Bob Arum Teleconference Transcript
3:00 A.M. ET / Midnight PT
The purpose of this call is to bring you up to date to all that has happened. About two months ago, just after the Mayweather-Mosley fight, I got a call from Ross Greenburg, the president of HBO Sports, who asked me frankly whether myself and Manny Pacquiao wanted to do the fight against Floyd Mayweather and I assured him after talking to Manny that was the case. From there I have had a couple of conversations with Ross and I laid out all the terms that would be acceptable to our side and I also informed him about the concession that Manny had made about drug testing. He got back to me in a couple of weeks and told me he had discussions with Al Haymon, representing Mayweather, and that everything looked good. We were nearing a resolution. The subsequent conversations with Ross detailed to me discussions he had with Al Haymon. Nowhere were the names of Richard Schaefer or Golden Boy mentioned although I read, as you all did, Oscar’s statement that a deal was close, so I assume from that, that Haymon was keeping Golden Boy abreast of the situation.
Ross for the last month has been telling me that Haymon was working very hard to get the agreement done with Floyd. A couple of weeks ago I told him I wanted to do this fight very badly, as did Manny, but at a particular point in time we have to move on. By moving on I mean that I had agreed with Ross early on that we would not negotiate any fight with Manny and I have not had any negotiations with any other opponent, whether it is Margarito or Cotto. I have not had any discussions with either of them or their representatives regarding a fight with many Pacquiao. I told Ross that this Friday was the deadline of the end of the exclusivity period and I tell you that next week I’ll be talking to the Cotto and the Margarito camps regarding a fight with Manny Pacquiao.
People have asked me as well as others at Top Rank, does that mean the Mayweather fight is dead? Even thought Mayweather has not responded by the deadline, the deal is dead when we reach a deal with an opponent for Manny’s fight in November. Then we are contractually bound to do that fight and we would look hopefully to do a fight with Floyd next year. In the interim, while this was going on, if Floyd suddenly emerged and said he wanted to do the fight, there would be nothing opposed to getting together and doing the fight. That is our position and I hope it is as clear as I can make it. I don’t want to go into any conjecture as to why. I am just reporting what the facts are and now we can open it up for questions.
At what point while you are negotiating with others, how deep into it would you be willing to change if Floyd presented himself, do you need to have a signed contract with either fighter?
The answer is we wouldn’t need a signed contract if Cotto or Margarito committed to Manny Pacquiao or committed to me a deal. The signed contract would be later. While these negotiations were going on, while I was talking to Manny, if Floyd came to the table, that is the fight that we want more than all others, there is no question about it.
Have you had any direct contact with the Mayweather camp?
Strictly through Ross Greenburg. Ross was committed to making the fight happen and as the president of HBO Sports I felt that the best chance of making the fight happen was to do everything through Ross, almost like he was the mediator and I still believe it was the right way to go. It obviously didn’t work out, not because Ross didn’t do a good job because I think he did in talking to Al Haymon and myself. Obviously the problem was Floyd, for whatever reason, and I’m sure he has some valid reason, didn’t want to commit.
Why was the deadline today as opposed to next week?
Good question. You understand what the deadline is. It is the end of the exclusivity period because we now have to go out and secure an opponent for Manny Pacquiao assuming it won’t be Floyd and we have to mount a campaign and have to get in touch with In-Demand, DirecTV and Dish Networks and get everything in order. Time is going by and also we have to start scheduling press conferences because with Manny Pacquiao you are not dealing with the normal fighter. He is over in the Philippines and he has duties as a Congressman there. Therefore we are limited as to when we can schedule press conferences in the United States.
Has anyone reached out today to the Mayweather side to let them know this was going on?
The answer is no. We have never talked to anybody on the Mayweather side. All conversations have gone through Ross Greenburg and he reported all conversations on the Mayweather side from al Haymon.
You mentioned on June 30 that the deal was agreed to. Is that still your position?
Yes, that is based on my conversations with Ross Greenburg. Understand I have never talked to anyone on the Mayweather side. I have only spoken to Ross Greenburg who has represented to me certain things that he had discussed with Al Haymon on behalf of Mayweather.
Why would Margarito deserve a chance at many Pacquiao?
