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Bob Arum: End posturing and make Pacquiao v Mayweather happen

updated 9:57 AM EST, Thu November 28, 2013
Manny Pacquiao wears the champion's belt after defeating Brandon Rios on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Macau. Manny Pacquiao wears the champion's belt after defeating Brandon Rios on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Macau.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Boxing promoter Bob Arum says it is time to make Manny Pacquiao v Floyd Mayweather happen
  • Pacquiao's promoter says egos must be laid aside if and when discussions begin
  • Arum says there is still a huge appetite for the bout despite both having gone past career heights
  • Top Rank CEO also defends Pacquiao's tax affairs over claims he owes $50 million in unpaid tax

(CNN) -- It's time to end the posturing and give the world's boxing fans the bout they desperately want: Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather.

That's Bob Arum's message to everyone involved in trying to navigate a way through the quagmire that is negotiations for a contest that has long been top of fight fans' wish list.

Pacquiao's promoter has been in touch with Mayweather's camp to kick-start talks and finally attempt to get two of boxing's best ever fighters in the ring.

Though both boxers are arguably past their prime any match up between Mayweather -- unbeaten in 45 fights across five different weights -- and Pacquiao -- an eight-division world champion with 55 wins from 62 fights -- is likely to ignite huge interest.

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"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.

"While Manny fights on HBO and HBO pay-per-view and Floyd fights on Showtime and Showtime pay-per-view, there is a precedent for both networks to come together and put on big event.

"They did it when heavyweight Mike Tyson, who was a Showtime fighter, fought Lennox Lewis, who was an HBO fighter, a number of years ago. That was a hugely successful event and set a record for pay-per-view sales in the US.

"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."

With Mayweather approaching 37 and Pacquiao, 34, suffering two successive defeats before his most recent victory -- over Brandon Rios in Macau -- Arum acknowledges time is running out to make a deal.

While the pair may not be as the pinnacle of their careers as they were when the fight was mooted three years ago, Arum still believes it would generate worldwide interest and reportedly might bring in $100 million.

I hope it will happen, when and if both sides sit down to discuss seriously an event the sports world is crying out for
Bob Arum, Top Rank CEO

"I think if an event like that was made people would really flock to watch it," he added.

"I think it's very fair to say the clamor is not as fervent as it was a few years ago when they were both at the height of their careers but it's still an event the public are clamoring for, perhaps not as much as three years ago but we can't roll back the clock."

Pacquiao's most immediate focus in the aftermath of his victory over Rios earlier this month has been to defend himself amid accusations that he owes $50 million in unpaid taxes in his home country the Philippines.

The 34-year-old's assets have been frozen, meaning he had to borrow money to help victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan that tore through the country.

But Arum says the allegations amount to a "political vendetta" against Pacquiao, who is a member of congress in the Philippines, and will be ironed out shortly.

"The assessment is based on fights he had in the United States and in every one of those fights -- four fights in the two years in question -- we withheld 30% of the amounts we paid him and paid those amounts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)," Arum explained.

"We supplied the Philippine tax authorities with the schedule of our payments and receipts from the IRS. For some unknown reason they are insisting the IRS send certification of the payments.

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"Manny applied for those certifications a while ago and of course the IRS was bogged down partly because when the government was shut down they weren't working. There's been a hold up but I'm sure once those certifications arrive, it will all go away.

"He doesn't owe anything. Under the Philippine-U.S. tax treaty, he was taxed in the U.S. for income earned in the U.S., and he gets a dollar per dollar credit against his Philippine taxes.

"Once that credit it given to him they'll find there is no further tax liability in the Philippines.

"I think it's great for his image because it shows the nature of politics in the Philippines.

Manny Pacquiao is a member of a coalition in the Philippines that is in political opposition to the president and it seems to me as a foreigner, that this is nothing more than a political vendetta."

Arum hailed Pacquiao's showdown with Rios in Macau, a province of China, as a triumph and said he is planning another event with three former Olympic gold medalists in February.

Along with the emergence of fighters from Latin America and Eastern Europe, as well as the traditional boxing heartlands of the U.S. and the United Kingdom, Arum pointed to Asia as having huge potential.

"Is Asia an up and coming market for everything? Of course it is," he said. "There's 1.3 billion people in China, there's fans all over Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia. There's tremendous interest in boxing and we expect to do many events in the years to come in Asia.

"There will be a lot of talent in Asian fighters just as there are so many great fighters now coming out of Eastern Europe, from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

"Boxing is a world wide sport and our best fighters and champions are coming from all over. I'm very, very excited as far as the future of boxing is concerned."

Read: 'Pacquiao will be vindicated in tax dispute'

Read: 'Pac-man' thumps 'Bam Bam' to take title in Macau

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