Saturday, January 9, 2010

After the Dust Has Settled – Pacquiao Still in Control

Right now, boxing fans are feeling like a victim of Ashton Kutcher’s old television show Punk’d.

Since Nov. 14, better known as the night that Manny Pacquiao scored an electrifying 12th- round TKO win over Miguel Cotto, anybody that follows the sport has had their appetite whetted by the mouth watering prospect of seeing a showdown between the world’s two top pound-for-pound boxers – Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

But with the negotiations for that fight now having imploded like the demolition of The Sands Casino in Las Vegas, boxing fans are left with nothing more than a cloud of dust as they try to make sense of what it all means and what will be next for both Pacquiao and Mayweather.

By any measure one wishes to use, there is no doubt that Pacquiao and Mayweather are ranked #1 and #2 – in that order.

Pacquiao is the best boxer on the planet and Mayweather is further down behind him – lower on the list in second place.

Never mind that Pacquiao is ranked #1 in the ratings by every reputable boxing publication or Internet boxing Web site in existence and that he has been honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America as the fighter of the year for the past two years in a row.

What is probably more important is that Manny is also #1 at the box office. And in the sport of boxing, better known as the business of boxing, that is his most significant achievement.

It is Pacquiao that draws fans in droves to his live events. For comparison purposes, Pacquiao’s recent bout against Miguel Cotto attracted a standing room only crowd of over 16,000 to the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Less than two months earlier, Mayweather met Juan Manuel Marquez at the same venue and they failed to draw a paid attendance of 13,000 to a relatively subdued affair.

Ticket brokers and scalpers were able to charge upwards of ten thousand dollars for one Pacquiao vs. Cotto ringside ticket. The Mayweather-Marquez fight was lucky to get half that amount for the same seat. The MGM Grand was forced to offer special packages to attract customers to the Mayweather vs. Marquez fight – everything from discounted fight tickets, free meals and free limousine rides to and from McCarran International Airport. On the other hand, Pacquiao vs. Cotto was sold out weeks in advance and the night of the fight brought the city of Las Vegas to a virtual standstill.

Mayweather calls himself "Money" – but it is Pacquiao that attracted more fans this year to Las Vegas. It is also Pacquiao that caused more fans to push the pay-per-view buy buttons on their television remote control. His fight against Cotto earned nearly $14 million more in pay-per-view revenue than Mayweather’s fight against Marquez.

So, since boxing fans will not have the matter settled as to who the best boxer on the planet is with a match-up of skills between Pacquiao and Mayweather – the only other measurable manner available to them is the rankings of the various organizations that keep track of such things - and the latest box office receipts.

Using both of those measuring sticks, it is Pacquiao that easily comes out on top.

Mayweather and his supporters will point to his 2007 fights against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton as evidence of his supremacy on the pay-per-view front. However, the De La Hoya fight was nearly three years ago. The world was a different place then; money and credit were easy come and easy go. People thought nothing of making a weekend trip to Vegas or dropping a Grant on the pay-per-view. In the world economy of 2009, where funds were sparse, and folks searched for value in their entertainment dollar, they spent more in person and via their TV screens to see Manny Pacquiao.

Promoters spent an astonishing $20 million on marketing costs for the Mayweather vs. Marquez fight. The fight was also broadcast in 170 movie theaters around the country – yet Pacquiao still attracted more fans.

In the day and age of the Internet, any Web-site publisher will tell you that when a Manny Pacquiao news item or feature appears on their site, it is a good day for them in terms of the all important page views. Ask a boxing magazine publisher who sells more copies when Pacquiao or Mayweather appear on their cover and they will tell you that the Pinoy idol is "bank".

Mayweather and his backers will counter with the argument that both of his fights against De La Hoya and Hatton drew more than Pacquiao’s did – but again – we’re talking about numbers going on nearly three years ago.

Boxing would probably best be known as a sport of "What have you done for me lately?"

Using that simple question, it is Pacquiao that is clearly the more personable fighter/celebrity. Devoted fans flock to him, they smile, they pose, they rush to get an autograph or a picture.

Mayweather’s highly publicized open workout at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood in the days before his bout against Marquez barely drew a crowd of 200 people. On the other hand, in the same town, just around the corner and down the street, Pacquiao attracts that many people every single day to watch him simply walk in and out of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym.

