ring together, in Abu Dhabi.

“The group have offered Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s Mayweather Promotions $110m and Manny Pacquiao’s Top Rank $50m, to participate in the fight,” said Akbar Muhammad.

“I’ve been instructed by the group to do whatever it takes to bring this long-awaited and eagerly anticipated fight to fruition. There’s absolutely no doubt that each fighter, individually, will receive more money than any other boxer has in the past,” said Akbar Muhammad.

The “contract/letter of intent” which was sent to Leonard Ellerbe and Bob Arum by Muhammad through a New York based lawyer, named Ellen K Bromsen, reads:

As Chief Executive Officer of Mayweather Promotions, please be advised that Akbar Productions LLC is amending our prior proposal in order to offer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. the sum of $110,000,000 US to fight Manny Pacquiao in the United Arab Emirates in April/May 2015.

As you recall, Mr. Muhammad contacted you via email on Thursday, November 13, 2014 to convey Akbar Productions LLC’s first proposal. This proposal guaranteed that Mr. Mayweather would receive more in this one fight against Manny Pacquiao than any boxer had ever earned in history, more than Mr. Mayweather received in his last three fights combined.

“As stated herein, Akbar Productions LLC is increasing its offer to $110,000,000 US for Mr. Mayweather’s participation in this historical event. Please confirm via email that you have forwarded this proposal to Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

“Thanking you in advance for your anticipated cooperation. In the event that we do not speak, I wish you a pleasant Thanksgiving.

“The group” to which Akbar refers remains a mystery and its existence questioned. The author’s meetings with the chief of Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Dubai Sports Council revealed such an offer was made neither by the government, nor the royal family.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai has staged some of the biggest sporting events in world and if they aspire to stage a Mayweather–Pacquiao bout in the UAE, they wouldn’t use a middle man, they would approach the fighters directly.

Akbar Muhammad’s record at bringing high-profile fights to fruition has not been encouraging. In the past Muhammad tried and failed to stage a Lennox LewisMike Tyson heavyweight title fight in Nigeria in 2002. A Roy Jones Jnr title fight, proposed for Nairobi in 2003, did not materialise either.

It is not the first time Muhammad has made claims about staging a high-profile boxing event in the Middle East, nor being the man to bring Mayweather and Pacquiao together.

He claimed back in 2011 about a possible showdown between the pair in the Middle East. Muhammad was also involved in an attempt to stage Mike TysonEvander Holyfield III in Dubai around five years ago, which Tyson reportedly pulled out of.

Nonetheless, Muhammad has stated emphatically his intention both for partnering with Mayweather’s production company and in bringing high-profile fights here in the Middle East.

“We also envision that future fight cards in this part of the world, regardless if Mr. Mayweather fights on them or not, will be done with Mayweather Promotions as the lead promoter,” he said.

In my exclusive interview with Floyd Mayweather for The National back in February 2014, Mayweather expressed reluctance at fighting in Dubai.

“I don’t know that I would want to fight one of my last fights there. But, again, anything is possible,” he said.

In May last year, Dubai-based promoter Prince Amir Shafipour also claimed he could pull off staging Mayweather-Pacquiao, saying, “I am currently working with a major boxing promoter in the USA, who is connected to both the Pacquiao and Mayweather camps, and who has the capacity to help me pull this off.”

Top Rank chief Bob Arum believed Shafipour’s claim was a “scam”.

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @Dantani

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