the news broke on Friday that Floyd Mayweather would not have to report to prison
till June 1st, the immediate focus turned to the possibility of a
May 5th showdown between “Money” and Manny Pacquiao. It’s a fight that has been
talked about ad nauseam for two years now with no real progress in coming to
fruition. However, the reality is that this fight is no closer to happening
than it was before. In fact, it says here that this most recent legal maneuvering
in Nevada ensures this fight is off the books for 2012. And please, folks,
don't kill the messenger. I can pander to you guys by telling you what you want
or I can tell you the truth.
go with the latter.
bottom line is that on May 5th, Mayweather- as long as he was a free
man- was going to face another Golden Boy Promotions client (as he has
exclusively since 2007) and Pacquiao already had his quartet of choices lined
up for him by Bob Arum (who he meets this week in the Philippines).
now place the blame squarely on Arum, who certainly shares some it in this
quagmire with his ever-changing stories and double-talk. This latest episode
has been to Arum what the “swift-boat” was to John Kerry. But he's just one
component of why this fight hasn't taken place.
real reason is simple: for both boxers, economically, it really doesn't have
I said it (and please, save all your emails talking about “legacy” and how “important”
it is for the business of boxing. If you believe that, well, I suggest you
update your pound-for-pound rankings while you're at it).
fans say that both boxers need each other. Economic reality says that Manny and
Floyd don't need each other at all from a fiscal perspective. That may seem
counterintuitive but, financially, they are doing just fine without each other
as they both face handpicked opposition in multimillion-dollar showcases. In
the risk/reward pendulum, they cannot only face foes who are heavy underdogs
but they can also pay them less than 10 percent of what they themselves are
guaranteed (for instance, while Mayweather's guarantee in September was over
$20 million, Victor Ortiz, coming off his big win over Andre Berto, was
promised just $2.5 million) Profit margins like that simply wouldn't exist if
they fought each other over every last percentage point.
all like to have this romantic notion that prizefighters participate in these
contests for such things as “legacy” (there's that word again), honor and
pride. Really, they fight for the best deal possible (I mean, the very word “prizefighter”
suggests this is the most honest reason why they get into this profession). I
mean, let's face it; none of them would do this for free- nor should they be
expected to. At the level where Pacquiao and Mayweather reside, they are now
more businessmen than boxers.
let's get to the nuts and bolts of the matter- the money. I've asked a few
people to see just how much this fight might be worth (and these are all
ballpark figures and estimations I got from industry insiders who have an acute
knowledge of such proceedings). If you believe this bout will be the most
purchased pay-per-view card of all-time, surpassing the 2.4 million buys for
Mayweather's breakout fight versus Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, then we'll go with
the calculations of 2.5 million buys at $75 a head (and you just know they will
jack up the price for this one). That means $187.5 million of revenue, of which
about half goes to the cable distributors and operators. So that's around $94
million to begin with for the promotion.
you have the site fee (which is a big bone of contention from the two sides)
but let’s say the MGM Grand ponies up $20 million. The foreign rights of this
fight bring in around $30 million; then you get around $10 million in sponsors
followed by $2.5 million in delay and rebroadcast rights. Also, there are
closed-circuit sales which are worth several million in revenue.
for the costs, an international press tour and marketing will cost upwards of
$5 million, the undercard (and we hope they'd put on a good one) around $2
million; the production of the show from inside the arena could run another $1
million. So even then, that's a lot of money, nearly $150 million. Certainly
everyone can be assuaged then, right?
if the rumors and reports of Mayweather asking for $100 million are to be
believed. Let's say you can talk him down to a mere $75 million. Even if that
was achieved, it can be safely assumed that Pacquiao will receive right around
that same amount. You see what I'm getting at here? (One promoter who's been
involved in numerous major pay-per-view promotions believes the number above is
highly inflated and the figure closer to reality and availability would be in
the neighborhood of $100 million.)
now, both of these guys make around $35-$40 million a fight by facing the likes
of Ortiz, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley and- soon- Saul
Alvarez, Robert Guerrero, Lamont Peterson or Tim Bradley. If it’s your opinion
that $50 million apiece down the line is fair for both fighters (which would
leave plenty of money for everyone else involved to profit based on the
original estimate and- trust me- guys like Arum and his nemesis, Al Haymon,
aren't doing this without getting their cut) and the powers that be can
get them to accept that, then you might have a fight- but we go back to the
risk vs. reward pendulum. If you're already making the aforementioned amount for
whom you have recently faced, is it worth the risk for either of them to face
the most threatening opponent out there for a “mere” $50 million?