Whether one wishes to blame the non-happening of the Pac-May fight on Pacquiao’s refusal to submit to Mayweather’s demand for the unheard of Olympic style drug testing is their prerogative. However, they should remember that based on the most recent accomplishments it is Manny that is universally regarded as the best boxer on the planet, Manny that is the more popular person with the public and Manny that is the recent box-office champion.

Based on all of that – it is Pacquiao that was clearly in the drivers’ seat of the failed negotiations. It is also Pacquiao that clearly sits atop the boxing world as 2010 gets underway. For Mayweather to lay claim to anything he will have to get in the ring, fight and beat a contender of consequence and perhaps win a title. It will be the only way to turn the tide in his favor.

In the Corners

The latest news is that Pacquiao will likely face the always tough, durable and rugged Joshua Clottey on March 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Texas. The Ghanaian is perhaps the toughest and one of the most avoided welterweights in the world. I will say that unless Pacquiao is totally focused he will not beat Clottey, who is a larger man who can take a great punch. Clottey will likely be a middleweight by the time he steps into the ring on fight night and he has a tight defense...Meanwhile, rumors persist that Mayweather will meet the smaller and light punching Paulie Malignaggi - or even worse – Matthew Hatton, the limited younger brother of Ricky. My view is that since Mayweather needs to make a statement of supremacy and gain more leverage in any potential future negotiations for a Pacquiao fight, that he should face the winner of the Jan. 30 Shane Mosley vs. Andre Berto title fight…Nice to see the return of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights as well as the upcoming new series on FOX Sports. Who says boxing is dead?

