Pacquiao-Mayweather acrimony persists
Manny Pacquiao is about two weeks from a major fight against Joshua Clottey but a conference call on Friday was dominated by talk of a fight that didn’t happen, Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao seemed to be near a deal to fight Mayweather on March 13 in Las Vegas but negotiations disintegrated over blood testing. Pacquiao agreed to give blood but, because he believes it weakens him, no closer than 24 days before the fight.
The sides, usually prompted by the media, haven’t stopped talking about it since the talks ended.
Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, once again laid out his argument against Mayweather’s demand that he – and not the Nevada State Athletic Commission – set the guidelines for testing.
Arum said no fighter has the right to dictate drug-testing protocol. If Mayweather wanted additional testing, he said, he should’ve petitioned the Nevada State Athletic Commission and “not try to bully a fighter from another country.”
And Arum reiterated what he believes was really behind the tactics of Mayweather and his handlers.
“You don’t have to be a genius to know what they tried to do,” Arum said. “They wanted to get into Manny’s head, to get him completely discombobulated so he’d be easy pickings for Mayweather. And if they couldn’t get into his head, they would say no (fight). We wouldn’t put up with a bully.
“Mayweather got his wish and won’t have to fight Manny. Mayweather against Manny is no contest. Manny would wipe the ring with Floyd Mayweather.”
Pacquiao, ever the diplomat, has stayed above the fray for the most part.
The Filipino icon has expressed disappointment over any suggestions by Mayweather and his camp that Pacquiao has taken performance-enhancing drugs but he won’t come out and say that Mayweather is afraid to fight him. Instead, he has repeatedly suggested that Mayweather “isn’t ready” to fight him.
“Maybe he’s afraid of me. Maybe he’s not ready for this fight,” he said on the conference call.
Will it ever happen? The assumption most people make is that the promise of an estimated $40 million payday for each fighter will eventually make Pacquiao-Mayweather a reality. There’s reason for pessimism, though.
Arum laid out his conditions for the fight in the conference call. So Bob, will it ever happen?
“Only if the Mayweather side agrees (to this): They can have any position they want about blood testing or any other issue, but those issues have to be brought before the commission where the fight is taking place. No fighter is going to be able to dictate anything like that to a fighter of mine without petitioning a commission to adopt those rules.”
And Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports brought up a good point: If the Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight on May 1 does better pay-per-view numbers than Pacquiao-Clottey – which seems likely – Mayweather probably will demand better than a 50-50 split of the pot.
The fighters had agreed to guarantees of $25 million each, plus a share of the profits.
“Instead of 20 or 25 (million dollars), he may have to drop to 15 or 17,” Mayweather told his hometown newspaper, the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press. “And you know me, they may have to throw that extra five or 10 on mine, and we can rock and roll. Take it or leave it.”
Mayweather also told the newspaper that he’s changing his demands about the timing of the blood tests.
“I gave him a chance, up to 14 days out,” Mayweather said. “But my new terms are all the way up to the fight. They can come get us whenever, all the way up to the fight, random drug test. That’s what it is.”
Doesn’t sound promising.
If it never happens: Arum, Roach and Pacquiao were asked whether they would be content if Pacquiao never fought Mayweather.
Arum: “I would absolutely be content.”
Roach: “I do want to fight him to shut him up. I know Manny would knock him out and the whole world would be happy.”
Pacquiao: “I would be content. I don’t need him.”
Pacquiao reiterated that he believes his achievements speak for themselves.
Sparring: Pacquiao sparred 11 rounds with four sparring partners on Thursday. He’ll do 12 more Saturday.
“He looked real good,” Roach said. “Our game plan is in place. He looked sharp yesterday; I almost wanted to give him the day off (Friday). We’ll do 12 rounds on Saturday. That’ll be his peak day. We’ll taper off from that point on.”
Pacquiao is scheduled to leave for Dallas on March 8.
High-caliber opponent: Pacquiao was asked what type of opponent it would take to beat him. Before he could answer, Roach responded with a laugh: Get a .45. Pacquiao then chimed in: “When I get old.”