Arum oversteps in making demands on Mayweather's fight schedule
The "Fight of the Century" went down earlier this month in Las Vegas between Michigan native Floyd Mayweather and the Philippines' favorite son Manny Pacquiao.
While boxing aficionados gathered for this highly anticipated fight five years in the making, tempers ran high across news programs, sports blogs and social media over who was the better fighter - and the better person. Following Mayweather's win, a lot of the responses on social media have been characterized by a focus on comparing Mayweather's arrogant "I spend my money on me" antics and Pacquiao's church going family-man persona. Fans are already eagerly awaiting a re-match that will, perhaps, bring the focus back to fighting skills.
A re-match may already be set for April 2016, amidst lots of controversy, but we know controversy also produces more talk and fuels the excitement build up. Considering that many fans were disappointed that this fight didn't quite live up to their expectations and was over too easy, a rematch makes sense. But if the build up is too excessive the letdown may signal a shift in boxing fans' interests going forward.
It was quite apparent to everyone watching that Pacquiao's shoulder injury was affecting his ability in this fight.
Injuries are a normal part of the sport and willingness to fight through an injury is one of the more intriguing things to watch. It's not unusual, for example, to witness Mexican fighters continue with an obviously dislocated shoulder, and it keeps us glued to our seats and straining to admire the sportsmanship exemplified as they keep on going.
Pacquiao had disclosed the injury during training and again the night of the fight, and had treatments approved by USADA. The Nevada State Athletic Commission required him to stop treatment the night of the fight, despite protests, and the fight went on as scheduled. Whether the results of the fight were affected significantly by the injury is debatable.
A re-match with a healthy Pacquiao may put fans at ease, assuming Manny is able to heal sufficiently over the next year.
Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, is pushing for the re-match but is also insisting that Mayweather cancel his planned September fight. Pacquiao clearly would not be ready in September but it's not really Arum's business what Mayweather chooses to do in September as long as he is agreeing to the re-match next April.
Arum has repeatedly blamed Pacquiao's shoulder injury, and the Nevada Commission's refusal to let him have an anti-inflammatory shot prior to the fight, for his loss. The real question is: Why did Arum insist that Pacquiao was ready to fight.
He can't shove him into the ring with the injury and then blame the injury for the failure to perform to expectations.
It's also hard to say why Arum thinks Mayweather should avoid what could be a financially lucrative fight in September and wait around for April; but Arum isn't explaining himself on that point either. Questions around whether that is sufficient healing time and whether he should not be fighting yet in April have been raised, but Arum is pushing for the re-match and seems to be trying to set up another exciting build-up amongst fans for the fight.
Perhaps Arum thinks that fans will be too sated by Mayweather's fight in September to be properly excited about next April, but either way Mayweather should follow his own counsel and not the desires of his opponent's promoter.