Manny Pacquiao's Deadline to Floyd Mayweather: Midnight July 16
The Witching Hour is official.
Seven-division champion Manny Pacquiao is giving Floyd Mayweather's camp until midnight Pacific time on Friday night to sign his name to a deal to challenge for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight (147 pounds) title on Nov. 13, or else the titlist will fight Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto in Abu Dhabi or Mexico.
"It was always a question whether Mayweather wanted to fight this year or next year. It has always been a question of that," said Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank Promotions, adding that Pacquiao would entertain fighting Mayweather in May of 2011. "That's what I kept telling everybody. So all that we said two weeks ago was that hey, 'We'll give you a length of time.'"
NBA, NFL Stars Talk Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao
Neither Mayweather (41-0, 25 knockouts) nor his camp members have commented publicly about the circumstances surrounding his indecision, even as Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) has agreed in principle to the terms of a fight, which reportedly include a 50-50 split and some form of drug testing for both fighters.
Mayweather has been represented by Golden Boy Promotions.
Arum believes that the delay could involve the possibility that the fighter's uncle and longtime trainer, Roger Mayweather, goes to trial on Aug. 2 in the Clark County District Court in Nevada for allegedly choking and assaulting female boxer Melissa St. Vil.
"We understand that there are problems as far as Roger is concerned. So they will have until midnight on Friday. If we don't hear favorably from him at the time, which I don't think that we will, then we move to somebody else," said Arum. "That's all. It's not adversarial. In other words, in my opinion, there are reasonable grounds for him not to want to fight this year. And those grounds essentially relate to Roger."
Roger Mayweather could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, meaning he might be serving time in November if not beyond, and, thus, be unavailable to be in Floyd Mayweather's corner in the event that he accepts a fall bout with Pacquiao.
"On Floyd's end, I can't speak for him, but it's my belief that it's not the economics of the fight. I think that there are other issues. Maybe that his corner might be altered somewhat because his uncle has some problems that have to do with the training, but nobody has told me that. I'm just speculating," said Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz.
"Who knows? Maybe everything isn't clicking in his camp right now and he doesn't want to jeopardize a fight with Manny because everything is not clicking," said Koncz. "When you're going to be going into the toughest fight of your life, you don't want to change anything or compromise what helped to bring you to the level of success that you've achieved."
Pacquiao would be going after his record eighth crown in as many different weight classes either against Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs), the WBA's junior middleweight (154 pounds) champion, or Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs), who is the No. 1 contender for the WBC junior middleweight crown.
Margarito and Pacquiao would fight for the WBC title vacated by Sergio Martinez.
Koncz said that Pacquiao has no preference between Margarito or Cotto, and that "neither fight is hard to make," particularly because each of the potential opponents, like Pacquiao, is promoted by Arum.
"As a matter of fact I just got off of the phone with Manny also," said Koncz. "To me, it's all about business right now. It's all about the economics. There's no decision made. But if Manny decides -- because he's the one who ultimately makes the decision -- if he decides to do Margarito, then we'll definitely want to fight Miguel at some point in time.
"I just don't know if it's this time or not. But if Manny chooses Margarito, then I would talk to Miguel and let him know why we made that decision and hope that we could fight him after Margarito if there is no Mayweather."
Pacquiao has no qualms about fighting in another country other than the America, said Arum, adding, "if Manny fights outside of the United States, it's free of the U.S. tax because it's not income generated from services in the United States."
"The advantage to fighting in Abu Dhabi is the money," said Arum. "It's assured money. They [Abu Dhabi] would take the risk on the pay-per-view."
A meeting earlier this week with Abu Dhabi officials associated with the country's Royal Family "went very well," said Arum, who expects to hear back from the capital of the United Arab Emirates on Monday.
"Manny was ecstatic that we can make a move out of the country because of those financial reasons," said Koncz. "There's no taxation in Abu Dhabi, and there's no taxation in Mexico. We're at a point in Manny's career where we can try to maximize what goes into his pocket.
"Whether that be from the guarnteed purse to all aspects of the revenue generating -- that's one of my obligations to point all of those things out to Manny. I will probably go back to the Philippines on Saturday and have all of the numbers available for him and we'll to pencil out the details for him and we'll figure out which one makes the most economical sense. I have no got a gut feeling about what's going to happen at all."
Pacquiao's preference, however, is clearly to face Mayweather.
"We've always tried to make the Mayweather fight," said Koncz. "We're going to keep the Nov. 13 date. So we can't stay here indefinitely. We're somewhat optimistic that Mayweather will come around by the proposed deadline that Bob gave. But if not, then we've been instructed to look at our other options."
"We'll weigh each of the other matches up to the equations and present the figures and then we will arrive at a conclusion. That will probably be this Saturday. But we have a self-imposed gag order, so I don't want to start throwing out the details of the negotiations or the deal terms. That could hamper future plans and future negotiations. If Floyd doesn't want to fight us now for some reason, then maybe he'll come around and fight us next year."