Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum told FanHouse on Sunday that he hopes to have a deal in place by Dec. 19 for southpaw Manny Pacquiao to face WBA and WBO lightweight (135 pounds) king Juan Manuel Marquez, WBC welterweight (147 pounds) belt-holder Andre Berto, or five-time champ Shane Mosley, that is, if nothing materializes with unbeaten six-time titlist Floyd Mayweather.
The 37-year-old Marquez (52-5-1, 38 knockouts) battled Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) to a disputed draw, and lost a controversial, split-decision, respectively, in May of 2004, and, March, 2008, but is coming off of Saturday night’s HBO televised, ninth-round knockout of former WBO interim champ Michael Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs). The 27-year-old Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) has scored consecutive knockouts over former champ Carlos Quintana (27-3, 21 KOs), and, Freddy Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs), in the eighth and first rounds.
Mayweather’s last two bouts were lopsided, welterweight decisions over Marquez and the 39-year-old Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), the latter of whom is coming off of September’s 12-round, junior middleweight (154 pounds) draw with ex-champion Sergio Mora (22-1-2, six KOs). Pacquiao, of course, earned his 13th straight win with a Nov. 13 unanimous decision over former titlist Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs), adding the WBC’s vacant junior middleweight belt to his WBO welterweight crown for his eighth title over as many different weight classes.
Arum said that he is not considering a match up opposite 35-year-old WBC middleweight (160 pounds) king Sergio Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs), who is coming off of a Nov. 20, second-round knockout of Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) that avenged a December, majority decision loss in a clash of southpaws during which both fighters were down in the first round.
FanHouse: What were your impressions of Saturday night’s performances by Andre Berto and Juan Manuel Marquez?
Bob Arum: I saw Andre Berto’s knockout, but I didn’t see Juan Manuel Marquez’s fight. Juan Manuel is a good fighter. He’s still a very good fighter.
What are your plans for Manny Pacquiao as they pertain to Juan Manuel Marquez, Andre Berto and Shane Mosley?
Let me explain. I’m leaving for the Philippines to see Manny on Dec. 12, which means that I’ll get there on Dec. 14. I will be meeting with Manny sometime that week before his birthday, which is Dec. 17.
Assuming that Mayweather doesn’t surface, I will present to Manny, hopefully, three proposals. The Mosley deal is one. I have yet to talk to [Andre Berto’s promoter] Lou DiBella for us to talk about the deal, but he knows the format. And I will also present to Manny the Marquez deal.
How likely is it that a deal can be made with Juan Manuel Marquez, who has been represented by Golden Boy Promotions?
Well, there are two key things with Marquez that are important. One is their fight will be at 147 pounds. In other words, they are not going to fight at a catch weight. If they want a stipulation that Manny doesn’t come into the ring weighing more than 150, that’s fine.
But it’s stupidity to make this guy, who is the welterweight champion — Manny — go down to 142 or 143. Or to starve himself. The important thing is how much that they weigh the night of the fight.
Manny, when he fought Antonio Margarito, weighed in at 144.6 pounds and came in the night of the fight at 148 pounds. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re not interested in any kind of starving to get lower and so forth.
The night of the fight, if Marquez fights Manny, Marquez will probably be the same weight as Manny. So the fact that Marquez will probably do that, we’re not going to allow Marquez to make this kid [Pacquiao] think twice about what he’s eating.
That’s No. 1. The other guys, Mosley and Berto, they’re no problem. They’re okay with 147, obviously. But the second thing is, I’m interested in only two figures in the negotiations. That’s all.
One is, the guaranteed amount that I have to pay the fighter, and, secondly, how we measure the upside. Is it above 800,000, or is it above a million homes, and how many dollars a home over and above that threshold?
Those are the only two points that I’m interested in. Period. Period. Period. So, again, I know exactly what Marquez (pictured at right) got for the Mayweather fight, alright? And he lost that fight. So, at best, he’s not entitled to any more than that.
