After being captivated once again last Saturday night by the flawed genius of Manny Pacquaio’s pulsating fighting style my joy quickly turned to despair upon hearing his familiar post fight statement that ‘my promoter Bob Arum will decide who I fight next. I am a fighter, my job is to fight’.
The ‘Fighting Pride of Philippines’ is once again a World champion after he exacted revenge against Tim Bradley in there rematch, in doing so reclaiming his WBO Welterweight title he ‘lost’ to the Desert Storm in a ridiculous decision in 2012. After his performance, Pacquaio is now again near the top of the Pound for Pound rankings in the sport. Also, in a few months time he could be free to pursue the most prominent pugilists in the talent rich 147lb division, including Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
However, despite his contract with Top Rank expiring in December, his aforementioned statement indicates that Pacquaio has no real desire to defect from Bob Arum’s dwindling stable in order to chase career defining fights and paydays free of constraint in 2015. To many observers this seems unfathomable. Pacquaio has long since established himself as one of the most popular and profitable P-P-V prizefighters in the sport, so why, at this late stage of his career, does he even need to be tied to one promoter? Simple answer: he doesn’t. Everyone wants a piece of Pacquaio but many can’t get anywhere near the pie never mind get slice.
When you consider how Miguel Cotto’s career has flourished since he became a free agent, it seems even more incomprehensible that Pacquaio continues to stay committed to Top Rank instead of following the lead of his counterpart.
The Puerto Rican has the chance to become the 1st four weight World champion in his countries rich boxing history when he takes on long reigning middleweight king Sergio Martinez in July. Furthermore, he may even get another crack at Floyd Mayweather’s crown and looks like a certainty to clash with Canelo Alvarez regardless of whether he wins or loses to Martinez. Not so long ago Cotto’s career looked dead and buried.
If Pacquaio signs a new contract which ties him to fight exclusively against Top Rank fighters for the rest of his career then he is effectively depriving himself of the chance to compete against the elite fighters in the welterweight divisions. Why would he make such a prohibitive career choice? I cannot understand his misguided sense of loyalty towards Bob Arum- he owes him nothing. In both boxing and business terms, it makes no sense for him to stay shackled to the chains of his promotional and network television allegiance with Top Rank and HBO respectively.
If he does indeed elect to stay on at Top Rank after his current deal expires his decision will be subject to huge derision from the boxing world. Quite rightly so, as it shows a serious lack of ambition on his part that he would want to spend the closing stages of his career raking over old graves, fighting rematches against familiar faces when he can be a free agent and take his pick of the opponents in the welterweight divisions. Just this minute, I have read via this site that Marquez wants no further part of Manny Pacquaio. The great Mexican clearly thinks he has exhausted his rivalry with the legendary Filipino, as do many boxing fans and experts alike. Marquez also joined in the clamour for a Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather contest. He stated to Univision, “I think that the fans want Manny vs. Floyd, and they want to see and should do it,”
I already have four fights against Pacquiao, and many people prefer to see these two rivals in the ring.”
For pure excitement and spectacle, I feel a 5th encounter with Marquez would be the perfect parting gift from Manny Pacquiao to Bob Arum. Then he can leave the party with peace of mind, content in the knowledge that he has fulfilled his obligations and made his promoter a very financially prosperous man.
Yet somewhat inexplicably, Pacquaio seems to have a deep rooted sense of devotion towards Bob Arum. For one reason or another, their alliance obviously goes way beyond that of most business partnerships. But Bob Arum is big enough and ugly enough to take care of himself and Pacquaio must look at the bigger picture and fix his eyes on the prize. The prize I refer to: a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jnr in May 2015.
The general consensus seems to be that it will forever remain as the ‘Greatest fight that never was’. On the contrary, I genuinely believe that the most anticipated, transcendental boxing match in decades can materialise, but only if Pacquaio abandons Bob Arums Top Rank promotional outfit.
Since Pacquiao destroyed a prime Miguel Cotto in 2009, I genuinely believe that Floyd Mayweather has avoided Manny Pacquaio at all costs. Some of Mayweather’s excuses and ridiculous demands have been so baffling they have crossed the border of bizarre.
In contrast, the regularity with which Timothy Bradley was able to find the target on Pacquaio’s chin with clean, hard counter right hands over the top must convince Mayweather that he could also repeat the trick. The main stumbling block is Bob Arum, a man who Mayweather will just not do business with.
Mayweather will not swallow his pride, hopefully Manny Pacquaio can. If he does, the collective despair of the boxing world will disappear to be replaced by unbridled joy and delight.
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