In a move that may signal the start of a fruitful negotiation, Manny Pacquiao today said that he's willing to take blood and urine testing up to 14 days before a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., a softening on his stance of 30 days the last time the two sat at the negotiating table.
"I am willing to help the sport for the future of the sport. I do not want to see anyone cheat or cheat this sport. For that reason I am willing to consider taking blood [tests] as close as 14 days prior to the fight, as long as my opponent does the same, and it is not a lot of blood, just enough to test," Pacquiao is quoted as saying on his official website.
Mayweather doing the same has never been an issue. He just proved that with Shane Mosley, as the two underwent the random USADA testing. Whether or not 14 days will be enough to appease Mayweather and his camp is another story, but it's a bend if nothing else. It shows that at least the window to negotiate usefully is cracked again, if not wide open.
My gut feeling is we won't see them fight this year, but that next year it might happen. I want it this year. I want it next. It makes all the sense in the world, the public is craving it, and if you keep taking it off the stove, it's just going to ruin what this fight really should be. They both just dismantled top five welterweights in March and this past weekend in very big fights. This fight is not going to get any hotter than it is right now. Another jerk-around period where they each fight somebody again later this year will not be met well. People will give up on the idea, and then if it comes around again next year, no one will have any good reason to believe it'll actually happen.
It's not strictly now or never, but for this to be the fight it deserves to be, it's now or never, I believe. It could still be huge next year, but it's unbelievably big right now. Personally I loathe the "us versus them" mentality of the fight, and I truly dread the potentially ugly build-up and hype cycle, but the fight itself will be worth sitting through that garbage.
It's time for everyone to check the egos, stop the excuses, and make the fight. Everyone remotely involved with this possible fight has to know that they do not get any bigger. It could be the most profitable fight any of them ever put on. If dollars truly make sense, this can't be passed up again.