Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to take on Antonio Margarito on November 13 at Cowboys Stadium, but the opponent he really wanted was the same one all boxing fans want: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
While in New York Wednesday (September 1), promoting his upcoming fight, both Pac-Man and his trainer Freddie Roach told the media that they were ready and willing to fight Mayweather, but the undefeated boxer didn’t step up.
According to ESPN, they said that they agreed to every demand by Mayweather for what could have been the richest fight in boxing history, but he chose not to accept the fight, leaving Pacquiao to look elsewhere for a fall opponent.
Still, Pacquiao says Mayweather needs him, not the other way around.
“I don’t need him, he needs me,” Pacquiao said of Mayweather. “Compare my achievements in boxing to his achievements.”
That’s a bold statement by the Filipino fighter, because both fighters have achieved plenty in the sport, which is why fans have been waiting anxiously for the pair to meet for nearly two years.
The fight was nearly made in January, then fell apart when Pacquiao refused Olympic-style drug testing in the weeks leading up to the fight. But, during a second round of negotiations came, following wins by both fighters to other opponents, Pac-Man agreed to the strict blood testing in an effort to make the fight, but he hasn’t heard from Mayweather’s side why an agreement couldn’t be reached.
“We agree with, you know, his demands,” Pacquiao said, referring specifically to the blood testing. “I wanted to know if that’s his real reason [for not fighting].”
This time was weird though. HBO Sports boss Ross Greenburg publicly stating that he was working as an intermediary between the two sides to make it happen. With things moving slowly, Pacquiao’s promoter Top Rank imposed a deadline for Mayweather to decide, which came and went with no answer. So, the Pacquiao camp said they were moving on.
Shortly after a deadline pass, Mayweather’s adviser Leonard Ellerbe issued a bizarre statement in which he said no negotiations ever took place — contradicting Greenburg and the folks at Top Rank.
However, Freddie Roach says there were definitely negotiations going on. He said Top Rank had been calling him for specifics for the fight, asking advice on things like what gloves to wear, what ring size to use, what weight to fight at, etc.
“When people are calling me and asking me, ‘Is this OK? Is this OK? Is this OK?’ There’s something going on,” Roach told ESPN. “I know there must have been negotiations going on.
“Whatever he wanted to do, we were accepting it. Whatever he wanted. Manny said, ‘I want to fight. I’ll agree to anything.’ I thought the fight was a shoo-in,” he continued.
He was wrong.
Despite all the hoopla, Roach agrees with everyone else, Pacquiao Mayweather needs to happen.
“I really truly think boxing needs that fight to happen,” Roach said. “All people want to know, ‘When’s he fighting Mayweather?’ Wherever I go, that’s what I’m asked.”