TALKS  ON  FOR  BOXING'S  BIGGEST  FIGHT

[PHOTO AT LEFT - MAYWEATHER'S RICHARD SCHAEFER AND PACMAN'S ARUM TALK]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 25, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Negotiations are on for a Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr. megafight.

However, Bob Arum of Top Rank, who calls the shots for Pacquiao, and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy, stepping in for Mayweather, have agreed that whatever comes up on the negotiating table is not for everyone to see.

“We’re not gonna negotiate in the newspapers,” said Arum, who had agreed with Schaefer to keep the details regarding the negotiations to themselves unlike before when the media just gets hold of everything.

“I can confirm I am meeting with Richard, but I’m not going to talk about the specifics. It’s a meeting where we will try to make the fight. Whether it can be made or not in this meeting, I don’t know,” Arum told ESPN.com.

“We’ll see what we will see,” said the Top Rank chief, who will put everything behind, including his rift with Mayweather, whom he used to promote until they bitterly parted ways years ago, in his dealings with Schaefer.

Mayweather has no ties with Golden Boy Promotions of which Schaefer is CEO, but the former banker who helped make Oscar dela Hoya boxing’s golden boy has had a hand in helping Mayweather seal his last three fights.

Arum and Schaefer are looking at a fight that could break all existing records in boxing. If and when it takes place, the pay-per-view record of 2.15 million buys for the Mayweather-Dela Hoya fight in 2007 could be surpassed.

And that could mean more than a hundred million dollars in PPV sales, and earnings of at least $30 million for each fighter. By keeping the media out of the negotiating room, Arum and Schaefer will make sure everything goes smoothly.

“As part of the negotiations both Bob and I had to agree to keep all discussions confidential. No further comments will be made until such time that we either have a deal or the negotiations fall apart,” Schaefer told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.

The Golden Boy honcho said everybody wants the fight, and that includes the undefeated Mayweather who came out of retirement to beat Juan Manuel Marquez last September and set the stage for the dream match with Pacquiao.

“Floyd and me want to see if we can get the fight done,” he said.

Pacquiao-Mayweather talks will be tricky SPORTS FOR ALL By Philip Ella Juico (The Philippine Star) Updated November 25, 2009 12:00 AM

JOGJAKARTA, Indonesia – The Manny Pacquiao fever continues to engulf Southeast Asia including Singapore, which is not known to particularly love boxing, and this huge nation of Indonesia.

On my way to this university town of Jogjakarta, we went through Singapore and got a hold of the island city-state’s largest newspaper, The Straits Times. The Times devoted two whole pages of Saturday’s issue to the controversial France-Ireland World Cup playoff match won by France on a handball by French team captain and World Cup veteran Thierry Henry. Competing with the football controversy are one feature article on how Pacquiao “brought joy to a doleful state” and Pacquiao coming back to a hero’s welcome and expressing interest in fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Henry himself has asked for a replay after video footages of the action clearly showed a handball violation (two violations, as a matter of fact) paving the way to a 2-1 French victory over the Irish but sparking outrage in the world of football.

The Times Rojit Brijnath (Sporting Life) says the “handball will be explained away as a refereeing oversight, not as player dishonesty”.”Admittedly”, Brijnath says, “Henry’s job is not to police the game but to play it, but he cannot disregard his duty to the game.”

Brijnath refers to the days when there were no challenges in tennis and there was therefore no chance to correct the umpire’s and linesmen’s errors. In the French Open of 1982, Mats Wilander of Sweden won his semifinal when Jose Luis Clerc’s final shot was called out. The umpire announced the result and left his chair but Wilander was unconvinced his rival’s shot was errant. He asked the umpire to sit down and for the point to be replayed saying, “I can’t win like this.”

The FIFA, the governing body of football, has rejected calls for a game replay and has even ignored suggestions of using video replays to reverse calls and non-calls of game officials, as is done in tennis. Scottish Football Association chief Gordon Smith believes, according to wire agencies AFP and AP, a tennis-style review system, whereby each team are given two challenges per match, can work. Instead FIFA is testing the placement of two match officials behind the goals in the Europa League, thus rejecting technology which can solve many of such similar problems.

On Pacquiao, the Times senior writer, Bruce Gale, says that “nobody likes to be a party pooper...but a more dispassionate look at the way both they and their political leadership reacted (to Pacquiao’s record-breaking seventh world boxing title) reveals a deep national malaise. A second-hand book seller in Manila put it well: “Manny carries the pride of the entire Filipino nation. He is our hero, the only one we have, and we are desperate for heroes right now.”

With all due respect to Gale and the unidentified book seller, there are indeed many other heroes in our midst. Ask those who were saved from certain death by low-profile people during typhoon Ondoy and other tragedies. Ask those who received help from people who donated the relief goods (which were packed by hero-volunteers).

Pacquiao is no doubt a hero, as even the front desk staff of Jogjakarta Plaza Hotel acknowledge. They know him (and singer Christian Bautista) as a talented and courageous Filipino, like their own idol, Chris John.

Now that Pacquiao is the 147-pound WBO welterweight king, we may have to go through some tricky and awkward negotiations with the Mayweather camp. Boxing pundit Cesar Medina points out that it would be “unusual” for Pacquiao to ask or demand that Mayweather go down to a catchweight of 144 pounds or any weight below 147 pounds in a title fight where Pacqiao is the defending champion of the 147-pound division.

Mayweather can always say the maximum in the welterweights division is 147. He can say, “You (Pacquiao) are king of the welterweights. Why are you asking for a handicap by my going down to a catchweight of 144 pounds which is not the welterweight limit?”

This kind of argument, a valid one, could very well be used by Mayweather if one recalls the recent statements of Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum: “Mayweather is terrified of losing that zero (number of defeats in his record). He (Mayweather) is so tied up with the fact that nobody has beaten him.” This fear may however be assuaged by 30 million mega-buck reasons and the fight may still go through.

If Mayweather, however, insists on the 147-pound limit and the two boxing greats meet at 147 pounds, this is the first time Pacquiao will meet a 147-pounder with Mayweather’s talent and skill.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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