With 10 days to go until the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, contracts aren’t signed, tickets aren’t on sale, and the fight that would save boxing is instead reflecting the flaws that continue to damage it.
While the two camps agreed to the fight back in February, they have yet to sign the actual contract, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports. As a result, tickets to both the fight at the MGM Grand and the closed-circuit viewings at MGM properties around Las Vegas haven’t been released for sale.
Ticket sales are expected to generate $US72 million, but a week and a half before the fight, no one actually has a ticket. The two sides reportedly made progress on Tuesday, but the contract remains unsigned as of Wednesday morning.
As you’d expect, Pacquiao’s promotor, Top Rank, is blaming Mayweather Promotions, and vice versa.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports that Mayweather’s advisor Al Haymon is responsible, and that the delay is possibly a power play so Mayweather’s camp can get more tickets to sell on the secondary market. This theory was seconded by Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz, who later told Iole, “This is Haymon and Haymon alone. He is trying to keep us from getting what we’re due in the agreement we signed.”
Mayweather Promotions didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Arum told Rovell that the contract Mayweather Promotions sent Top Rank on April 15 was different from the term sheet they signed back in February. Top Rank wouldn’t have control over how the fight is staged under the contract that’s on the table, Arum said.
“They don’t want us to have any say,” Arum told ESPN. “So whether they came up with the deal between Mayweather and MGM before or after our agreement, they have committed fraud either way. That’s what we’re enmeshed in.”
On Tuesday Arum said his camp finally got the ticket manifest, which seems to have cooled tensions a bit.
Mayweather Promotions is the fight’s lead promotor. The two sides also agreed to a 60-40 revenue split in favour of Mayweather. Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe told Rovell that Arum is trying to change the agreement at the last minute, hence the delay:
“The bottom line is that Bob isn’t willing to live with the agreement signed a couple months ago, which doesn’t allow him to be in control. The only conspiracy, in my opinion, exists with him trying to conspire with his lawyers to change the terms of the agreement. I assure you that nothing underhanded is going on and the reference to this back alley stuff is ridiculous.”
We’ve reached out to Top Rank for comment.
Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy Promotions used to promote Mayweather’s fights, blamed Floyd’s camp for the delay, which he called “shocking.”
“This is mind-boggling. This is shocking, but at the same time, we understand what is going on,” he told Iole. “This is the Al factor. This is what you get when you deal with Al.”
De La Hoya even taunted the fighters on Twitter, offering a free ticket to the Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland to any fan who sent him a picture of their Mayweather-Pacquiao ticket, which don’t exist:
This is the closest anyone came:
The consensus in the boxing world is clear: this is a joke, even if it the ticket fiasco eventually works itself out.
Iole, a Hall of Fame boxing writer, called it a “farce” and an “embarrassment.”
“The biggest event in boxing history is rapidly turning into its greatest embarrassment. And that’s saying something considering the long and mostly sordid history of professional boxing,” he wrote.
Rovell asked Arum about the possibility that the fight would fall through at the last minute, but Arum said that even in a worst-case scenario the governor of Nevada could step in force the gaming commission to put on the fight.
Other boxing commentators and fans are incredulous:
Everyone involved in this fight is exhausting at this point. Everyone looks either podunk or like a swindler with the spotlight on.
— Scott (@scottchristBLH) April 22, 2015
Even when the contract is signed, only a small percentage of tickets are expected to go on sale publicly. In addition, the pay-per-view will cost fans $US99, making it the most expensive PPV fight ever.
Connor Gregiore of the secondary ticket seller Seat Geek told Business Insider that it’s “very unusual” for tickets not to be available this close to an event.
“Haven’t seen it before with any fight, let alone one of this magnitude,” he said.
“People are hesitant to make a purchase on the resale market when there’s all this news about the confusion and delays in the original sale and distribution of tickets,” he told BI. “We’re starting to see activity pick up here over the past few days, but it’s been a much slower trickle of purchases over the last few weeks.”
MGM hasn’t commented on the ticket situation this week, and didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Ultimately, this is probably a fitting way for Pacquiao-Mayweather to unfold. This fight should have happened in 2009, when both fighters were at the peak of their powers. It didn’t happen, and now we’re seeing exactly why.
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