Too Good To Be True
The saying goes that, “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is”.
Weeks of protracted negotiations were expected between the two camps before any agreement was likely to be reached. Yet it seemed like it took Richard Schaefer and Bob Arum less time than it takes to boil the kettle for them to reach an agreement for the proposed mega-bout between pound-for-pound pretenders Messrs Pacman Pacquiao and Money Mayweather. To everyone’s amazement the expected publicly drawn-out battle over who should get the biggest slice of the pie never materialized, and before you could say a hundred million bucks it seemed that the fight was all but signed and sealed.
Boxingscene.com quoted Arum explaining the situation as follows: “in the first meeting I had with the Mayweather people I said you want me to spend two hours saying why Manny deserves more than fifty percent and then you’ll spend three hours telling me why Mayweather deserves more than fifty percent. So let’s save a lot of time and cut out the nonsense.”
Boxing, for once, appeared to have defied the cynics and delivered boxing to the front of the sports pages – only this time for all the right reasons: a match made in heaven.
With the biggest hurdle of dividing the cash now firmly in the rear view mirror, there were still a few minor humps in the road ahead before the green light for the big fight came on. The other matter of poundage had to be dealt with – pounds and ounces that is, not pounds and pence. Both parties agreed: the welterweight limit of 147lbs would be the contracted limit. Hurdle two out of the way. Then Manny Pacquiao had a small issue of running for political office to attend to, which was neatly avoided by bringing the fight forward a few weeks. One more obstacle avoided with surprising ease.
Compared with these pre-negotiation problems, all else seemed irrelevant. The rest would just fall into place; dot a few I’s and cross a few T’s and let the hype begin. Pre-fight predictions began changing from if they fight to when they fight. It all seemed too good to be true.
What should have been boxing’s finest hour between two of its most decorated combatants turned into a global internet game of “he said, she said”. An embarrassing legal cat-fight ensued and enough dirty drug stories to last Renton and Sick-boy a lifetime poured out over the internet. If you tried to script a scenario where boxing came out of the situation any worse, you’d really struggle.
Now all that is left is a few precious hours of negotiating between a few very rich men to salvage what could be the fight that defines an era. Unfortunately for boxing fans, if the fight is not made, it may well end up defining much more than an era. It may end up defining the sport itself – for all the wrong reasons.
With this much money at stake, and that many rich men in one room, it’s hard to see an agreement not being made. And unfortunately, sometimes as a boxing fan, it’s hard not to be cynical. Because if things seem too good to be true, they usually are.