Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans have plenty of reasons to dislike famed boxing promoter Bob Arum. The fact that he's a bigot who despises the sport chief among them.
There is another reason, though, all that combat sports fans are all but turning on him completely. And that's because instead of pursuing a mega-fight pitting the two biggest names in boxing, Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, against each other, Arum wants to match Pacquiao up against Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time.
In the time following "Pacman's" controversial majority decision win over Marquez this past Sat., Nov. 12, 2011, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Arum was heard saying four words no boxing fan wants to hear.
"We don't need Mayweather."
Maybe not. Maybe the biggest payday in the history of the sport doesn't mean as much as yet another match-up between Pacquiao and Marquez, good as it may be.
There may be reason for optimism, though. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, says there is a certain someone who can make this fight happen if he really wants it to (via FOXSports):
"Bob has to give Manny what he wants. If Manny says, ‘I want Mayweather,' Bob will have to give him Mayweather. He needs to be pushy. He's got to step up and tell (Arum) who he wants to fight."
And what was Arum's response to this?
"Freddie can say whatever he wants. I'm going to sit with Manny and do whatever Manny wants to do."
And there you have it.
If Pacquaio wants enough to step inside the squared circle with Mayweather -- and he's indicated as much in recent times, though he also said he'll do what his promoter would like him to -- then that's what Arum will attempt to make happen.
Or so he says.
For his part, Mayweather was watching this past Saturday night and he's not impressed with the man many feel would become the first to defeat him. In fact, after watching Marquez impose his game on Pacquiao, "Money" is confident in what he would be able to do (from FightHype.com via BadLeftHook.com):
"I'm just saying that, you know, if he's having a problem with Marquez, I mean, Marquez is a good counterpuncher, but I'm the best ever to do it."
It's more than a little frustrating for fight fans to remain in a suspended state of anticipation for a fight that everyone wants but may never happen for reasons unacceptable to all involved.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it.
Sadly, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather may slip through the cracks and be lost forever. Oh, what could have been.