LAS VEGAS: Bob Arum says it would be “cruel”, the television networks don’t even want to think about it (yet), Floyd Mayweather apparently won’t consider it and Manny Pacquiao won’t talk about it.
Yet as the so-called “Fight of the century” closes in, every fresh pay-per-view bought and every dollar sprinkled around Sin City makes it more likely that this grand extravaganza happens all over again.
“Never say never,” HBO analyst and former four-weight world champion Roy Jones said. “The more you hear ‘never’, the more you think ‘maybe.’ ”
That is because money doesn’t just talk in boxing, it screams its lungs out. Loud enough on this occasion to cut through all the animosity between rival promoters, managers, networks and fighters with little time for each other.
Loud enough to keep the fight alive through all the torturous negotiation, the wrangling over the most minor of points and the feuds that had to be set aside in order to attain an ultimate payoff of more than $400 million on Saturday night, in boxing’s most lucrative promotion of all time.
The obstacles were countless, the divisions seemingly impossibly wide.
Just a few months back Arum was feuding with CBS/Showtime president Les Moonves, Showtime head Stephen Espinoza, plus Mayweather and his advisor Al Haymon, in a dispute dating back more than a decade.
Yet the bout still got made.
With the fighters set to drastically improve upon their career high pay days — Mayweather is slated to make more than $150 million and Pacquiao more than $100 million, why not do it again?
“I’m over this,” said Mayweather, alluding to the impending end to his career.
“I’m not thinking about that,” said Pacquiao.
However, three of the most successful pay-per-view telecasts in history have been rematches, including: Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield, Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson and Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana.
Should Pacquiao win, it would take away the “0” on Mayweather’s victory, and his sole means of judging his career would be by his total earnings. As if he wasn’t already tilting toward that mentality now.
“Absolutely the money means more to me than the unbeaten record,” he said this week.
The downside of a rematch is all these vested parties would have to come to the table again for another round of talks and presumably, more acrimony.
Then there is the possibility that if Mayweather wins, and thereby silences the critics who have harangued him for years for failing to secure a fight with Pacquiao, he may feel no need to put his record at risk once more.
A particularly one-sided Mayweather win would reduce the amount of potential money to be made from a second fight, with the major appeal of this bout being the perception that Pacquiao has a legitimate shot at an upset.
If a rematch did take place it could be taken out of Las Vegas, for example to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to accommodate far more spectators, yet it is hard to see the organizers tinkering with a format that has been so lucrative this time around.
Because, at the end of it all, despite the dislike and disruption, the frustrating wait and the often chaotic organization over tickets and such, this fight will make an astronomical sum of cash, for a whole bunch of people who like their wealth enough to want more of it.
That is enough to keep to keep the possibility of a do-over on the table for as long as Mayweather and Pacquiao are young enough to raise a glove in anger.
Never say never.