Tuesday, August 3, 2010
FanHouse caught up to Top Rank Promotions' CEO, Bob Arum (pictured above, at far left), concerning a number of topics, most notably the state of a potential bout on Nov. 13 between seven-division titlist and WBO welterweight (147 pounds) champion, Manny Pacquiao (pictured above, second from left), and ex-world champion, Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC junior middleweight crown.
Arum said that it appears that Pacquiao will be pursuing his eighth crown in as many different weight classes opposite Margarito either at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium owned by Jerry Jones (pictured above, at far right)-- which Pacquiao packed to the tune of more than 51,000 fans during his March 13 victory over Joshua Clottey (pictured above, second from right) -- or, Abu Dhabi.
In this Q&A, Arum also addressed the potential for a Paquiao bout opposite Floyd Mayweather, the likelihood of a third match with WBO and WBA lightweight (135 pounds) champ, Juan Manuel Marquez, and criticism of his practice of promoting his own fighters against each other -- commonly referred to as "In-house" promoting.
FanHouse: Where officially do you stand with Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito?
Well, [Pacquaio's adviser] Michael Koncz is over in Abu Dhabi. And he's exploring that situation. We're giving that another two days to see if it's real or not because obviously, Manny would love to fight there.
But, again, I can't tell you whether or not it's something that will realistically happen. I think that it's much more likely that we'll do the fight in the Dallas Cowboys' Stadium.
What do Manny Paquiao and Michael Koncz feel are the pros and advantages of doing the fight in Abu Dhabi?
The money. There is a awful lot of it being offered. And also, there is no withholding of the taxes on Manny Pacquiao's purse.
Can you describe the venue and discuss what your thoughts are about it?
I think that the venue is fine, and I think that the fans will show up. I'm told and I know that the Royal family will come to the fight, and we can sell any number of seats at relatively low prices. And there are hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipinos who work in that area.
So, it'll be jammed and may very well be a huge, huge crowd. It depends on how many people that they set it up for, but I think that it holds 60 or 70,000 or something like that.
I would guess that it would have to be a pretty sweet deal to go to Abu Dhabi since Manny Pacquiao has proven to be an attraction at Dallas Cowboys' Stadium, where Antonio Margarito was also popular with the crowd as he watched Pacquiao-Clottey from ringside?
You have to realize that there is a huge population of in North Texas of Mexican origin and Mexican Americans in Northern Texas. Clottey had no natural fan base in North Texas. It was all curiosity and Manny Pacquiao.
And now, you have Manny Pacquiao having endeared himself to the people in North Texas, and you have a natural draw in Antonio Margarito among the Mexican American fans. You have to think that there's a chance to get 70,000 or more people in the stadium.
I haven't talked to Jerry Jones. I've talked to Jerry's people, and I won't be talking to Jerry until next week. But the team is now in San Antonio, and Jerry will be back in Dallas next week because they have an exhibition game a week from Saturday there at Cowboys Stadium.
They're not home the week before the fight, and they're not home the day after Nov. 13. They will be playing the hated New York Giants in the Meadowlands on Nov. 14.
Under what conditions if any would Manny Pacquiao fight Juan Manuel Marquez again?
Marquez is a wonderful fighter, but he has shown in the Mayweather fight that he has difficulty fighting at the higher weights. He has performed well at the lower weights.But a 135-pound victory over Juan Diaz is not impressive.
Now, that's because -- and let's be honest -- Diaz really lost two fights in a row with Paulie Malignaggi because the first decision was controversial even though that one went in Diaz's favor. But the second one with Malignaggi, Malignaggi beat him worse than Marquez did.
So, I would say that to make a legitimate sell for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, that Marquez has to fight a welterweight or even a junior welterweight (140 pounds) who, if he defeats, is a real accomplishment.
Whom would you like to see Juan Manuel Marquez fight before facing Manny?
Well, I'll throw out three or four names. If he were to fight [WBC welterweight champion] Andre Berto, if he were to fight Joshua Clottey, or he could fight [WBO junior welterweight king] Tim Bradley, or he could fight [WBC and IBF titlist] Devon Alexander.
