Money to get Money, Manny in the ring

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Peter Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

There was news last week that Prince Amir Shafipour of the Royal Family of the United Arab Emirates has been authorized to negotiate for the long-awaited dream match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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In an article posted in the Australian edition website of the International Business Times written by Vittorio Hernandez and citing ABS-CBN, it was stated that, “In fact, the president and royal family of UAE, Khalifa Bin Zayed AL Nahyan, gave the go ahead signal for Prince Amir Shafipour, the emirate’s boxing promoter, to conduct talks for the possible holding of the much-anticipated 2015 bout in Dubai.”

According to forbes.com, Al Nahyan, “also runs the world’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund, with reported assets of $627 billion.” So it’s a no-brainer that the Royal Family has the money to get Pacquiao and Mayweather to fight.

So what can we boxing fans and writers expect next? My answer: it’s worth watching for the next developments.

Assuring both fighters a guaranteed purse of $50 million each is chicken feed to the Royal Family, and perhaps another $50 million for the winner can be considered.

But let’s face it—getting a boxing bout between two superstars of the sport can prove to be a headache, because gone are the days when the superstars just wanted to “get it on” and prove who is the better fighter.

I am speaking of the era when Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hag–ler and Wilfredo Benitez simply wanted to prove who among them were the best. They treated us to fights that were unforgettable, with Hagler-Hearns proving to be the best, and Duran-Hearns turning out to be nearly tragic because Duran lost via second round knockout.

Fast forward now and money seems to rule how fights materialize at the elite level. If Mayweather and Pacquiao were fighting in the era of Hearns and company, they would have had no choice but to square off immediately with the best or be written off the picture for good.

But hey, we should be all happy that boxers are the highest paid sports stars today, because it is no joke taking those repeated blows to the head and body for the sake of making fans happy.

If Mayweather and Pac–quiao’s representatives allow the Prince to spearhead the staging of the fight between the two titans, I believe we can see a fight in 2015.

But here I go again—May–weather still holds an edge in a fight against Pacquiao.

If this fight was staged between 2008 and 2010, I would have given Pacquiao more than a 50-percent chance to beat Mayweather. But times have changed.

From a business standpoint though, I would like to see how the Prince swings the deal to have the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight materialize by 2015.

With about six months away from 2015, Mayweather would be wise enough to avoid any tough opposition prior to fighting Pacquiao. As for Pacquiao, I suggest he forget about coaching a basketball team in the Philippine Basketball Association if he wants to mount a serious challenge against Mayweather.

Obviously the Royal Family also has agenda in pushing Pacquiao-Mayweather: make Dubai the new mecca of boxing. Well, they have the money, logistics and what have you. They just need one big fight to make a big statement to boxing fans.

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