Although Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is gearing up to fight Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12, the boxing world is abuzz about the newly scheduled date for the match between Pacman and Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s adviser, told ESPN that after years of failed negotiations surrounding Pacquiao’s random drug testing, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is reserved for a May 5 fight between the two polarizing boxers.
"We're looking to make the biggest fight possible and everyone knows what that fight is, the little fella,” said Ellerbe.
Ellerbe spoke about the WBC World Welterweight Champion waiting to face WBO Welterweight World Champion Pacquiao.
"Floyd made it very clear that he wants to give the fans the biggest fights that are out there. He wants to stay active," Ellerbe told ESPN. "We're going to do everything in our power to make the biggest fight out there for the fans and we all know what the fight is."
Despite Ellerbe’s recent claims, Pacquiao’s famed promoter, Bob Arum, laughed at the scheduled date.
"The way they are going about it seems like a bizarre way to go about it," Arum told ESPN. "If you want to put it together, you meet, you talk. You don't just come out and say, ‘The fight is May 5 at the MGM.’”
Arum said the announcement was an attempt for Mayweather to steal the spotlight from Pacquiao who is currently promoting his Marquez match on Nov. 12.
“I think it's Floyd's way of trying to grab a little bit of the spotlight away from Manny,” Arum said. “I'm not going to get upset. I take it with a grain of salt."
However, Arum said he would like to see the fight take place. The promoter said he is only waiting on the call to negotiate a fight.
“When they want to do some serious negotiating somebody will call me and we will sit down and talk,” Arum said. “It's obviously a fight we want to make."
One factor that kept the two champions from getting in a ring together has been the agreement of meticulous drug testing of Pacquiao, who Mayweather has publicly accused of steroid use.
In a recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Pacquiao spoke about the bout delay.
“I don't know what's the reason, but I'm ready to fight him,” Pacquiao said.
ESPN analysts Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, known for their lively sports debates, discussed the issue. Bayless felt the announcement from the Mayweather camp was a publicity stunt to save face after comments Arum made last week about “Money” being afraid of “Pacman”.
“That fight will never, ever happen. What Mayweather hates is Manny’s right hand,” said Arum to ESPN before the official scheduled date was announced by the Mayweather camp.
“Mayweather has no chin and Manny will knock him out. Pacquiao and Mayweather is a three or four-round fight. Period,” Bayless added. “Last week Bob Arum calls out Mayweather as a chicken. So what was Floyd's PR response from a representative? We’ve already picked out an arena and a date, May 5. Now the ball is in your court.”
However, Bayless said that not all is what it seems.
“If you really want to fight the guy, you quietly go to him and say lets get this done. Lets mutually decide on a place and a time,” Bayless said. “Would Ali have ever announced I've picked a date in Los Vegas so Frazier better fight?”
However, Smith said he is proud of Mayweather for taking a stance and setting a definitive date.
“He’s finally saying here's a date, we have a venue. We're not running,” Smith said. “The man is basically saying I'm ready to roll. Make sure you handle your business against Marquez which shouldn't be that easy.”