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25 OCTOBER 2014

 




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Oscar vs. Pacman: How much better can you eat?


Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao: HoganPhotos.com
Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao: HoganPhotos.com

By Jason Pribila: The month of August has been a slow time for the sport of boxing. There haven’t been any major fight cards, and other than ESPN2 and Telefutura, the TV dial has been boxing free. Die-hards have been able to follow Olympic Boxing on CNBC. However, a confusing scoring system that rewards fighters for running could do more harm than good for the sport’s potential growth.

Despite the lack of live events, boxing scribes have been busy keeping us up to date with the Oscar De La Hoya vs Manny Pacquiao saga. A story that boils down to ego and greed, that has reminded me of a famous line from the Jack Nicholson movie, “Chinatown”. In the film he asks John Huston’s character, “How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can’t already afford? “

This week it has been widely reported that the deal for a December 6th fight between the sports biggest draw and the sports pound for pound king were dead because the fighters couldn’t agree on the splitting of the purse. De La Hoya proposed a 70/30 split, while Pacquiao countered with a 60/40 split. Top Rank’s Bob Arum said he thought it could have worked at 65/35. With neither side willing to budge, talks have begun for De La Hoya vs Sergio Mora, and Pacquiao’s team is looking toward a fight against Humberto Soto.

I’m not qualified to give either fighter financial advice. My personal negotiations during my professional career consisted of parallel moves, and the percentages on the table usually ranged in the 3% to 5% range, and there certainly weren’t any zeroes attached to the bottom line. So instead of offering advice or coming up with a solution, I’d simply hope to understand, “How much better can either man eat?”

De La Hoya has long been boxing’s biggest attraction. During his career in the ring he has become the richest non-heavyweight in history. His 2007 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. was boxing’s richest pay per view event ever. Outside the ring, his Golden Boy Promotions have become one of the most powerful in boxing today. His financial future seems secure whether or not he ever laces up the gloves again.

I haven’t always agreed with some of the decisions made by Golden Boy Promotions. I feel that they are doing their best to monopolize all of the television dates. Match-ups like Casamayor vs Marquez on PPV are insulting, their undercards are weak, and their tickets are overpriced. However, I do not find them at fault in this particular case.

When Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer met with Top Rank’s Bob Arum there were three issues that needed to be sorted out. The first issue would be to determine the maximum weight for the fight. Oscar gave in and agreed to come in at 147lbs, his lowest since he knocked out Arturo Gatti in 2001. He also agreed to wear 8 oz. gloves instead of the the 10 oz. gloves that he was used to wearing. However, the 70/30 split was non-negotiable.

“It is a bit mind-boggling for me that he would have to fight three or four times to make what he could make to fight Oscar, “Schaefer told ESPN.com. “I hope Manny has been given all the information by his people.”

Pacquiao’s people seem to be split by his decision to walk away from the fight. His adviser and lawyer is Franklin “Jeng” Gacal, who informed Arum that they would not accept 30%. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach is doing his best to make the fight happen. In a press release late this week, Roach said that he would decline his training fee in the event Pacquiao lost to Oscar.

I could understand Pacquiao feeling like he deserves 40%. He is currently considered the best fighter pound for pound, and he’s taking a great risk by challenging a much bigger man. However, even Floyd Mayweather Jr. agreed to 30% when he shared the marquee with the Golden Boy. Mayweather parlayed the massive exposure he gained from the De La Hoya fight to a role on network television’s “Dancing With the Stars”. Suddenly Mayweather was receiving the attention he always felt he deserved, and it showed when the box office numbers for his fight with Ricky Hatton did just under 1 million pay per view buys.

Pacquiao is a national treasure in the Philippians. Although he was not an Olympian, he carried in his country’s flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing. He has aspirations to be in movies, and even had a music video. Now, Pacquiao’s future may not be behind the mic., but he too seems to be set when he decides to hang up his gloves.

The 10-15 million that he would earn to fight De La Hoya would put him in position to be able to pick and choose future opponents. Huge paydays and potential fights with Ricky Hatton, and un-retired Floyd Mayweather, or a third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez would almost definitely do better numbers with his new found exposure.

I think Team Pacquiao should ignore percentages and focus on numbers. He did under 200,000 PPV buys against David Diaz in June; he would earn a proposed 3 million dollars to instead fight a rugged and hungry Humberto Soto in November, and 10 million dollars to take a fight in which he has nothing to lose.

How much better could Pacquiao eat? If he comes to his senses, he’ll be in position to answer that on December 7th.

PRIB NOTES:

I received an email from Madison Square Garden informing me that the Pre-Sale has begun for Jones Jr. vs Calzaghe. I was then shocked to see that the cheapest ticket in the place was $150.00. What a joke! Jones vs Trinidad suffered because of the ridiculous prices for that event, and Tito had a history of selling out the building. Calzaghe has fought once in the United States, and his clash with Bernard Hopkins in Vegas proved that his fans do not travel as well as Ricky Hatton’s fans do. Calzaghe has since claimed that the Jones fight will be his last. Fighting in front of Press Row and a few thousand fans isn’t the way either Hall Of Famer should go out.

PBS’ “Made In Miami” was an excellent documentary on the early career of Muhammad Ali. The interviews with Thomas Hauser added valuable insight from a man that got his info from his close personal relationship with the Greatest himself. If Oprah Winfrey’s “Tuesday’s with Morrie” made a successful Movie of the Week, I’d have to think that the ceiling for “Breakfast with the Greatest” is limitless.

Boxing returns to Philadelphia on Friday August 29th. Peltz Boxing has a 7 fight card planned featuring welterweight Mike Jones against Juliano Ramos for the vacant NABA welterweight title; and Latif Mundy taking on Rudy Cisneros. As the Phillies continue to fade, this may be the best ticket in town.

Anthony “The Messanger” Thompson was the latest fighter to suffer a loss due to a head butt in his fight against Ismail Arvin on ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights. This is now the third major fight that ended due to controversy surrounding a head butt. It’s time for the Commissioner to implement instant replay. Oh yeah, wrong sport!

Finally, I find it hard to believe that “Just For Men” can’t find any former boxers to do their spots on ESPN’s Wednesday and Friday Night Fights. Instead of a Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis chess match, we have Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier walking around cock-blocking grey beards in bars. I know boxing isn’t a darling on Madison Avenue, but a spot on a “Just For Men” commercial isn’t asking too much.

August 19, 2008


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