SMOKE Bob Arum a kipper, he’ll be back for breakfast.
The 83-year-old has regurgitated so many red herrings during the latest round of Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao negotiations it’s becoming very hard to take the veteran promoter seriously.
At best, the Top Rank boss and promoter of Pacquiao is delivering enough information to the public that, (a) he appears to retain control as interest in this perennially elusive matchup builds throughout this fraught process, and (b) should the talks break down – which is always possible – he absolves himself from blame.
However, at worst Arum – who has been involved in boxing for longer than the majority of fans clamouring for this fight have been alive – is insulting the intelligence of all involved, the public included, and is potentially ruining any chance of the contest ever being signed with his scatter gun announcements.
On January 30, just days after Pacquiao and Mayweather were photographed together at a basketball game and held a subsequent meeting in a Miami hotel room, Arum told The New York Post that a deal would likely be finalised within “a couple of days”.
This week the veteran promoter told the Associated Press’ Tim Dahlberg that rival TV networks HBO and Showtime had come to an agreement to broadcast the superfight.
“We had four issues and we resolved two,” said Arum. “Now we’re working on resolving the other two. Unless something else comes up at the last minute, that’s what my take is.”
As soon as Arum’s comments were voiced, they were challenged.
Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president for Showtime Sports, told AP no deal has been reached.
“There are a few significant issues remaining on both the fighter side and the network side of this deal,” Espinoza said. “While we are optimistic, it’s a bit premature to say that the networks are in total agreement.”
Since this welterweight bout has been thrust back into the boxing limelight – it’s been gathering momentum since Pacquiao thrashed Chris Algieri in November – Espinoza has regularly injected reality into this dream match.
But Arum has not been so consistent.
One day he says it’s going to happen. The next he’s exasperated and not so sure. Although those blurry views and emotions are shared by almost everyone, he is one of the few from whom we should be able to expect facts. Again, let’s not blame him for not having all the answers but surely – in negotiations as delicate as these – it would better to say nothing until there was something to say. Even Pacquiao’s team, according to Yahoo Sport’s Kevin Iole, “has gotten upset at Arum’s willingness to go on the record with comments that often don’t add up.”
It is well known that Mayweather has little respect for Arum, once famously telling Pacquiao he would never fight him unless he ditched the promoter, and it’s likely he will find these latest outbursts an annoyance.
The unbeaten American, who by most accounts is at last willing to take this fight, yesterday added a photograph of himself and Pacquiao at last week’s meeting with the message: “I set up this meeting with Manny Pacquiao to get this fight done but they will continue to tell the public it’s us and that’s NOT TRUE…”
It’s clear the fight is not dead in the water, but until it’s truly swimming, Bob Arum will be saying it best by saying nothing at all.
Douglas: “What had been a wonderful childhood dream come true became a nightmare…”
Holyfield: “Mike looked at me and I looked at Mike, I made it clear that whatever he did, however he played, I would do it all night…”
Lewis: “All of a sudden Tyson turned into King Kong. Where did that guy come from?…”
Williams: “It was the second or third round when I just thought, ‘Forget it, I’m going to war with you.’…”
McBride: “Thank God he had the mouthpiece in, or I’d be the only guy in Ireland with just one nipple…”