At this point, I’d almost prefer that Mayweather and Pacquiao not fight and that the massive failure in putting together what should’ve been a slam dunk mega-event stand as a perpetual reminder of just how hopelessly inept the boxing media truly is.
You can blame Arum or Manny or Floyd or Al Haymon if you like. The reality is that someone at some point (or, more likely, several people at several points) took the largest event in the history of our sport and intentionally crashed that Titanic into the side of a mountain, just to cash out on scrap metal. And they got the free reign to do this because they were able to lead the media around by their laminated press passes, killing the possibility of civil and proper negotiations by floating rumors, lies, and flat-out deceit into the public discourse.
Now, five years deep into this debacle, yet another wave of “negotiations are happening” talk has hit the public. This time, some of the more reasonable boxing media folks and astute boxing fans are giving it a bit more credence since the stories are coming from places like the LA Times and not from the barely literate “citizen journalists” of a prime Examiner.com or crazy-eyed penny-click journalists like “Scoop” Malinowski.
The story goes that “a boxing official” speaking “on condition of anonymity” has informed the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire that not only are Mayweather-Pacquiao talks ongoing, but that talks are “making progress” and that an announcement could be made as soon as within the next seven to ten days. Drug testing, purse split, venue are all agreed upon according to this anonymous source and, from the positive tone of it all, the actual signing of contracts is pretty much a formality at this point.
This story is the continuation of assertions made by Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum at the end of November, which implied that talks were actually ongoing and insinuated that CBS mega-exec Les Moonves was actually involved to some vague degree.
According to Arum (and to all those subsequently passing along anonymous updates of these negotiations since then), there is a gag order in place preventing anyone from talking about these talks.
Yet, a gag order doesn’t prevent someone from actually acknowledging the existence of any such talks and, so far, only Arum and insiders from Team Pacquiao have publicly acknowledged these heated and allegedly fruitful negotiations.
Team Mayweather has said literally nothing about all of this– unless bouncing ass videos and “choose my sunglasses for the club” social media polls are meant to be some sort of coded public response.
It’s curious that when Mayweather took to Showtime to issue his Pacquiao challenge in December, he failed to mention that he was already supposed to be about two weeks deep into talks. It sure seemed to this untrained ear that Mayweather was shouting about the start of a coming together and not the hope that continued communications would result in finalizing a deal.
This wouldn’t be the first time in the five-year life of Pacquiao-Mayweather insanity that Team Pacquiao has claimed talks to be ongoing while Team Mayweather wonders why they were never included in such talks.
This also wouldn’t be the first time that Lance Pugmire of the LA Times would be used as an Arum sounding board for some sort of Mayweather-Pacquiao misdirection.
Remember, it was Pugmire who first got whiff from Arum of the elaborate 40,000 seat outdoor arena the promoter allegedly wanted constructed in 2012, the last time Mayweather took the initiative and publicly called for a Pacquiao bout to happen. At the time, Arum claimed that the bout couldn’t happen so soon after the challenge (and after Mayweather would actually call Pacquiao with an initial monetary offer) for many reasons, but that the proposed arena construction was one of them. To the best of my knowledge, no follow-up questions regarding that arena have ever been issued.
Maybe this latest round of Mayweather-Pacquiao buzz has more merit than the previous rounds. Maybe we can overlook the fact that, like in all previous cases of proven, intentional misdirection, all information is being leaked by only those with ties to Arum. Maybe this mysterious and anonymous “official” is somebody not drawing a paycheck from Pacquiao and/or Arum.
But no matter how certain the stories are or how credible the reporter appears to be, the boxing media will be boxing media– thirsty for the big story and willing to gamble that if it all turns out to be BS, the public will have long forgotten who helped shovel around the excrement in the very beginning.
It’s hard not to be cynical at this point. After all, a pattern has been established here– and it’s not even an all that bright con. Just claim that secret talks are happening and progressing, create a fake stall in those fake talks, issue a bogus deadline, and blame Mayweather when things never materialize. And when push comes to shove, will the guilty media dig in, admit to their mistakes in jumping on an unverified story or will they simply dig in deeper, double down on the one-sided story they pushed along and point the finger at the unlikeable Mayweather? There’s no need to answer that question.
Until something is confirmed by BOTH parties, it’s probably time to come up with one general statement regarding all things Mayweather-Pacquiao…Maybe something a little like this:
When it comes to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, please kindly disregard any and all info issued by the media– unless such info has been confirmed by the camps of both fighters.
Unfortunately, our current media has better things to do than to consider silly concepts like critical thought or engage in even the smallest amount of due diligence in actually confirming that the same lines used to hustle them repeatedly for the last five years aren’t just being recycled for another go ’round.
Thank you for your understanding. Most of our media is paid quite poorly and just involved because reporting on boxing is a really cool hobby. Those that do make a decent living are only allowed their cushy gigs because they are conveniently useful idiots.
You can email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or listen to his weekly Boxing News/Zombie Preparedness podcast, “Left Hook to the Brain.” Oh yeah, and buy his book: Notes from the Boxing Underground! Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kids’ Club, a born iconoclast, and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.