When I first read the news that Manny Pacquiao has signed a new 2 year deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotional company I was pretty shocked, but not at all surprised. The Filipino multi weight world champion remains blindly loyal to Bob Arum despite the fact that he is a global icon whose worldwide appeal means he could easily promote his own fights.
By removing the intermediary- Bob Arum- from his fight negotiations, Pacquiao would also isolate himself from the cold war conflict. Hence he would be free to pursue hugely lucrative fights with the plethora of talent that is signed to Golden Boy Promotions and who perform on the Showtime network. Instead of cutting out the middle man, it seems Pacquiao is cutting his nose off to spite his face by continuing to align himself with the Top Rank and HBO alliance.
At least on the surface, that is what it looks like Pacquiao is doing. However, there are rumblings below the earth that suggest the current landscape of boxing could be ripped up and radically re-arranged, making Pacquiao’s decision to stay tied to Top Rank less prohibitive than it seems.
From the surface it may seem like Manny Pacquiao lacks ambition. Yet by delving into deeper into the situation, taking account of the changing dynamics of this so called ‘cold war’, his decision to re-sign with Bob Arum may suggest that the conflict between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions may soon be resolved, to an extent.
There has much been speculation recently about the internal unrest within Golden Boy Promotions, the result of fissures in the relationship between Oscar De La Hoya and GBP CEO Richard Schaefer. At the same time, De La Hoya has made very public attempts to patch things up with Bob Arum by going to meet the Top Rank boss at his house recently.
The olive branch being extended to Bob Arum to Oscar De La Hoya could be great news for boxing, and even better news for Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino Congressman could finally be free to challenge himself against GBP’s burgeoning stable of fighters in the welterweight divisions.
Some see the fact that Manny Pacquiao has basically committed himself to Bob Arum for the rest of his career by signing a two year deal with Top Rank as a sure sign that GBP and Top Rank are about to reconcile their working relationship. Surely Pacquiao would not lock himself into a contract for the remainder of his career with Top Rank if he was only able to feast on the scraps of Bob Arum’s dwindling stable.
I mean the only viable P-P-V fight for Pacquiao that can be made from Top Ranks stable is a 5th encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez, and the noise of fans demanding they renew their rivalry has hardly been deafening, has it? Although a 5th encounter between the two would clearly be a great fight, interest in a fifth installment of their rivalry has been muted at best. Aside from the Marquez fight, there are literally no other viable opponents at Top Rank for Manny Pacquiao.
Of course Pacquiao could potentially face the winner of the Cotto vs Martinez clash for the middleweight title. If the bond between Top Rank and Golden Boy is to remain broken, then one suspects this would be the only course of action that would pacify the fans, who are understandably frustrated that Pacquiao has frittered away the chance of fighting Floyd Mayweather as a consequence of re-signing with Top Rank.
Yet, I am personally of the opinion that Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions will resume a professional relationship- as Oscar De La Hoya quite rightly stated, ‘there are many great fights that could be made’. If bridges can be built with Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya then it stands to reason that their respective promotional companies can re-establish a working relationship.
However, if Pacquiao has signed the rest of his career away to Top Rank without the seeking assurances that the current situation with Golden Boy will be soon be remedied then he will quite rightly be subject to huge criticism from the boxing world.
A boycott of his future fights would not be out with the realm of possibility if the fans are faced with the unpalatable prospect of being forced to watch him fight against Bob Arum’s threadbare stable of fighters in the welterweight divisions. Put it this way, Pacquiao’s already precarious P-P-V numbers will plummet precipitously if fans are fed on a diet of endless rematches against fighters who are simply nowhere near his level.
From the outset it seems that Pacquiao decision to re-sign for Top Rank is a massive disaster yet it may it just prove to be a masterstroke from the Filipino superstar.
Boxing News 24 Fans: Do you think the Cold War is set to thaw? Is Pacquiao making a perilous decision by staying at Top Rank or will does he know something we don’t?
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