Why should he get more money to fight Manny than he got to fight Mayweather? Why? So, you know, I don’t need a big negotiation. And we’re not going to need to negotiate with [Golden Boy CEO] Richard Schaefer or anybody like that.
All I need is for them to send us a letter saying, ‘Okay, we’ll accept X amount of dollars as a guarantee, and Y dollars for the upside,’ which, we know what ‘X’ and ‘Y’ were for their fight against Mayweather.
So it’s either a little less or the same, but not five cents more.
Since you mentioned Lou DiBella, who also promotes Sergio Martinez, are you not going to entertain a potential fight with Martinez?
We’re not entertaining Martinez. There is no way that we’re entertaining Martinez. Martinez goes into the ring…the weight, this whole weight issue the day before the fight at the weigh-in is meaningless.
It’s the weight that they go into the ring at. Martinez will go into the ring weighing something like 175 pounds. He would be fighting a guy who would go into the ring — Manny — not even weighing 150 pounds.
Manny would be giving away 25 f**king pounds. I’m not going to let my guy do that. One guy would be way too big for the little guy. I’ve been around for a long time. I was involved in the promotion of Carlos Monzon and Jose Napoles.
That was with Monzon being the middleweight champion, and Napoles being the welterweight champion. Monzon was way too big for him and easily beat him [seventh-round knockout in February of 1974.] He was 25 pounds too much.
I’ve got the greatest fighter of all time, but I don’t have Superman.
Do Andre Berto’s most recent accomplishments, his consecutive knockouts, make him any more marketable in your estimation?
Of all of the three guys, Andre Berto is the toughest sell because to the general public, he is totally unknown. I mean, when you look at the general public, of those three guys, who would be the guy that would be most well-known?
Easily, it’s Shane Mosley. Shane Mosley’s been around forever, he’s beaten Oscar De La Hoya twice. So, it’s Mosley. The second-most well-known of the three would be Marquez. You know?
And, you know, with Marquez, there is a big drop off from Shane Mosley as far as the general public is concerned. I’m not talking about the boxing public. And then, third, you have Andre Berto. Nobody knows who Andre Berto is.
So, again, that has to be taken into consideration. I have to estimate with Manny how many buys that he thinks that he’ll do with one of these guys.
I don’t think that Andre Berto’s recent victory means anything in particular, because he was fighting a real Class C fighter [in Hernandez].
How much marketability is there in the assertion made by Andre Berto that Manny Pacquiao needs to face someone who is younger, fast, hungry and strong, meaning, himself?
Well, again, needs to fight? How does that translate into buys? That’s really all that matters — the buys. Manny is confident that he beats any of these three guys. So now, the question is who generates the most money.
Now, obviously, if we’re out trying to sell an Andre Berto, we emphasize his newness, the fact that he’s a young guy and all of that sort of stuff. The question is, does that make up for his lack of recognition in relation to Mosley?
Those are questions that have to be answered. I’m not interested in what these boxing nuts are writing or not writing. Those people will watch anyway.
But he has a lot of selling points, does Andre Berto, and, hopefully I’ll have a proposal from Lou DiBella, you know, by this Monday or Tuesday.
Well, you know sometimes controversy sells, so do you expect that in regard to Andre Berto, the notion broached by Bernard Hopkins with FanHouse that Manny has not faced an African American fighter would likely surface during a Pacquiao-Berto promotion?
I’m aware of that fact. And that’s why that mitigates that argument which resonates with some people. I agree that it might come up. That indicates that an Andre Berto or a Shane Mosley, in some people’s minds, should have a leg up on a Juan Manuel Marquez.
When do you hope to have Manny Pacquiao’s next fight locked down and secured in an ideal scenario?
My [79th] birthday is Dec. 8, and Manny’s birthday is Dec. 17. I hope to have something lined up by Sunday, Dec. 19 when I return from the Philippines.