S'pore ready to host a mega-fight, says Bob Arum

The highly-anticipated clash between Manny Pacquiao (above) and Floyd Mayweather Jr was scheduled for March 13, 2010, but was eventually cancelled when both camps could not decide on the drug-testing procedure.

SINGAPORE - If all the stars are aligned, fans may well see a big-time boxing fight here soon.

And it could even be the dream clash between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr, if the two parties manage to sort out the myriad issues that have blocked the mega-fight from happening.

The highly-anticipated bout was scheduled for March 13, 2010, but was eventually cancelled when both camps could not decide on the drug-testing procedure.

Asked if he was hopeful of making the bout happen, possibly in Singapore, legendary promoter Bob Arum said: "I will bring it to Singapore in two seconds...

"I'd never say never (to reviving the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight), but the problem with Mayweather is that he has a very narrow view of life.

"He would insist a fight between him and Pacquiao be held in the United States. He'd say a fight in Asia would not be fair because he doesn't understand there are Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese and Singaporeans in Asia and they are all different."

"He thinks he'll be fighting in front of Manny's people in Asia," added the founder (right) and CEO of Top Rank, at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) on Friday.

Top Rank are Pacquiao's promoters, and Arum's company are handling the upcoming bout between the Filipino legend and American Brandon Rios in Macau on Nov 24.

Asked about the prospect of fighting Mayweather, Pacquiao said: "I feel bad because people are longing to see that fight and a lot of fans want to see that fight.

"But the problem is... I am longing for the fight but I don't think he wants to fight."

While he has had Pacquiao in his stable for years, Arum, 81, is only now trying to break into the Asian market with the bout in Macau.

Hook

He explained: "There had to be a hook to get involved in the Asian market. There had to be some presence of someone who makes people say, 'oh yeah, he's famous and we want to see him'.

"That someone, particularly when we focus on the China market, was Zou Shiming."

The 32-year-old Guizhou native won the light-flyweight boxing gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

Added Arum: "You have to understand the big player in Asia is China, so we weren't sure Manny Pacquiao could drive the business until we had Zou Shiming and had two highly-successful events at lower cost with Zou."

The strategy for expansion in Asia, according to the former attorney, is to collaborate with casinos, a concept that remains successful in the United States.

He said: "It used to be that the big boxing matches took place in Madison Square Garden or the Staples Center. That's not true any more.

"The major boxing matches in the United States now take place at casinos.

"There is that affinity because... a casino property does the fight, they may lose money on the sale of tickets but they have a second chance to do well with the casino."

He thinks the Republic is ready to host a high-profile bout soon.

"Singapore is going to happen as soon as they give me a date. I think we can be very successful doing an event in the convention centre here (in the MBS) with 4,500 people," said Arum.

"You also have the 55,000-seat National Stadium with the retractable roof (at the upcoming Sports Hub)."

In response to teaming up with Arum, MBS president and CEO George Tanasijevich said: "We believe the options are great at this time but we don't have a specific event to tell you about.

"We can tell you that it's quite convenient that Bob is on the grounds here.

"We can explore our options, brainstorm and figure out what works for his organisation and what works for our organisation, and how we can positively impact Singapore."


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