Sizing up Joshua Clottey as Manny Pacquiao’s next foe

Late last night news broke via Top Rank’s facebook page that the next opponent for Manny Pacquiao would be former IBF Welterweight champion Joshua Clottey. Upon hearing the news I was quite surprised, as I didn’t expect Pacquiao to face off with such a formidable challenge following the Mayweather fallout. I have to tip my hat to Manny; if the Clottey fight goes through I think he deserves credit for not opting for a safer touch. Joshua Clottey is no pushover.
It’s somewhat fascinating to me when I analyze a Pacquiao-Clottey matchup. There is a lot to take in because of the contrast in styles. While Pacquiao relies on his work rate, endurance, and placing his power punches from a variety of angles, Clottey is a completely different mold of fighter. The Accra, Ghana native is as strong and sturdy as they come and he possesses excellent stamina, a compact defense, a menacing jab, and a physical nature that has lead him to having a 35-3 record while being regarded as one of the top five or six Welterweights in the world.
When thinking of the matchup further, here is my take on Clottey and how he matches up against his Filipino foe.
Making Ghana proud
Hailing from Accra, Ghana, Clottey comes from a country known producing gritty, tough, and proven combatants. In somewhat recent years Azumah ‘The Professor’ Nelson and Ike ‘Bazooka’ Quartey have represented the country proud by becoming quality champions inside of the ring.
Nelson had great longevity and was a threat in the lower weight classes from the early 80’s to mid 90’s. He fist broke on the scene as a newcomer in 1982, losing a tremendous battle to the late Salvador Sanchez. When it was all said and done Nelson won titles at 126 and 130 pounds, defeating the likes of Wilfredo Gomez, Juan La Porte, Jeff Fenech, Gabriel Ruelas, and Jesse James Leija. Nelson was crafty, durable and extremely consistent throughout his hall of fame career.
Ike Quartey won the WBA Welterweight title in June of 1994 by stopping Crisanto Espana in the 11th round. Quartey was known best for his tremendous physical strength, his potent and deadly jab, and stout chin. He bested the likes of Vince Phillips and Oba Carr while losing a close and some say controversial decision to Oscar De La Hoya in February of 1999 after a 16 month layoff. Quartey would return well over a year later and lose a clear but competitive decision to Fernando Vargas in April of 2000 after moving up in weight.
Quartey disappeared from the scene after that before returning in 2005. He finished his career by defeating Verno Phillips and Carlos Bojorquez while losing a disputed match to Vernon Forrest and a lopsided decision to good friend Winky Wright. While some say that Quartey’s true potential was never realized, as he was the victim of repeated spells of inactivity, he certainly was regarded as one of the world’s top three Welterweights in the late 90’s alongside De La Hoya and Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad.
In seeing Clottey in the ring you can see shades of both Quartey and Nelson, as he attacks with a high and tight guard while always pressing forward and looking to force the action. As was the case with Quartey, Clottey is a physical powerhouse on the inside and his tight-knit defense makes it extremely hard for opponents to break through.
Clottey’s early 2010 gift
2009 must certainly have been considered a downer for Clottey. He only fought once the entire year, suffering a very close split decision to Miguel Cotto. It was a very eventful bout, as Clottey was dropped early before regrouping and working his way back into the fight. Cotto suffered a huge gash above his left eye from an accidental head butt in the third and showed his warrior’s spirit, fighting Clottey tit for tat as the middle rounds approached.
Just when it looked at those Joshua was running out of steam he would regroup, as was the case in the seventh round when he unloaded on Cotto to turn the tide of the fight. The fight was back and forth from that point forward. In the twelfth round Clottey was grazed with a punch behind the head and seemed to overact to the punch, turning around as though he was in severe pain. Cotto would close the show strong and go on to win a split decision, with 116-111 and 115-112 tallies going in favor of the Puerto Rican while Judge Tom Miller sided with the Ghanaian fighter 114-113.
The loss to Cotto didn’t drop Clottey’s stock tremendously because he fought on nearly even terms with a fighter of Cotto’s class. The remaining months of the year had to be terribly frustrating, however, as proposed bouts with Carlos Quintana and Sergio Martinez never came to fruition. Clottey was recently scheduled for a January 16th appearance at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas against Michael Rosales and apparently turned the fight down due to his desires for a bigger fight. It doesn’t getting any bigger than facing Pacquiao and right now Joshua Clottey must be happy with the new opportunity on his horizon. This is the exact opportunity he was looking for.
Clottey at his best
When looking at Clottey’s career in recent years there are several fights and moments that stand out where the former champion was at his best.
In July of 2006 he showed tremendous stamina and a great work rate in winning a convincing and entertaining decision over then-undefeated Richard Gutierrez. Clottey’s air-tight defense negated anything that the Columbian had to offer as he pulled away late in the fight.
Clottey was also impressive against both Zab Judah and Diego Corrales. Against Corrales, who was moving up two weight classes for the bout, Clottey was too strong and efficient for the late Diego to handle, dropping him twice late in the fight on his way to a near shutout win. Clottey defeated Judah in August of 2008 by simply applying pressure and staying consistent. Clottey wasn’t fazed by Judah’s speed and had great success working the body and using his physical strength on the inside as he walked away with a nine round technical decision win.
Even in losing to Cotto and Antonio Margarito, Clottey more than held his own during long periods in each fight. Both of those contests were nip and tuck affairs in which Clottey showed much worth while falling just short. Against Cotto he seemed to ease off the gas pedal when having his best moments and that came back to hurt him. He started strong against Margarito but a reported injury to his left hand in the 4th round lulled his momentum.
Sizing up Pacquiao vs. Clottey
For as much success as Pacquiao has had in recent years I personally feel that Clottey is a tremendous and underrated threat to him. The matchup in styles pretty contrasting and it will be interesting to see whether Pacquiao’s speed and power or Clottey’s aggression and physical strength prove to be the key factors.
One thing I notice is that while both Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto were physically imposing opponents, they both had suspect defense, as seen in previous fights. Clottey’s defense is very sound and it will be interesting seeing how exactly Pacquiao goes about trying to break him down. If Clottey can find a way to get on the inside consistently and force the action he could have great success.
If I had to pick a winner right now I would side with Pacquiao because it’s hard to deny the success he has had. Blowout wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto in succession don’t come around too often and Pacquiao is a primed and well oiled machine at the moment. Clottey will definitely come into the fight with high hopes but he has shown in the past that he can be complacent and inactive during key stretches of a fight. I think Pacquiao’s speed and activity will be the key factors on his way towards winning a competitive but clear decision win.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

PACQUIAO-MAYWEATHER: Fight is off!

What was billed as the “Fight of the Century” between two finest pound-for-pound fighters on earth – Filipino Manny Pacquiao and unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr.-- is not going to happen.
This was revealed by Bob Arum himself, head man of Top Rank Promotions and Pacquiao’s promoter, Wednesday night (Thursday in Manila)



The epic encounter, which, undoubtedly would have brought the sports of sweet science back to its popularity of years ago, according to Arum, quoting federal judge Daniel Weinstein, whom both the Pacquiao and Mayweather camps chose to mediate to save the multi-million fight.

"The mediator called me [before 8 p.m.] and told me the fight was off," Arum said as told to the Los Angeles Times. "The fight's off, Mayweather never wanted it. Manny wanted the fight. He was agreeable to terms."

