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Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr: Battle of the Network Stars

Joseph Herron Updated
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Here we go again.

(Image courtesy of Round by Round Boxing)

In an upcoming HBO special presentation, "Under the Lights: Pacquiao-Algieri", eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao is asked what his goals are in boxing at age 35?

The soon to be 36 year old fighter responded:

"My goals are to finish as a world champion, winning my remaining fights. Since the last Marquez fight, I have approached every training camp and every opponent with 110% dedication. I would like to keep challenging myself in the opponents I will face in the future."

"I have not set a date or determined an age when I will retire. As long as I can keep fighting at the level I expect from myself, I will continue with my boxing career."

"I do have one specific goal, and that is to give the boxing fans the fight they have always asked for...a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I want that fight too."

"I believe good faith negotiations could produce that fight. But it is impossible to negotiate when you are the only one sitting at the table. Two fighters who want to fight each other have never been kept from fighting each other."

Manny's longtime promoter, Hall of Famer Bob Arum, replied to a similar inquiry during a conference call with Chris Algieri in Tuesday, November 11.

"How can I talk for Mayweather," questioned the Top Rank CEO. "As far as the Pacquiao fight is concerned with Mayweather, as much as a lot of people surrounding it would want it to happen, myself included and Manny included, Floyd is reluctant to fight Manny Pacquiao, period. If people don't see that by now, they are never going to see it."

While Team Pacquiao insists that Mayweather and company have served as the longtime obstructionists in the now tedious "Pacquiao/Mayweather" fight saga, Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza recently defended his network star's position and responded to the allegations in a series of public messages via Twitter.

"Stop. Offered him $40M plus big upside and he passed. He doesn't want it," tweeted the Executive Vice President of the premium cable network.

"Apparently Bob [Arum] doesn't even know who the A-side is. Bob hasn't moved an inch in 3 months. He's not negotiating."

In the American political arena, both Republicans and Democrats will often complain how their rival party members act as mere obstructionists who aren't genuinely willing to negotiate for the common good. In reality, neither side seems willing to meet the opposing party half way, and are ostensibly focused on imposing their will and dead set on standing their respective ground...it's become a moral dilemma at the expense of the taxpayer.

As a result, seldom is anything accomplished in the two conflicted Houses of U.S. Congress.

The aforementioned example seems to be the case when reflecting on previous events concerning the Pacquiao/Mayweather negotiation debacle.

French writer, poet, and politician Alphonse de Lamartine once stated that history teaches everything, including the future.

Both camps would be wise to learn from boxing's rich history.

Elite level trainer Ronnie Shields points to an improbable super fight that was successfully negotiated against all odds back in 2002.

"When I was training Mike Tyson, and Emanuel Steward was training Lennox Lewis, most people didn't think that a fight between both superstars could happen because they were signed to opposing networks...Showtime and HBO respectively," recollects the experienced boxing mentor.

"But when both fighters showed a genuine willingness to face each other, both sides sat down and worked together like human beings to make this massive PPV event happen."

A dream match-up that every fight fan clamored for became a stark reality on June 8th, 2002, at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee, between IBF, IBO, and WBC Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis and former universally recognized champion Iron Mike Tyson.

Tyson, who was committed to a lucrative multi-fight deal with Showtime Sports, came into the ring that evening to an introduction from Hall of Fame "Showtime" announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr, and Lewis, who was signed by rival network HBO, was introduced to the sounds of "Let's get ready to rumble" by none other than the incomparable Michael Buffer.

Although both competitive networks had much to negotiate, everything from the purse division down to the choice of color commentators, a deal had been miraculously made and the two entities came together to create a historic PPV event and an unforgettable superfight.

Coach Ronnie doesn't understand why the networks can't replicate the scenario today and bring the biggest fight in boxing history to the fight fans?

"These guys call themselves businessmen, but they're not acting like it," observes Ronnie Shields. "If the two networks could come to a mutual agreement back in 2002 with two of the biggest names and egos in boxing, why can't they do it now?"

"HBO agreed to pay Lennox Lewis' purse, and Showtime agreed to pay Mike Tyson's. The network who had the contract of the eventual winner was allowed to air the replay the following week. It was that simple. Both sides wanted to make it happen, so it happened."

After a second victory against Argentine rival Marcos "El Chino" Maidana in September, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was asked by several members of the always inquisitive boxing media about finally stepping in the ring with Manny Pacquiao at the post-fight press conference.

"I got to go back and talk to my team, I'm not ducking or dodging no opponent," stated Money Mayweather on September 14. "If a Pacquiao fight presents itself, let's make it happen."

If both fighters are indeed ready, willing, and able to get it on, why can't everyone involved follow the blueprint put forth by HBO and Showtime twelve years ago?

Why indeed.


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