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Beware the Ides of March (13th)…

By Steve Kim
(Bob Arum Photo © Howard Schatz)

Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, whose company represents Floyd Mayweather, told this reporter and many others this past weekend, that in lieu of the failure to consummate the fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, they will be staying on that proposed March 13th date at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas; which was where the two superpowers were supposed to meet.


But there’s one little problem. Top Rank, which promotes Pacquiao, over the weekend, made their own deal with Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, for “The Pac-Man” to face Joshua Clottey on that exact same date at his new $1.2 billion facility.


Ah, geez, really? Has it come to this? Instead of facing each other, they may instead engage in dueling shows?


"Listen, I don’t know what Schaefer’s thinking or what Schaefer’s doing," said Arum, back in Las Vegas, after a whirlwind weekend spent with Jones at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. "I mean, for a guy who’s supposed to be a smart guy, he seems, to me, he’s acted bizarrely in this whole situation. So I couldn’t tell ya’ and I’m not concerned. He can do whatever he wants."


Speaking of bizarre, it had to be surreal for Arum, a lifelong New York Giants fan (and season ticket holder), to be in Jones’ private suite for the Cowboys playoff tilt against the Philadelphia Eagles. Even stranger for this loyal Democrat to be commiserating with one George W. Bush.


"It just shows what a great country this is, ya’ know?” Arum gushed. “A democrat like me could bond with George Bush over a Filipino fighter in Manny Pacquiao. Only in America!"


Yeah, Arum, who seemed to be in a giddy mood, went all Don King. When asked if Pacquiao-Mayweather could be revived for the upcoming fall, he stated, "Any negotiation can be revisited in the future. But let me tell ya’, if it is, it’s going to be on a whole different basis. Y’know, we did everything here in order to make the fight, to appease Mayweather, and that ain’t going to happen, again."


And let’s say that Pacquiao-Mayweather goes the Lennox Lewis-Riddick Bowe route, Arum says, "Well, there’s Shane Mosley. Shane is a wonderful fighter and I know Manny wants to fight him.. There’s Antonio Margarito, which is a real good challenge. Margarito’s going to be on the undercard on March 13th. So I mean Manny has a lot of options."


But there could be a not-so-little problem with the Mosley fight. He is represented by Golden Boy and the truce between the two promotional rivals has gone the way of Charlie Sheen’s marriage; in the wake of the contentious negotiations that took place the past couple of weeks.


"The relationship is really in bad shape, "admitted Arum, "because I love Manny Pacquiao and I consider him a Top Rank fighter and I’m really pissed to the gills that Schaefer, who gets money off of Pacquiao fights, has defamed him; apparently, in the way that he has. I mean, why shouldn’t I be angry?"


Arum was particularly talkative today, but he clammed up when the issue of just which card HBO Pay-Per-View would produce and distribute, should both Pacquiao and Mayweather perform on March 13th. The press release announcing this fight, that was released on Sunday afternoon, stated that the fight would be, "broadcast live on pay-per-view", but didn’t specifically mention HBO PPV.


When he was asked who HBO would go with, all Arum said was, "No comment." This was also his answer when the question of just when HBO would make their decision was broached.


While the idea of dueling pay-per-views seems like insanity, it’s not unprecedented. Back during the height of the original “Cold War” between Top Rank and Golden Boy back on June 10th of 2006, Golden Boy staged a pay-per-view fight between Bernard Hopkins and Antonio Tarver in Atlantic City, New Jersey, while, at the same time, just a hundred or so miles away, Top Rank did their own show (which they produced themselves) that had Miguel Cotto headlining a show versus Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden in New York.


Then, in April of 2007, when the two companies were battling over the services of Pacquiao, with HBO siding with Golden Boy, Arum was once again forced to finance his own pay-per-view telecast featuring the Filipino icon at the Alamodome in San Antonio against Jorge Solis. It will be interesting to see what decision HBO will make should Golden Boy and Mayweather not move off the March 13th date. It’s no secret that HBO has an output deal with Golden Boy and Mayweather’s adviser, Al Haymon, seems to have a lot of influence over the network with his vast stable of marquee clients.


A couple of nights before Pacquiao faced Miguel Cotto back in November, a special dinner was hosted by Top Rank, where Arum and Ross Greenburg, president of HBO Sports- who, for years, had a rocky relationship with Arum- sat together and were acting like “BFFs.” Yeah, Pacquiao is that influential and powerful. Not only can he stop crimes in the Philippines when he fights, he can get Arum and Greenburg to break bread. If the camps of Pacquiao and Mayweather decide to go through with this high-stakes game of chicken, you’d hate to be in Greenburg’s shoes.


But regardless, Pacquiao-Clottey will move forward. Arum believes he has the perfect venue to stage this promotion.


"It is the best arena in the world; it is mind-boggling. That screen and the electronics that they have and the seating, there’s such an energy. It makes this event that will happen on March 13th; an event that is really special in the history of boxing," said Arum, who says a series of special functions are being planned for the week of the fight. "We’re working on all that. There will definitely be a Friday night fight on the Fox Sports Network and there will be a lot of festival things happening in Dallas all week. And ending with a concert, after the fight, by the famed Filipino crooner, Manny Pacquiao."


And he believes he has a suitable replacement in Clottey.


"If we’re taking money from the public, particularly in this economic situation, you’ve got to give the public a competitive fight. The public isn’t going to pay for an exhibition; otherwise, Pacquiao can go in the ring, take bows and we can collect our fifty dollars," said Arum."You can’t do that. If you want to earn money, the fighter has to be in a fight. That’s why they call it prizefighting. So if you put Manny in with a guy who has no business being in the ring with him, who the hell wants to see it? A certain number of people will buy it, yes, but that’s not what we’re after. You put him in with a guy who certainly has a realistic chance of beating him, it’s competitive and so people will pay to see how he goes against this guy.


"That’s why we got away from (Paulie) Malignaggi because everybody said Pacquiao against Malignaggi is not a real fight."




So what is Arum’s reaction to Teddy Atlas reiterating Tim Smith’s comments regarding an email from their side asking if a positive test for illegal performance enhancing drugs could be covered up?


"I think it’s reprehensible. There’s no email. I don’t know who this source is," he said, flatly. "But what’s happening, what Teddy Atlas did and Tim Smith [did], is real McCarthy-ism. That is, by innuendo,’ I hold in my hand a list of 90 state department officials who are communist!’ No f**ckin’ lists, no names. This is classic McCarthy-ism what happened in this situation and people have seen through it. The American people- even the writers, they’re part of the American people- realize what’s happening and they don’t like it."




A source tells me that the ticket prices for Pacquiao-Clottey at “Jerry World” will range from $700, $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50...Another fight that will most likely land on that undercard is Alfonso Gomez vs. Jose Luis Castillo...Hearing that Victor Ortiz will make his 2010 debut on Feb. 25th at the Club Nokia for the season premiere of the “Fight Night Club” at LA Live...Should Ortiz come out of that unscathed, look for him to appear on the May 1st pay-per-view show at the MGM Grand that is to be headlined by Juan Manuel Marquez...TKO Boxing Promotions comes to Tampa, Florida at the Ala Carte Pavilion. The feature performers will be Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry, Lenroy Thomas and the promising Joseph “Leggo My” Elegele...Don’t believe, for one second, that Tim Bradley was ever being considered by Mayweather...Wow, so Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids and stuff. Geez, that took me completely off guard...Any chance USC re-hires Paul Hackett? I kid, I kid...HBO’s Larry Merchant has been confirmed to appear on the 2010 premiere of “The Main Event” this Wednesday night...Any questions or comments can be sent to

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