REMEMBER that old refrain: "Why are we waiting, oh why are we waiting?"
It is one the world of boxing has been humming these past few days - actually more like weeks, months, even years.
We are still waiting for Floyd Mayweather Jnr. and
Manny Pacquiao to get it on. Deadlines have passed and so far
nothing has happened. I have long doubted it ever will. Lets
hope I'm wrong.
It is still some distance away from being a done deal, whatever anyone says.
The latest word was that the $300 million welterweight Super Fight finally would be announced during Sunday's Super Bowl, before a captive TV audience of 100 million. But not a peep.
The only word was from the ever-capricious Money Man himself.
While soaking up the Caribbean sun in Jamaica, he tweeted:
"Laying back, relaxing, enjoying good weather, palm trees, and pi??a coladas. While they continue to lie about making the fight... I'm just going to continue to travel and explore the world on my private jet. #FightNotMadeYet."
Doesn't sound like a man in a hurry to get the gloves back on, does it?
They say this this is an event that was destined to happen but it has turned into a five and a half year soap opera. Yet even though one combatant is 38, the other 36, some say arguably past their peak, it is still potentially the biggest fight out there; indeed of all time.
If the much-publicised encounter between the ring mega-stars in Pacquiao's Miami hotel suite last week -- after they met face-to-face earlier in the evening and apparently exchanged phone numbers during a chance halftime meeting at the Miami Heat-Milwaukee Bucks basketball game both were attending - led to the fight talks taking two steps forward, they have subsequenty taken a step backwards. Negotiations have hit a wall.
Even Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum, who trenchantly claims they have signed off their side of the deal, admits time is running out, as both men need to start moving into training camps for the proposed 2 May date at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"We need to get this done," says octogenarian Bob. "There are issues that should be solved in 10 minutes, but it's a slow dance. We send one draft to their side and their lawyer sends back a draft with something else that's an issue. And there doesn't seem to be any urgency about it on their side. It's terrible."
So what are the problems? One is over the delayed television rights. The Money Man and Pacman are contracted to rival networks, Showtime and HBO respectively, and while both channels have agreed to joint live screening on pay-per-view (as they did only once before when Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson) and there is a rumour of unresolved arguments over who gets the lucrative rights for the delayed broadcast.
Personally I believe Mayweather plans to fight in Las Vegas on 2 May regardless of who it is. Whoever he fights he is guaranteed to get at least $35million dollars under his contractual arrangement with Showtime so what does he care if it is Manny Pacquiao , Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan - or Joe Schmo?
Intriguingly Mayweather has two fights left on that TV deal and the assumption is that he will have the second in the autumn and then call it a day, having equalled Rocky Marciano's 60 year old record by retiring undefeated as world champion after 49 fights.
This I doubt. His pride is such that the Money Man will want to become the History Man by breaking that record. Maybe it is in his mind that this possible valedictory fight early next year should be against Pacquiao. Who knows with him? He's a total enigma.
Only one man has come close to equalling Marciano's record. In 1986 Larry Holmes would have done so has he successfully defended his world heavyweight title against Michael Spinks. But he was robbed on a split decision - and was so incensed that when asked about Marciano's record he infamously snapped." Rocky Marciano wasn't fit to carry my jockstrap."
It was a stupid insult for which he later apologised but lived
to regret as it turned much of America against him as one of the
sport's outstanding champions.
There has been a twist to the tale of Billy Joe Saunders' proposed WBO world middleweight title fight against the new champion from Ireland, Andy Lee. What has happened is that Lee will now first make a voluntary defence against undefeated American Peter Quillin on an Al Haymon TV show, possibly in New York on April 11, and Billy Joe may appear on the undercard.
Saunders will then meet the winner, which obviously we hope will be Lee. The reason why we have not made an immediate match with Lee is because we feel this fight is big enough for an London open-air football stadium and none are available until the end of the season.
So let's hope Andy proves as handy against Quillin as he was in
sensationally defeating the also previously unbeaten Russian Matt
Korobov to win the title. Whatever the outcome I believe Saunders
will win the title to set up a massive return with Chris Eubank
Jnr, who is looking as sharp as his doting dad as he prepares to
fight Russia's Dmitry Chudinov for the WBA interim crown at
London's O2 on 28 February.
It has not taken long for Britain's premier boxing referee, Richie Davies, to get back between the ropes after, as I revealed here recently, handing back his Board of Control licence over seemingly being frozen out of handling the big fights his status and ability deserved. Davies was in charge of bouts in an exciting experiment in the studios of BT last week which will give boxing a totally different dimension. I can't reveal any more at the moment - but watch this space.
With Carl Froch conveniently giving up his IBF world super-middleweight title James DeGale is on course to become the first Briton to convert Olympic gold to a world championship. It doesn't look like the lucrative rubber match between Froch and Danish Viking Mikkel Kessler will now happen - maybe that's why, if you pardon the pun, Froch has a longboat.
Personally I would like to have seen DeGale test his southpaw skills against Kessler, but the great Dane tells us he is now in 'a state of retirement.'
Kessler, always popular here as he is half English, was one of
the best super-middleweights in the world at his peak as he was
when defeated by Joe Calzaghe before a 57,000 crowd at Cardiff's
Millennium Stadium in 2007. He was never quite the same after that.
But he was a fine ambassador for the fight game and I wish him
Muhammad Ali's famous stance for demanding exemption from being conscripted into the US Army in 1966 to fight in Vietnam has gone down in history as one of the 20th Century's significant anti-war actions.
Now the letter written in 1966, signed by the then Cassius Marcellus Clay to the Draft Board, is to be auctioned with a reserve of ??35,000 in Dallas this month.
For his actions he was tried and sentenced to five years in prison and stripped of his title.
Subsequently, his conviction was appealed and overturned.