Will Pacquiao fight in the new Philippine Arena?

Will Manny Pacquiao fight in the Philippine Arena? (Getty Images)

There has been some speculation that Manny Pacquiao may engage undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr at the spanking new coliseum which is being constructed to herald the centennial of the Iglesia ni Kristo.

Located in Bocaue, Bulacan and described as “the largest domed theater on the planet” and nearing completion, the state-of-the-art coliseum can accommodate a crowd of 50,000.

The coliseum, featured in a one-hour show on the Discovery channel, is some 62 meters above the ground and is already creating a great deal of excitement in the worlds of entertainment and sports with the report that “boxing fans could also dream of watching their idol Manny Pacquiao savage his next opponent in this structure that its designers brag as one that combines majesty with intimacy.”

Whether Pacquiao will be able, with the resources and the persuasive influence of the Iglesia ni Kristo which is both respected and powerful, entice Mayweather to face him in the Philippines even though Mayweather’s only home appears to be the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, remains to be seen. But it appears, it won’t be for the want of trying.

Earlier, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told the Manila Standard he seriously doubts whether Mayweather will ever agree to face Pacquiao even if he (Arum) steps aside as Mayweather has often demanded if the fight has a chance of pushing through.

When Yahoo Philippines told Arum the consensus is that Mayweather won’t fight Pacquiao no matter what happens, he replied “absolutely.”

Arum indicated that even if, for the sake of discussion, he agrees to step aside, Mayweather would bring up some other issues like offering Pacquiao a comparatively small purse and demand several options, especially since Pacquiao turned down a flat $40 million offer directly from Mayweather in the past.

The idea of Arum stepping aside to help make the fight that the world has long wanted to see happen was brought up the other day by Pacquiao’s lawyer, Franklin “Jeng” Gacal, who suggested that Pacquiao pay Arum a step aside fee which effectively ruined the proposition because Mayweather has made it clear he doesn’t want Arum to make any money.

In an interview with journalist Ben Thompson on the website Fight Hype, Mayweather made several derogatory remarks about Pacquiao which his adviser Michael Koncz branded as “nasty.”

Mayweather indicated that although Pacquiao had long expressed his desire to fight Mayweather, he is convinced that the Filipino southpaw and boxing icon wanted the fight so he could pay off his reported tax obligations to the US Internal Revenue Service and the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue despite the fact that both issues are in the midst of being resolved.

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Mayweather also recalled their phone conversation when Pacquiao asked for a 50-50 split when all Mayweather offered him was a flat $40 million in a deal where Mayweather would have netted around $150 million.

Arum and others in Team Pacquiao believe that Mayweather is scared to fight Pacquiao just as Arum said some years ago that he was scared of fighting Antonio Margarito and didn't face Miguel Cotto in his prime, both of whom were demolished by Pacquiao.

Mayweather said "I don't have a good relationship with him (Arum). Why does he want to do business with a coward? When I left, he said something about I was scared of Antonio Margarito and all this, right? Where's he at now and where am I at? They claimed Jose Luis Castillo won the fight (his first encounter with Floyd which is a view shared by some boxing writers) adding where are they now and where am I at.”

In a dig at Koncz, Mayweather said Arum and Koncz have to eat and all of them are on a percentage basis, even as he referred to Koncz as a con artist who “wouldn’t be my manager if I was in the boxing game.”

Referring to his $40 million offer, Mayweather said “when I gave him the opportunity to fight me, he didn't take it, and then, he was sleeping on that MGM canvas (referring to the sixth-round KO at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8, 2012) and added I don't know how that feels, but he can take it every which way, if he feels more comfortable laying on his face or on his back. In life, it's about moving forward."

Mayweather contradicted himself about "moving forward" and failed to recognize how well Pacquiao recovered from the knockout and put on a spectacular performance in a near shutout victory over former world lightweight champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in Macau last November 24 which was praised by Mayweather’s father and trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr who, after bad-mouthing Pacquiao in the past, turned around and said that Manny looked like Floyd in the fight against Rios and won every round.

Despite rumors that there was a “done deal” for the fight the world has longed to see although its perhaps three years too late, which Mayweather himself branded “a lie” and Arum described as “having no substance”, celebrated trainer Freddie Roach has told Michael Woods of The Sweet Science that he wants the fight to happen and believes it’s “closer now than ever.”

Meantime, Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told Yahoo Philippines that he expects a decision to be made by Pacquiao by Monday next week because Arum has indicated he would have to start promoting the fight by the last week of January since the April 12 date at the MGM Grand Garden Arena cannot be pushed back even though Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee had expressed the hope it could take place in May after she gives birth to their fifth child.

Pacquiao will choose between a rematch with Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley who won a hugely controversial split decision in June 2012 and former Pacquiao sparring partner Ruslan Provodnikov, the WBO light welterweight champion who gave Bradley all he could handle in an exciting battle that was a candidate for “Fight of the Year.”

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.