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boxing:

Money’ talks Manny

Questions of Pacquiao overshadow Mayweather’s fight with Marquez

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Associated Press

U.S. boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. waves to a crowd of fans gathered outside a gym in east London on May 22, 2009. Mayweather will fight Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez in a bout entitled ‘Number One/Numero Uno’ on July 18 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Mayweather Training

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, works on his timing with his uncle Roger Mayweather during a workout in his gym Thursday, June 11, 2009.  Launch slideshow »

Just to clarify: It is Juan Manuel Marquez, and not Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is facing in his return to boxing at the MGM Grand on Sept. 19, right?

Okay, just making sure.

It sure didn't seem that way Tuesday during a teleconference that included the undefeated Mayweather, Marquez, and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Richard Schaefer. Although topics did include his injured rib, a bit on Marquez and his return to boxing, it seemed all anyone was interested in was a potential meeting with the Filipino pound-for-pound king.

At first, Mayweather was pretty calm in his response, saying that Pacquiao hasn’t made a push to meet him in the ring.

“I don’t have anything bad to say about him because he’s never called me out,” Mayweather said. “He’s never said he wants to fight me.”

But as the questions continued coming, Mayweather’s voice started rising.

“You don’t hear fighters calling me out and if they do it’s because they only want a payday,” he said. “If Manny really does want to fight me all he’s got do to is say it. We can pay Marquez to step aside, we can pay him $1 million. Is you ready? Let me know.”

Mayweather has an opinion on just about everything. When it comes to Pacquiao, the former five-division champ has two firm beliefs.

First, Mayweather insists Pacquiao hasn’t done anything to prove he’s taken the pound-for-pound title away from him — because he hasn’t done anything that Mayweather hasn't achieved before.

“Manny is a good fighter, don’t take nothing away from him,” said Mayweather, whose last bout came against Ricky Hatton in December of 2007. “But fans seem to forget this, when he got beat by Erik Morales I was still at the top of my game. He hasn’t done anything that I haven’t done. He just followed behind me.

“It’s like a T-bone steak. I eat all the meat off the steak and they threw him the bone.”

There’s no question that at least recently, Pacquiao’s record has reflected that of Mayweather's unblemished mark. The two have defeated the same two opponents — Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton — in their two previous fights.

However, Pacquiao’s wins have been a little more electric. He knocked out Hatton in the second round and kept De La Hoya from answering the bell in the ninth. Mayweather won by a 10th round TKO over Hatton and a split decision over De La Hoya.

Mayweather has always maintained the reason for the disparities is that he was forced to wear 10-ounce gloves during both fights instead of the 8-ounce gloves that can now be worn by fighters in Nevada since a rule amendment in April 2008.

“I knocked Ricky Hatton out with 10-ounce gloves on,” Mayweather said. “When I fought De La Hoya he chose my gloves. When the (Marquez) fight gets close I’m going to show the gloves Oscar gave me for the fight.

“If they had put me in 8-ounce gloves against Oscar, he wouldn’t have to quit on the stool, it would have been a knockout with him on his back.”

The second argument Mayweather makes is if there is a fight to determine which man is better in the ring, he will receive the majority of the money from it.

That notion doesn’t sit well with the boxing promoter that represents Pacquiao, Bob Arum. Mayweather has already made it clear he wouldn’t consider a 50/50 split with Pacquiao because of his track record of generating enormous pay-per-view buys.

Schaefer agrees with him.

“A fighter, just like anyone else, has a certain market value they establish over time,” Schaefer said. “Mayweather, in his last two fights did 3.5 million buys with Hatton and Oscar. Pacquiao has fought the same two guys and it did a little more than half of that.

“So, it’s difficult for Floyd, who has worked so hard to get to where he is today, to say, ‘Okay, it should be 50/50,’ because in fact, it shouldn’t be 50/50. Each guy has a certain market value and they should get compensated accordingly.”

The likelihood of Mayweather Promotions and Bob Arum overcoming the disagreement is somewhat complicated considering their past. Arum actually represented Mayweather from 1996-2006, a partnership that Mayweather says Arum still owes him money from.

But these issues, and the fact Pacquiao is already rumored to be setting up a Nov. 14 fight with Miguel Cotto, hasn’t stopped the entire boxing world from asking if these two will meet in 2010.

Of course, everything could change if Mayweather were to actually lose to that other guy in September.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

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