Issue of drug testing puts hotly anticipated welterweight championship clash in jeopardy.
|Mayweather Jr and his team have been threatened with legal action by Pacquiao [AFP]
Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum will choose another opponent for the Filipino world champion after failing to reach a deal for the WBO welterweight title bout with American Floyd Mayweather.
Talks between Arum’s Top Rank and Mayweather’s Golden Boy promoters have stalled over the issue of random blood testing, demanded by Mayweather’s team and rejected by Pacquiao – who intends to sue over what he considers allegations of drug use.
Arum set a Monday deadline for Golden Boy to accept a “final offer” in which both sides let the Nevada State Athletic Commission make the final decision on testing.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said that there was no question of accepting that proposal.
‘Random is random’
“Random is random. We are not backing off and the ball is in their court,” he told Reuters.
Arum said if that was the stance of the Mayweather team then he would announce another opponent for March.
“If that is the case then tomorrow morning we will announce who Manny will fight on March 13 and it won’t be Floyd Mayweather,” Arum said.
“…it is a convenient way for Mayweather to not fight Pacquiao who he knows he can’t beat”
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum
Arum has previously identified former junior welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi as the likely replacement for Mayweather but said it would be a blow to the sport not to have the bout take place.
“Its terrible. Mayweather and his people have never cared about the good of boxing and it is Manny that has brought boxing back. Is this a loss for boxing? Is this a missed opportunity? Of course it is.”
Pacquiao won the WBO title in November by stopping holder Miguel Cotto in the 12th round in Las Vegas.
The Filipino (50-3-2) won an unprecedented seventh title in seven weight classes to set up the best pound-for-pound showdown against unbeaten Mayweather (40-0) in what was expected to be among boxing’s biggest earning fights.
Arum said that Pacquiao had no objection to blood testing up to 30 days before a fight or after a fight and random urine testing at any time and added he believed that there were ulterior motives.
“This is a false issue that is being raised for maybe three reasons. One, an attempt to smear Pacquiao and those people that have done that will pay the price because litigation is going to proceed.
“Number two because it is a convenient way for Mayweather to not fight Pacquiao who he knows he can’t beat.
“Number three there is the possibility it is a way to disconcert Pacquiao who they know and knew doesn’t like to give blood immediately in the weeks prior to a fight when he is in training because he believes, rightly or wrongly, that it saps his strength.
“The reason they know this is that Pacquiao’s last defeat was to Erik Morales and he had been directed to give a blood test that the state commission require, that he needed for a licence, for HIV and hepitatis. He did it, they took his blood test 10 days before the fight, he claims that it sapped his strength and lose to Morales.
Pacquiao said on Christmas Day that he intended to sue the Mayweather camp claiming they had insinuated he had been using performance enhancing drugs.
He denies ever using drugs.
“I maintain and assure everyone that I have not used any form or kind of steroids and that my way to the top is a result of hard work, hard work, hard work and a lot of blood spilled from my past battles in the ring, not outside of it,” said Pacquiao on Christmas Day.
“I have no idea what steroids look like and my fear in God has kept me safe and victorious through all these years.”