I am not going to take that up now. That is something you can editorialize when a fight is made.
Do you think if the fight is not made it will have a negative impact on the sport?
Wait a second…I am sure, without knowing, I am sure that there is a very good reason that Floyd Mayweather has for not committing to a fight at this time. I really and truly believe that. Now I am speculating that one of the reasons could be the uncertainty regarding Roger Mayweather and for people that don’t know, Roger Mayweather is scheduled for court in Nevada regarding criminal charges. Now I know how Manny would feel if he had to go into a fight like this without the services of Freddie Roach and presumably Floyd would feel the same way going into a fight like this without the services of his uncle Roger who has been training him for a number of years.
Could the deadline have waited another couple of weeks?
Not really, because I am dealing with another situation. I am representing a fighter who is also a congressman. He has legislative duties and commitments in the Philippines and I have really short windows to do various aspects of the promotion. We will have to do press conferences a lot further out because he will be training for the fight while being a congressman and he will have to fit his training into the legislative sessions. I understand that the congress sits three days a week.
How long will it take to close a deal with Margarito or Cotto?
I have no idea. It may take a week. I have to discuss with Manny who he prefers then get everything put together. It will be Manny’s decision. I do not have a preference. I do not want to prejudice the situation. I want Manny to decide. He is a very intelligent guy and knows what the considerations are and whomever he selects is who we will go after and make the fight.
What is the deadline now for the Mayweather camp?
It would be in the next ten days.
How close do you feel you were to a deal and were there any hints from Mayweather?
The answer is no. They kept assuring Greenburg that an agreement was imminent and that Haymon was working on it and expected an answer shortly and it just never materialized. I don’t blame Haymon. I think he really tried based on what Greenburg said, Haymon really tried to put the fight together.
Did you get any indication Schaefer was on board?
Schaefer’s name was never really mentioned by Ross. It was all Al Haymon. The only idea I had that Golden Boy was involved or that Haymon was talking to Golden Boy was when Oscar said on television or radio that the deal was close to closing. So I assumed at that point Haymon had spoken to Schaefer and he talked to Oscar.
What about the drug testing issue?
I don’t want to get into specifics but I think that issue was resolved. Not as clear-cut as you may be saying it but I believe it was resolved.
But they agreed?
That’s what it seemed to me from what I was hearing from Ross. Remember, I never spoke to Haymon or to Schaefer or anybody else but Ross.
What would be the attraction for the Cotto rematch?
The attraction would be that many would be going for an eighth divisional world title, fighting at a higher weight and that Miguel would have in his corner Emanuel Steward – one of the great cornermen of our time. That certainly would give Cotto more ammunition than going into the fight last time.
And where do you go for the Margarito fight?
We have asked the Nevada commission, based on California, to give him a conditional license to fight in Nevada on the 13th of November and hopefully from Margarito’s standpoint they will agree to that. If not and Manny decides that he wants Margarito; we would do the fight in Monterrey, Mexico. There are big advantages for Manny to fight outside of the United States.
Does the congress have a recess?
Yes. It is complicated but one thing I know is when he fights, they go out of session for 3 weeks. So the idea would be that he would train in Manila and Freddie would be over there and he’s in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so he is off Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He would still train on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the session has concluded. He would not come to the Wild Card to train until three weeks before the fight. That was the plan that was relayed to me.
Do you believe the fight will happen?
It would be a shame if it didn’t happen. I don’t think any of you guys should be too harsh on Floyd in this situation. I would have liked for him to communicate, but I really believe that this issue with the uncle has an affect. I would think that, putting myself in their shoes, that there would be a lot of reluctance of going into this big fight without my trainer. We are not going to know the outcome of this criminal situation for some time.
Are you giving Floyd an extension?
The fight that we want to do is Mayweather. We never said any different or acted any different. Manny wants to and has to fight in November. So we have to proceed in getting him an opponent and wrapping up a fight and if in the interim Floyd decides, despite the Roger situation, he’s ready to fight Manny…absolutely, that’s the fight we want.
Would you expect negotiations with Margarito or Cotto to go relatively smooth?
