HAVING been the man in Manny Pacquiao’s ear for many years, Michael Koncz was heavily involved in the lengthy negotiations that led to the Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight being agreed. As Pacquiao’s adviser, he had a large stake in the process and has expressed his relief that one of the biggest fights in boxing history has come to fruition. He was also the only other person in the room when the two fighters met in a Miami hotel last month to discuss the clash, a meeting he describes as the main catalyst for it being finalised.
What does this fight mean for the sport? Is it the biggest fight ever?
It is the Superbowl of boxing. The sport has been dying down and this fight is absolutely essential for the sport.
Were you ever worried it would never happen?
Absolutely. We’ve been trying this for six years, so I think I had good reason to worry. Once we met in Miami last month and had the subsequent meeting in the hotel room, I felt much more comfortable about it happening.
Was that meeting the major turning point then?
Yes, I believe it was the turning point. I don’t want to get into the details of the meeting, but Manny and Floyd had an opportunity to see eye to eye, they both wanted the fight, they were both sincere about it and like I told them, if they both wanted the fight then nobody could stop them. I think, after that, the mood and the atmosphere of the negotiations all changed.
How difficult were the negotiations?
Like I said, we’ve been trying this for six years and anytime you deal with something of this magnitude, it’s always difficult. Both sides have great people that were involved in the negotiations and I tip my hat to them and I tip my hat to Floyd for stepping up to the plate and accepting it.
How relieved are you that the fight has finally been made?
There’s a tremendous sense of relief. I’m very happy and it feels like four bricks have been taken off my shoulders, there was a lot of pressure to get this done.
How has it compared to other fights/promotions you’ve been involved in?
There’s nothing to compare it to, it’s that big, there’s no comparison.
Pacquiao has been installed as the underdog by bookmakers, do you think that’s accurate?
It is always better to come in as the underdog rather than the favourite. There’s less pressure. Manny was the underdog in the [Oscar] De La Hoya fight also, and look what happened there. We prefer being in this position. I’m very confident that Manny will win this fight.
Manny has said he is treating this fight like any other. Are you and the rest of the team doing the same? Is it possible to treat a fight this big like any other?
No, it’s not possible to treat it like any other. Manny is always focused and never underestimates opponents, so I think that’s what he meant when he said that. But you can see in his eyes the excitement he has to get this done and over with, and give the fans what they want.
Do you see anything different in Pacquiao in his approach to this fight and in how much he wanted to get it made?
Well he wanted to get this done because he was getting tired of people continually asking him when it’s going to happen, and that gets very tiring when you don’t have control over the answer. Manny has been prepared to do this fight for two or three years and it is always something, not that I’m talking bad about Floyd or anything, but it is something that never happened until now. You can see there’s a glint in Manny’s eyes, that he’s excited to get this done and after May 2 the fans can decide who is the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound, Manny or Floyd. Whoever wins deserves that title.