"Floyd isn't holding anything up. No one is waiting on Floyd to rubber stamp or sign anything. Arum isn't being truthful on this and he knows it. There is no contract that is awaiting Floyd's signature and Bob Arum knows that. Floyd has been absolutely clear with all of us, with Leslie Moonves, with Al Haymon, and with me, that he wants the Pacquiao fight. That's what we've been working on for weeks. We've made what I call significant progress, but there's still open issues which have to be resolved. So there's no agreement or closed deal or contract or anybody signing off on anything. Neither CBS or Showtime or Haymon, or even HBO really for that matter, have yet agreed," stated Showtime Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager Stephen Espinoza, who set the record straight on the current status of negotiations for a potential showdown between undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather and 8-division world champion Manny Pacquiao. Check it out!
BT: Obviously a lot of things have been said from one side, but not from the other when it comes to these negotiations for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Can you set the record straight and give us an update on exactly what's going on?
SE: Sure. Our agreement at the onset of this process was that we were all going to keep it out of the press as much as possible, and I think our side has done a fairly good job of doing that, but with all the misrepresentations that have been going around lately, we have to speak up, and it's a disservice to our side of things if we don't. To get to the specifics, Floyd isn't holding anything up. No one is waiting on Floyd to rubber stamp or sign anything. Arum isn't being truthful on this and he knows it. There is no contract that is awaiting Floyd's signature and Bob Arum knows that. Floyd has been absolutely clear with all of us, with Leslie Moonves, with Al Haymon, and with me, that he wants the Pacquiao fight. That's what we've been working on for weeks. We've made what I call significant progress, but there's still open issues which have to be resolved. So there's no agreement or closed deal or contract or anybody signing off on anything. Neither CBS or Showtime or Haymon, or even HBO really for that matter, have yet agreed on the old terms. We're trying to resolve open issues, which is what is taking time. There's no delay or impediment from Floyd, and for Arum to say otherwise is just completely untrue.
BT: I know you're not speaking on Bob's behalf, but in your opinion, why do you think he would go to the media and start making some of the comments he's made?
SE: A lot of the stuff that has come out from Arum is baffling to us. I can only guess as to what his motives may be. Maybe he thinks that this is creating some public pressure on Floyd to get the deal done, but the irony of the whole thing is no one needs to pressure Floyd. Floyd has wanted this all along. If people saw the terms that have been negotiated, it's clear Floyd wants to make a deal. He doesn't need this PR campaign to convince him that he needs to make the deal. He wants to do it for himself, for the fans, for the sport of boxing, and no one needs to pressure him into making that fight. Then you start to wonder if someone is consistently mischaracterizing the negotiations and trying to demean the other side, is that person really trying to make a deal? Someone who's trying to make a deal doesn't go out and publicly misrepresent what's going on with the negotiations. It's a complete mystery to us.
BT: Do you think that some of the things that Arum has said might hurt the chances of finalizing a deal?
SE: All of this misinformation and mischaracterization certainly doesn't help. I think up to this point, we're sort of gritting our teeth and trying to keep focused on our goal, and that continues to be our goal, but at a certain point, you can only take so much of the misstatements before you have to speak out and set the record straight.
BT: Knowing all of the misinformation that Arum has put out there regarding these negotiations, are you still confident that all the parties involved actually do want to make this fight a reality? I mean, if Arum knows none of that information is true, then why would he be putting it out there as if it were true?
SE: One thing I'm certain of is everybody on our side, from CBS to Showtime to Al Haymon to, most importantly, Floyd Mayweather, have continuously worked to make this fight happen since these discussions opened back in the fall of 2014. I hope the same is true for the other side. There are times when I believed it is true, but when you see these kind of misinformation floating around, you have to start to wonder.
BT: Does it cause you concern about being able to finalize negotiations with the other side when you start to hear that it looks like De La Hoya and HBO are already making plans for a fight between Canelo and Kirkland on May 2?
SE: Ultimately, none of this other external stuff has any impact on what our goal is and what our course of conduct is. Our goal is to make that fight and we're going to continue trying to make that fight until it becomes clear that either the deal is impossible to make or that someone on the other side has decided that they don't want the fight to happen. Unless one of those two things happens, then we're going to continue to try to make this fight because it's the right fight to make.
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