Floyd Mayweather’s camp is putting the pressure on Manny Pacquiao. After the fighter made jabs on social media, it is now Stephen Espinoza’s turn to tell Pacquiao what he needs to do to get a shot at Mayweather.
Espinoza, Showtime Sports’ Executive Vice President, was recently named as the Yahoo Sports Boxing Person of the Year, an honor that considers everyone in the boxing industry. In an interview with Gareth Davies of The Telegraph, the powerful executive opined that for Mayweather Pacquiao to happen, the Filipino needs to leave Bob Arum and his Top Rank Promotions.
ALSO READ: Showtime’s Espinoza is the Yahoo Sports Boxing Person of the Year
“I know Floyd is not the issue. Floyd wants the fight. Floyd will fight Manny Pacquiao anywhere, any time,” Espinoza told the Telegraph. “Unfortunately, there is a promotional conflict which is the issue. I’d like to say I’m optimistic but there is a lot of politics involved, a lot of history to resolve.”
Arum used to promote Mayweather but the two camps had a bitter falling out in 2006. The fighter realized that more money could be made if he just promoted himself. Mayweather ditched Top Rank Promotions and simply hires Golden Boy Promotions on a contractual basis.
Mayweather wants Pacquiao to do the same. The undefeated American has often said that he’ll never allow Arum to earn off his name. Still bitter about how much money Arum earned from him, Mayweather would rather pass up on the biggest purse of his career if it means not allowing Arum to take a piece of the pie.
“Unfortunately, until Manny Pacquiao changes his promotional representation, I’m not optimistic that it can happen,” Espinoza added.
For Arum’s part, he has always said there’s no bad blood between him and Mayweather. "We've put out the olive branch saying we would welcome the start of discussions for such a fight," Top Rank chief executive officer Arum told CNN World Sport.
"We can't keep posturing. If people want to make a deal and put aside egos and making statements to the press -- who was right, who was wrong -- and really sincerely want something to happen it generally gets done. And it is my hope that's what will happen; when and if both sides sit down to discuss seriously an event the sports world is crying out for."
The Showtime VP also clarified that there’s still no decision regarding Mayweather’s next opponent even if Amir Khan claimed that he already signed his part of the contract.
ALSO READ: Amir Khan hits back at Floyd Mayweather
“Khan is definitely one of the leading contenders for the fight. I know Amir wants the fight. Floyd hasn’t made a decision. I expect an announcement by mid-January or the end of January. It is still wide open. Floyd has not made a decision yet about who he is going to fight on May 3. Obviously, Marcos Maidana is making a late case and a strong argument for the fight, but Amir is definitely there in the conversation,” Espinoza added.
The Showtime executive is the architect of Mayweather's unique contract with the company. After fighting under the HBO banner for so long, Espinoza convinced Mayweather to jump ship. Now Showtime airs most of Golden Boy Promotions' fight cards. They have since gained ground on HBO.