Pacquiao tells Mayweather: 'It's time to say yes' to fight
MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao made an appearance on The Today Show in New York on Friday, January 16 to promote the U.S. release of his docu-flick “Manny”, but he didn’t shy away from speaking on a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) reaffirmed to Today hosts Willie Geist and Natalie Morales that he has agreed to the “terms and conditions” Mayweather has set for a clash on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“My promoter and I, we agreed to all that [Mayweather] wants,” said Pacquiao, an eight-division and current WBO welterweight champion. “We’re just waiting for the signed contract to make it happen.”
In the past, negotiations have broken down over purse splits and pre-fight random drug testing, but those matters seem to have been resolved following an LA Times report that reported that Pacquiao agreed to give Mayweather the bigger slice of a 60-40 purse split while a protocol for testing would be drawn up.
Veteran reporter Lance Pugmire tweeted that Pacquiao met with promoter Bob Arum on Thursday in Los Angeles to get “up to speed” with the negotiation status. He also reports that Mayweather is still waiting to be satisfied with the terms of a joint venture between Showtime, which airs Mayweather’s fights, and HBO, the network that Pacquiao fights on.
The two networks last worked together in 2002 to make the heavyweight championship bout between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson happen, with HBO's Lewis winning by knockout. The fight was the highest grossing pay-per-view to that time, earning 1.95 million buys in America and generating $106.9 million.
'Long way to go'
The news from Mayweather's side of the negotiating table has also been generally optimistic.
Showtime sports executive vice president Stephen Espinoza tells RingTV.com that both parties have agreed not to negotiate through the media as had been done in the past but said they are making “progress” towards the fight.
“What I can say is that we are in discussions, and we are making progress,” said Espinoza. “We’ve got a long way to go, and significant open issues to overcome. But we’re making meaningful progress, and we’ll continue to work at it.”
Sam Watson, who is the visible representative of Mayweather’s reclusive adviser Al Haymon, also confirmed the positive developments to The Guardian. “I believe that everybody involved wants it to happen. I know Floyd wants it.”
Pacquiao took the highroad when asked whether he felt the five-division champion Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) had been ducking him.
“I think it’s time for him to say yes because of the calling of the fans. Not me; the fans want it all over the world,” said Pacquiao.
Manny, which opened for a brief theater run in the Philippines in March 2014, will be released to theaters and on-demand in the United States on Friday, January 23.
The Today Show concluded the segment by having Pacquiao work the punch mitts with the two hosts inside a ring. Many are hoping that the next time he’s seen in the ring, it’ll be opposite Mayweather. - Rappler.com