Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Time running out on Pacquiao-Mayweather fight


The countdown clock on the Top Rank Web site, giving Floyd Mayweather Jr. until midnight Friday to agree to fight Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 13, probably means they won’t meet until next year – if then.

I can’t imagine that Mayweather will jump before he’s ready because Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, sets such a deadline. And, I suspect, neither does Arum. Arum told the Los Angeles Times that “for seven weeks, it’s been silence,” which presumably means he hasn’t heard a peep from Mayweather.

That doesn’t sound like a guy who wants to fight in November. One report suggested that Mayweather wants to wait until uncle-trainer Roger Mayweather resolves his legal problems before fighting again. Maybe there’s some truth to that.

Anyway, Pacquiao evidently wants to fight again this year. Thus, a deadline – even one certain to annoy Mayweather — is necessary so his camp can begin planning for another opponent.

“Our information is that (Mayweather) wants to fight next year, which is his prerogative,” Arum told The Times. “I'm not saying it's now … or never, but we want Manny to fight this year. And if Manny is successful, he'll fight Mayweather next March, May or June, whenever they're ready.”

That makes sense but it still won’t sit well with fans, who will have been disgusted a second time that the biggest-possible fight in the sport wasn’t made.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s longtime trainer, was asked by on Thursday whether he thinks the fans will be able to get up for a fight between his prot├®g├® and either Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto, his primary alternatives to Mayeather.

“Nope,” he said. “It hurts us, it definitely hurts us. People will just wonder why they won’t fight. They just want to see the fight, to have it happen. I think it would hurt both fighters if they don’t fight. And it would hurt the game of boxing, to be honest.”

Roach said he doesn’t have a preference between Margarito and Cotto as an opponent for Pacquiao, saying they would pose about an equal challenge. The problem is that neither is truly in Pacquiao’s class.

Margarito would make for a fun fight because he would come directly to Pacquiao, which would play into the Filipino’s hands. I suggested to Roach that it would be as if Margarito were walking into a meat grinder, meaning he wouldn’t last long. Is that how Roach sees it?

“A hundred percent,” he said.

Cotto is an attractive opponent for two reasons: His name and the fact he holds a junior middleweight title, which would give Pacquiao a title in a record eight weight classes. Other than that, the Puerto Rican doesn’t deserve a rematch after he was dominated in their first meeting.

Pacquiao won almost every round before he stopped Cotto in the 12th.

“I think Margarito would be more interesting for the fans,” Roach said. “They’ve already seen Cotto. Cotto was in the fight for about four rounds and that was about it. Margarito has been a pretty dominant fighter, except for the (Shane) Mosley fight. Cotto is at a higher weight now. And maybe there’s some interest because of the world title. And, who knows, maybe having Emanuel Steward in his corner will make a difference. That might add some interest.

“I just think Manny has his number.”

Of course, Margarito must still receive a license to fight before he can step into a ring. He had his license revoked by the California State Athletic Commission after he was busted with illegal pads in his hand wraps before his fight with Shane Mosley last year.

Margarito applied for a license in Nevada, the most-likely site of a fight with Pacquiao, but was told to apply in California first. However, according to The Times, it’s too late to apply in California this month and Arum was told the CSAC might not meet in August.

Arum said he might pitch what The Times called, “a one-time, conditional use license” in Nevada. Otherwise, the fight could take place in Texas – if Margarito could get a license there – or outside the country.

The best option is the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. Let’s hope something happens in the 11th hour.