who really thinks this will be an easy and magnanimous negotiation? There is
still a huge personal animus regarding Mayweather, Arum, Haymon and Golden Boy.)
longtime observer of the boxing business pointed out to me that it was easy for
Roberto Duran to face Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980 in Montreal for a couple million
dollars because in the previous fights, he was making around $250-300,000 a
fight. “That's why those fights were able to be made,” said this insider, who
added, “I mean, that means you'd have to pay Floyd like $175 million based on what
he's made recently.” But this isn't all about Mayweather's demand? While
Pacquiao may not blithely burn money or “make it rain” in front of HBO cameras,
he lives a lifestyle that is every bit as opulent and lavish as his counterpart.
It's not unusual for him to get cash advances from Top Rank. Trust me; “Pac-Man”
wants to get paid every bit as much as Mayweather does.
now, the only thing taking place is posturing. The endgame is to act as if they
are serious about making this fight a reality while all along planning to take another
relatively easy payday (yet having the right to point the finger at each other).
(Right now, Mayweather's side has out-Karl Rove'd Pacquiao and Arum) And guess
what? It's worked because while there is the familiar gnashing of teeth and
outrage from the fans, looking at the raw numbers, this subterfuge has proven
to be successful. Both boxers are now franchises who can count on the support
of these blind loyalists, no matter who they face.
not each other. This debate is now more heated than anything involving Republicans
long as you, Joe Public, support either man, the chances are that this fight
will not take place until long after the sell-by date on this match-up passes,
when they finally have no choice but to face each other. Or it could be this
generation’s version of Riddick Bowe-Lennox Lewis, another heavily anticipated
bout that never took place as it was bogged down in egos and politics. While
everyone says that boxing needs this fight, as I said before, these two don't
necessarily need other (not yet, at least).
there is a lot of money on the table, there just isn't enough.
if we lived in a world where boxers and their handlers really cared about stuff
like “legacy” and historical standing, we'd get this fight. Unfortunately, we
don't and so what boxing really is- and always has been; don't fool yourself-
is a series of business deals that make sense for those involved.
promoter I spoke to told me that perhaps that best way to make this fight would
be for both Pacquiao and Mayweather to agree to a straight-up 50/50 split of
the profits with no guarantees. Now that's old-school. There was a time when
major fighters were paid off the gate, so there was more of a premium on facing
better opponents and being in entertaining affairs. But television has forever
altered this industry.
that sounds great in theory, it will never happen in this current era. From the
time they are anointed stars by HBO or Showtime, too many fighters nowadays are
accustomed to getting guaranteed purses- whether they have 15 people in the
stands or 50 viewers at home. I've said for a long while that a market
correction is needed in the boxing business. Beyond that, perhaps a new model
in which fighters’ values are gauged is a necessity.
Pacquiao and Mayweather, it's hard to say they are overpaid. Their pay-per-view
numbers and gate receipts show that perhaps, they are among the very few who
aren't. In a painful irony for many boxing fans, it's probably what's keeping
regard to Mayweather, I've said it before; those in charge in Nevada are there
to protect the interests of the gaming and casino industries. This ruling by Judge
Melissa Saragosa just proves it. But to that point, why not just give
Mayweather an option of fighting again in 2012 instead of serving his time. He
could give the proceeds to the state and call it a form of “community service”?
(I'll let you guys decide if I'm making a tongue-in-cheek statement or not.)
don't even know what to say about Amir Khan and his actions since his loss to
Lamont Peterson. I don't think I can remember anyone who has done more to
destroy the goodwill from a memorable night quite like he has. Maybe it's just
me or is it just Golden Boy who is always talking about appeals and protests in
the wake of losses? Perhaps they are taking the lead of the man whose silhouette
graces the company’s logo. Has he ever launched his investigation into the
judging of his rematch with Shane Mosley?
as important, has he ever granted Felix Sturm a rematch?
had Ray Beltran defeating Luis Ramos by a couple of points (but my opinion
doesn't count) on Friday night in what turned out to be an excellent edition of
“ShoBox” promoted by Golden Boy...Omar Figueroa just flat out out-toughed Mike
Perez in that opener, taking the air out of his balloon with body shots...Will
it be 2007 all over again when the G-Men go back up to Lambeau Field to face
the Packers next week?...There will be a touchdown in the BCS title game
between LSU and ‘Bama, right?...I dunno but watching “Solo Boxeo” on Saturday
night just isn't the same...