LAS VEGAS — After 17 years and millions of dollars in pay-per-view sales, it appears legendary promoter Bob Arum is out of the Manny Pacquiao business.
Floyd Mayweather’s attempt to break the internet early Saturday by posting a video of himself Manny Pacquiao meeting at a music festival in Tokyo and teasing a possible December rematch left many wondering whether the news was real.
Hours later, the Top Rank chairman revealed the fight very well might come to fruition. That doesn’t mean the 86-year-old Hall of Famer wants any part of it.
“Listen to me. I will not be involved in that fight, period. At all,” Arum said. “Let other people do it. God love them, let them make money. It’s not for me. I want to devote my time and effort to guys who are in the prime of their careers like [Vasiliy] Lomachenko, [Terence] Crawford, Jose Ramirez, Oscar Valdez; I ain’t got time for that shit.”
Pacquiao’s promotional deal with Top Rank expired following his July 15 knockout of Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia, although the news was never made public. Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who turns 40 in December, recently underwent negotiations with Top Rank but a deal was never signed. During that period, Pacquiao posted a complaint about his longtime promoter on Instagram and later removed it, along with an apology.
“What happened was they had said to us that they would sign a [new] contract,” Arum said. “We said, ‘Sign the contract and we would pay you.’ Then they didn’t even sign it for some reason and we had to work it out. Anyway, it was really a misunderstanding.”
The timing of Mayweather’s videoconsidering it was the morning of 2018’s biggest (and lone major) PPV bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin in a rematch of their all-action middleweight title bout from last September. Last year, Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) achieved the same result by coming out of retirement three weeks before Alvarez-Golovkin I to defeat UFC champion Conor McGregor in a blockbuster PPV.
The Filipino icon and eight-division world champion, who recently launched his fledgling MP Promotions brand, now enters the twilight of his 23-year pro career without Top Rank for the first time since his 2001 victory over Agapito Sanchez in San Francisco.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef echoed his stepfather Arum in dismissing a potential Mayweather-Paquiao II bout and went as far as comparing it to the 2013 Robert DeNiro movie “Grudge Match” in which a pair of aging former boxers “kept fighting each other over and over.”
“I don’t care. Go ahead, I’m not going to chase that shit,” duBoef told CBS Sports. “Who needs it? I’ve done that shit before. I gave up on that shit a long time ago.”
After a five-plus year build, Mayweather defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision in a 2015 bout that set a new record for PPV buys at an incredible 4.6 million. The fight was also criticized by casual fans for a lack of action and entertainment after such a long build.
Arum said he was aware Pacquiao was in Tokyo and would be seeing Mayweather but didn’t know such a big reveal would take place early Saturday.
“I knew that they were thinking about it,” Arum said. “With Manny, it’s about the money and the problem is they have to get a good place outside the United States because otherwise it’s a problem with the IRS. I have no idea [if it will happen]. I think with Floyd it’s all about money. I can’t see them doing the fight this year; they will probably do it next year.”
Arum doubted Mayweather would be willing to do the PPV in December because of the college football championship games and a Dec. 8 UFC card. Although he acknowledged Pacquiao’s financial issues with the IRS, he downplayed the idea that Pacquiao was indebted in any way to Top Rank, which might prevent him from going solo with MP Promotions.
“That’s not true, that’s not true,” Arum said. “I’m not kidding myself; I’m well into my 80s. Even a guy who has been blessed with good health like I have, how many more years do I have? I’d rather spend time with’Bud’ Crawford and Lomachenko. Guys like Jose Ramirez where I’ll be more productive than fighters that I handle who really are at the end of their careers and are just looking, and you can’t blame them, for a payday.”