I would think so. I have never had difficulties with either camp in making a deal…when Cotto fought Manny last November, he agreed to a lesser guarantee than they wanted, but it was a good upside and he ended up making more money than he would have if he achieved that higher guarantee. There is a lot of credibility there – working a deal with a reasonable guarantee and a good upside. The same thing for Margarito when he fought Miguel he took a reasonable guarantee and made a lot of extra money on the upside.
This negotiation seems much calmer than the last time you tried to out this fight together…
Right now I understand Floyd’s position – I believe his position regarding Roger. We know about this serious issue regarding Roger. I can understand Floyd delaying any plans for a future fight until there is a resolution of the Roger situation. Once you understand that, how can you jump on the guy?
When would a press conference take place?
I can’t give an exact time, but it would take place in early August.
If in Monterrey, where would the fight take place?
In an arena. I believe they built a new arena in Monterrey. Our sponsor, Tecate, and the Governor of the state are all making major efforts to bring that fight to Monterrey. There is a tremendous advantage for Pacquiao staging the fight in Mexico because if the fight is in the United States, the withholding is 30% and we are not obligated to withhold anything if the fight is in Mexico. For a Cotto fight, the Abu Dhabi people came to me but nothing has been done there. I spoke to my friends at the UFC regarding the difficulties they had logistically – the people were very cooperative- but logistically doing their event there, and probably for Cotto I would look more to Cowboy Stadium or Las Vegas.
Can we assume Ross Greenburg did not communicate with you any messages?
There was no message – you are correct.
Will Ross continue to talk to the Mayweather camp?
That I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.
The Margarito fight would either be at the MGM in Las Vegas or Monterrey, Mexico. The Cotto fight would either be at Cowboy Stadium or the MGM Grand.
Where does a guy like Tim Bradley or anyone else stand?
Bradley is fighting Saturday. Tim Bradley is a tremendous fighter and he’s a great young man. But the problem with a guy like Tim Bradley is that even though you and I know what a superb fighter he is, the public really doesn’t know. That’s why a lot of these promoters are shouting out names of very good fighters. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars building up our fighters and publicizing them so they are pay-per-view attractions. Losing money on a lot of events making them. The other promoters don’t really promote their fighters. They take money form HBO or Showtime or a little Indian casino and they think they’re doing the kid a big service. I’m not going to give them a free ride on the work we have done.
Paul Williams is a tremendous fighter – a great fighter. But he hasn’t been promoted correctly. He doesn’t have any following, can’t sell any tickets. Nobody is financing the pay-per-view fight. On a HBO fight – HBO pays the money. I’m the one that’s financing the pay-per-view and don’t want to give anyone a free ride.
Would HBO be committed to another fight without Mayweather?
Obviously there would be great disappointment and there is great disappointment not having a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight – no question about it. But they would be interested in being a distributor on Pacquiao’s fight either against Cotto or Margarito. I think I am right about that. Showtime is very interested. That’s something that doesn’t really concern me.
The boxing fans are going to be disappointed but they have to realize they have to cut Floyd Mayweather some slack. I can see his reluctance to commit to a big fight with Manny Pacquiao without having the services of his uncle. If the boxing fans begrudge that – Floyd Mayweather is not saying he will not ever fight Manny Pacquiao. There is always next year. It is something that is bad for the Mayweather family and we all have to understand it.
How much would Pacquiao, Margarito or Cotto make in those fights?
These negotiations will be starting in the next couple of days and right now I have adhered to my promise to Ross and I haven’t negotiated with anybody, Manny or either of those fight camps about a fight in November because we have focused on a fight with Mayweather so now I have to start talking with them and I can’t answer those questions until I do.
Would Cotto have an edge since he was such a big part of the first fight that did so well in Las Vegas? It was reported to be their biggest day in three years.
No, the Asian gamblers came because they perceived Manny to be in a very good fight. I think they would have the same feeling whether it is Margarito or Cotto in November.
Why do you think there has been no communication from the Mayweather camp?
I can’t answer that without speculating. I know the Roger situation, now why Floyd has not addressed it I have no idea and can’t answer it.
Are you disappointed from the non-communication?
Who knows the reason for it and it is unfathomable. I am not surprised. Nothing Surprises me. I just can’t figure it out. But there are a lot of things I can’t figure out, especially as I get older.