Any of those four. And if he beats one of them, now he can say, 'I can compete at the higher weights with Manny Pacquiao.'
Why not a fight with Amir Khan, which Juan Manuel Marquez has discussed taking potentially next?
Not really an Amir Khan, no. I don't think that Amir Khan really would establish that. It would certainly move him a little bit closer, you know. With a bigger guy. But not really. Look, Pacquiao fought Clottey, and he totally dominated Clottey.
If Marquez fought Clottey, who would you pick as the favorite in the fight? But if he then beat Clottey, that would be great. Or if he then beat Berto, that would be great. Then you and everyone else could say, 'Man, this guy really is something, and could give Manny a good fight.'
But in your heart of hearts, you know, that what ever happened the first two times that Pacquiao and Marquez fought [a draw and a disputed decision for Pacquiao,] that was years ago and at lower weights.
If he fights any one of those four guys, you could sell him as a legitimate welterweight contender. Nothing would please me more at that point than to do it. In fact, when we were in a bind after the Mayweather negotiations fell through the first time, I went to [Golden Boy Promotions CEO] Richard Schaefer.
And I said, 'Look, we'll fight Marquez, because I hadn't thought of Clottey.' And I said, 'We'll fight Marquez.' And Schaefer said, to me 'Well it has to be 50-50 and with random drug testing.' In effect, he told me no. That was insulting with Marquez.
So, the idea that Pacquiao won't fight Marquez is ludicrous. But to make it a real, attractive fight from a financial standpoint, then it's a different story. Marquez should fight a welterweight, beat a welterweight, and then he could say, 'Hey, now I'm one of you, Manny.'
After having tried twice to make a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, what would it take for you to give it a third try?
The first thing that would have to be said, is that Floyd Mayweather would have to make a statement that 'I'm prepared now to fight Manny Pacquiao in such and such a time period.' Once he made that statement, then, we would find a way to conduct negotiations .
Hopefully, at that time, we could make the fight. But Floyd would have to make that statement. I don't want to go on any more wild goose chases negotiating terms if Floyd isn't on board. And I think that that was the problem this last time.
People were negotiating on behalf of Floyd in good faith, but they never had Floyd on board. I think that he knew that this was all happening, but that he never really cared. I don't think that he ever really told them. I don't know.
That's just what I'm surmising. That he never really told them that 'I want to fight in November.' He never said that to them. I really think that that's the case, but I could be wrong. I really think that there was a disconnect there.
I think that people were hoping to negotiate the fight, and then, to convince Floyd to go along. I'm not going to do that any more.
You have taken criticism for doing Manny Paquiao-Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao-Clottey, Cotto-Yuri Foreman -- all promotional stablemates. So can you speak to your critics concerning the notion of in-house promoting and why that is beneficial to you?
Well, that's a good point. First of all, people have to look at who is putting up the money for these fights. When you look at that, you see that it's Top Rank. Right? If Manny fought Berto, or if Manny fought any of these other guys, it would be Top Rank putting up the money and taking all of the risks. Right?
And Berto and his promoter, or whomever it is, would be along for a free ride. If I feel in my heart of hearts as a business man, that one of my fighters is going to draw more than the other promoter's fighter against Manny Pacquiao, and it's my money, and my risk, then I'm going to do it.
And I don't care what any media guy has to say. This is not the case where I'm getting money from HBO or Showtime, and I say 'No, my guy's only going to fight somebody who is promoted by Top Rank.' That would be wrong, and I wouldn't do that. I might suggest that and so forth, but it's not my money.
So if Showtime and HBO are putting up the money, then they have the right to say 'No, we don't want you to fight this guy from your promotional wing, we want you to fight somebody else.' Okay, that's fine. But it's not my risk, it's not my money, and then I'd be more inclined to go along with it.
This way, the way that I'm doing it, it's my risk, it's my money, it's my team doing the fight. What are they talking about. In my heart of hearts, I don't think the fight is going to do as much as with a Margarito or a Cotto. I'm the business man. It's my decision.
If I'm wrong, then I get it in the behind. If I'm wright, I benefit from the fruits of it. That's capitalism. That's what this is all about. That's what a lot of these press guys don't understand.