The days are counting down. If Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t agree to terms soon to meet longtime rival Manny Pacquiao in the ring on May 2, boxing promotors say he will sign on to fight someone else on May 30.
“A lot of places around the world want to host a Manny Pacquiao fight,” Top Rank boxing promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com on Saturday. “He’s an international icon, and I have been approached by a number of people looking to host a Manny Pacquiao fight.”
Other than the date for the possible May 30 HBO pay-per-view event, no other details have been worked out. The fight could take place anywhere from Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi and against anyone from former junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia to Lucas Matthysse of Argentina.
However, the most intriguing matchup for the May 30 alternate fight would be Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouots) vs. welterweight contender Amir Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) in Khan’s native England.
“Prince Harry has a group looking to put on a Manny Pacquiao fight in London,” Arum told ESPN.com. “Khan would certainly make sense, and it’s an interesting fight.”
Arum was quick to remind, however, that this idea is still Plan B.
“Remember — all that is a backup plan. We are still trying to nail down the Mayweather fight,” Arum said. “We need Mayweather to say yes.”
Ironically, it was Mayweather who first called for the May 2 fight late last year. Since then, though, it’s been all Pacquiao trying to make it happen. The 36-year-old Filipino’s method has been questionable, however, mostly consisting of needling Mayweather incessantly on social media.
Mayweather hasn’t shot back consistently online, but when he does, he flaunts his wealth as the highest-paid athlete in the world, which effectively lets Pacquiao know Mayweather’s “Money Team” is fully in control of when the fight will happen.
The Washington Post’s Des Bieler summarized the environment best:
At this point, it’s likely that Mayweather is enjoying the heck out of stringing along Pacquiao, not to mention high-profile promoters Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya, as well as everyone else clamoring for the fight. He’s made it beyond obvious that he enjoys wealth, and there can be little doubt that he is loving the feeling of power he gets from all of this just-fight-already hand-wringing.
It’s abundantly clear that the fight will happen when — and only when — Mayweather says it will. Pacquiao may feel like he’s ratcheting up public pressure, but he’s also coming across as increasingly desperate, and Mayweather is surely having a ball letting his would-be opponent twist in the wind.
The real test will come a week from Sunday when Pacquiao’s hard deadline comes around. Will he stick to it and schedule the alternative fight? That’d be a sucker-punch to the wallet of Mayweather knows the May 2 fight against Pacquaio could be the highest-grossing sporting event ever.