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article imageOp-Ed: Are Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Bob Arum playing games?

By Marcus Hondro     Jun 25, 2016 in Sports
The lead-up to last year's Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight saw it attract more hype on social media than any event in sporting history. It also attracted a bigger purse than sports has known and any pretense there won't be a rematch is simply gamesmanship.
Mayweather - Pacquiao round 1
No rematch, guys? Come on, given the money involved you can be sure a rematch was negotiated before maintenance staff at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas finished the clean-up following that first fight. After all, it's all about the money, no?
They made a fantastical amount that night, a purse no sporting event had even seen. For Mayweather some $200 million, $120 million for the Pac Man. Yes Mayweather retired at 49-0 after the fight and Pacquiao (58-6-2) beat Timothy Bradley, and then he retired, but athletes come out of retirement. Mayweather's already done it once.
If anything, it helps with the hype.
But surely you could not conduct a rematch the same way as that first bout. The Mayweather - Pacquiao fight was anticipated all over social media for longer than many fans were happy to tolerate (negotiations alone seemed to go on forever).
Fans got saturated with the 'will they or won't they,' then once the contracts were signed and the date set, they got saturated all over again, this time with the pre-fight hype. So Bob Arum of Top Rank, along with Showtime would have to come up with another manner of promoting it.
Read: of stringing us along.
And they have. It's been much more subtle this time, building slower. They'll never again make the payday they did last year, who knows when a boxing match will, if ever, but with the proper approach they know they can again make a killing, and they're taking that approach.
Because there is no other opponent, for either fighter, not Amir Khan, Vasyl Lomachenko, not Terence Crawford, against whom they could make a fraction of what they'll make stepping into the ring for a rematch. Again, this time more subtle, more of a gradual build. It's happening, a comment here, a piece of information there.
Record PPV numbers
Their first fight was not classic. Mayweather did what Mayweather does, put together a brilliant tactical plan, something no other pound-for-pound fighter has been as good at doing, and Pacquiao, who may or may not have been hampered by a shoulder injury fans were unaware of, was unable to penetrate Money's defense.
Despite the hype the fight was not much better than a lackluster affair, with Mayweather winning a unanimous decision, one judge scoring it 118-110 and the other two scoring it 116-112. But the mediocrity won't matter, fans will be back.
Pacquiao, a newly crowned senator in the Philippines, hopes to come out of retirement to represent his country at the Summer Olympics in Rio and will ask the people if he can take time to do so, though he did not say exactly how he intended to ask (or how they would be able to answer). And multiple times Arum has hinted Mayweather would be next.
Mayweather's been quiet. There have been comments, one last November in which he has stated he does not want a rematch. But that's part of it. Keep the press fires burning with denials. Remember it can't be so in-your-face this time. Mayweather has also, somewhat mysteriously, visited Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach's Hollywood gym on at least two occasions.
“We talked a little bit (but) not about the fight," Roach said after Mayweather paid a visit to his Wild Card Gym in March. "Not one word about fighting. But it’s interesting. I keep waiting for him to bring it (a rematch) up, but he hasn’t, so I don’t."
Fight of Century II
For their first bout the two knocked it out of the ring. Largest pay-per-view audience in sport's history, with 4.4 million PPV buys, easily eclipsing the previous record of 2.48, when Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. They won't hit 4.4 again but they'll surpass those second place numbers.
The Fight of the Century became The Haul of the Century and the rematch will be The Haul of the Century II. Let's say interest drops by a whopping 35 percent and the two fighters keep the same 60-40 split. So Mayweather is going to turn down $130 million, Pacquiao 78 million?
Here's what Arum said just last month about the potential of a rematch: "I would say there is a possibility a rematch happens, yes," the promoter said. "How big a possibility that is, I can't really measure."
Nonsense. He knows. He's known all along. Bidding their time. Waiting for the right moment to crank up the machine again. It is, after all, called the fight game.
It will be quicker, lead-up won't be so long, fight fans wouldn't tolerate it and they don't need it. But it's coming because there is all that money on the table and it's always about the money, no?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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