By Scoop Malinowski
The Manny Pacquiao-Bob Arum alliance lasted over a decade and produced one of the most illustrious careers in ring history.
But for all intents and purposes, that relationship appears to be over. Because there has been a breach of trust.
Bob Arum’s interests are not the same as Manny Pacquiao’s. And they haven’t been for quite a while. Bob Arum serves Bob Arum, not Manny Pacquaio. And Pacquiao now realizes it.
The first strike was the ridiculous decision in the first Tim Bradley fight which stole the championship from Pacquiao. Tim Bradley himself wasn’t even sure he did enough to win that fight, as he so memorably expressed to the interviewer in the ring after the fight. The motive was probably this: With Mayweather relentlessly ducking Manny, Arum needed to create a new star name so Bradley lucked out.
Okay, that was strike one. Strike two was the absurd decision loss to Jeff Horn in Australia. Pacquiao fought his heart out and clearly beat a much bigger, heavier, compulsive fouler but again the judges gave the fight to Horn. To top it off, this fight launched Arum’s new business partnership with ESPN with gigantic ratings. To be more specific, MANNY PACQUIAO launched Arum’s ESPN deal. And this robbery decision was the gratitude?!?!
Everyone in boxing understood what happened. Arum wanted but failed to produce the fight he really clamored for – Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford – so plan B was utilized: Transfer Pacquiao’s star value to Horn and then sacrifice Horn to Crawford so as to boost Crawford’s star power.
But it didn’t really work because Crawford is still not a superstar seller. The only way to transform Crawford into a superstar is to have him fight and beat Pacquiao, or perhaps Errol Spence but we know Al Haymon is on thin ice right now and will not risk any of his key fighters like Spence against top notch Arum fighters.
Arum’s motive is still Pacquiao vs Crawford and we know which side the politics will be on for that fight – think which fighter has the bigger money generating upside. Hint, it’s not the 39 year old.
Pacquiao is too great a fighter to be used as a stepping stone for a promoter he no longer can fully trust after the Bradley and Horn robberies. And the fact of the matter is he really doesn’t need to be doing any career favors for Crawford. Let Crawford become a superstar on his own, through his own hard work and dazzling performances. Nobody manufactured Pacquiao to be a superstar, or gave him any free tickets, he became a transcending superstar global icon because he has charisma, class, humility and he destroyed everyone in his path in a sensational and spectacular fashion which made the world fall in love with him.
Manny Pacquiao, a historical figure who won world titles in an unprecedented eight divisions, has reached the point that he can do whatever he wants in boxing, he can fight who ever he chooses or handpicks. Manny Pacquiao is still one of the biggest stars in the sport even at 39 and he can do it his way. He can fight Leon Spinks, Alfredo Evangelista, Kevin McBride, Vasyl Lomachenko, Chocolatito, Mayweather, Butterbean, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan or whoever the heck he wants to fight.
Bob Arum can talk about flying over to visit Manny in Manila in August. He can beg Manny to fight Crawford. He can promise this and that.
But Manny Pacquiao knows he was betrayed not once but twice. And he knows strike three is just waiting to bite his ass.
But you live and learn. Nothing hurts more than being betrayed by a friend or family member because of greed or disloyalty.
It’s Bob Arum who owes Manny Pacquiao now, not the other way around.