Manny Pacquiao is refusing to take Olympic-style blood testing. Will this sink the opportunity for the biggest fight of the century?
Multiple sources, including the Philippine Star, are now reporting that the superfight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. may be off for now.
"The plug is pulled. The fight is off as far as we’re concerned," said Arum who, however, said Pacquiao could start looking for a new opponent.
"Mayweather proves that he’s a coward and he’s looking for a way out of the fight. The Nevada commission has been doing drug testing for the last 40 years," said Arum.
"Takot talaga sa akin (He’s really scared of me)," was Pacquiao’s immediate reaction after negotiations for the blockbuster fight came to a screeching halt.
We'll see what happens. As reported earlier, this whole kerfuffle is over Floyd's demands to have Olympic-style drug testing. As I see it, this is really just one big game of chicken. On one hand, it looks bad that Pacquiao won't submit to testing if he actually is clean. On the other hand, it looks bad that Mayweather is demanding something that, as far as I know, has never been something required in a professional boxing match. Both sides seem to have some reasonable arguments here.
Who's going to blink? I find it hard to believe that both fighters are willing to leave a guaranteed $25 million (with kickers of up to $40 million) on the table over something so small. But for now, the fight gets some more free publicity, and the sports talk shows will have something to discuss during what's normally a slow time of the year.
UPDATE: Both sides are breaking out the heavy artillery for this one. Richard Schaffer has said that Pacquiao would need to have Olympic-style drug testing to face ANY Golden Boy fighter, which cuts out some other options for him, including Juan Manuel Marquez. Bob Arum has set a deadline of today to decide this issue or else the fight is "off." Of course, both of these are probably fairly hollow threats. If this fight really falls through, Golden Boy isn't going to walk away from huge money just because Mayweather (who's not even a Golden Boy fighter) is paranoid. And if Christmas comes and goes, and Mayweather changes his tune after getting imbued with the holiday spirit, Arum isn't going to tell him "Sorry, you missed the deadline, I don't actually want to make tens of millions of dollars anymore."
UPDATE #2: Bob Arum says the fight is off. Mark Vester says that Arum and Lou DiBella have started to negotiate Pacquiao against Paulie Malignaggi, still to be on the March 13 date. If that fight does go through, something tells me Dallas won't be an option for it. Still, I'll believe it when I see it. Fighters would probably need to start training around January 5 to have a fight on March 13. False deadlines aside, the parties really have until then to get something done.