A source who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the mediation proceedings said Pacquiao had agreed to submit to a blood test 24 days before the fight -- a concession from his prior stance of no closer than 30 days -- and to another blood draw immediately after the bout.
Pacquiao’s concession was to Mayweather, who reportedly declined to accept those terms.

One other source said though that all’s not over yet and that both camps could still strike a deal before what he termed a "business deadline," adding that the press conference where Pacquiao and Mayweather will appear is scheduled next week yet in New York and Los Angeles.

Arum has said he'll work to arrange an alternate fight for Pacquiao against newly crowned super-welterweight champion Yuri Foreman in March, which would allow the Filipino ring icon to further etch his name in the annals of professional boxing by claiming a record eight world titles in as many weight divisions. .

"I am disappointed in the sense this fight will not happen," Arum said. "I'm not surprised. I always knew Mayweather would kill it because he didn't want it. He didn't want to lose."
Arum traced the history of Floyd Mayweather Jr's mental state, which he said is coward's mental state, adding Mayweather will never agree to take a tough fight where he stands any chance of losing reason many of best fights in the welterweight division never took place.

He points out how Mayweather walked away from a very lucrative rematch with Oscar De La Hoya in 2008. De La Hoya gave Mayweather a very tough fight in 2007.

"Floyd Mayweather walked away," Arum said to USA Today. "Our guy was agreeable, Mayweather wasn't. It's not surprising. I always felt that he wasn't going to do the fight. He knows Manny will beat him. Mayweather's never stepped into the ring with a guy he had any question but that he was going to beat."

"That's why there's never been a (Shane) Mosley, there's never been a (Antonio) Margarito, there never was a (Miguel) Cotto, and there's no Pacquiao. Floyd Mayweather is a coward. He will never fight anyone that will remotely give him a tough fight. Here's a guy who, the rematch with (Oscar) De La Hoya was a huge fight, it would've made millions and millions, and he walked away from it.. .. I'm not disappointed in the sense that I always knew it was going to be this way."

Megafight off; Pacquiao very mad

Manny Pacquiao was disenchanted and enraged when told that Floyd Mayweather Jr. decided to walk away from their March 13 super fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“I am very disappointed that we could not make this fight for the fans and I am angered because of the false accusations from Golden Boy and the Mayweather camp that I used some type of drugs and that is why I have instructed our American lawyers to proceed with the lawsuit to clear my name,” said Pacquiao in a statement released shortly after it was announced that the fight is off.

After Pacquiao’s promoter Top Rank and Mayweather’s representatives – Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) – failed to reach an accord during mediation talks on Tuesday, the arbiter, retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein, gave the two sides until the following day to come to an agreement.

But Mayweather simply did not accept a compromise that would have mandated Pacquiao to be tested for blood 24 days before the fight and immediately after the bout.

Bob Arum was furious, declaring that Mayweather “is scared to death of Pacquiao.”

Pacquiao’s adviser Mike Koncz said “the whole blood testing issue that Mayweather wants from Manny is just a fa├žade to get Mayweather out of this fight.”

“I believe that Floyd did not want to tarnish his perfect record and used this blood testing as an excuse to get out of the fight because he knew Manny would never do it. Floyd being the coward found a way out and he did not care if he tarnished another man’s reputation,” added Koncz.

Mayweather had demanded that Pacquiao undergo Olympic-style (random) drug-testing but the Filipino fighter vehemently rejected the proposal and was later incensed that Mayweather and even GBP officials went to the extent of accusing him of having taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Pacquiao has never failed a drug test in all of his close to 20 fights on American soil.

Had both sides agreed on the terms, Pacquiao and Mayweather would have made $25 million apiece plus a hefty share in the pay-per-view, gate receipts, and closed-circuit viewing.

Now that Mayweather is out of the picture, Arum is eyeing reigning World Boxing Association super-welterweight titlist Yuri Foreman, a Belarus-born Israeli now living in Brooklyn, New York.

If Arum picks Foreman for a March 20 date at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Pacquiao will be gunning for his eighth world title.

While a Foreman fight is a landmark bout for Pacquiao, another fight that looks much more attractive is a third fight with Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez, a pairing that Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach wants.

THE SUPER FIGHT IS OFF; MAYWEATHER CHICKENS OUT

The planned March 13 super fight between boxing hero and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and former No.1 Floyd Mayweather Jr is off after Mayweather chickened out despite Pacquiao accepting a compromise proposal to bring the blood test closer to the fight date from his original 30 day cutoff period to 24.


The Mayweather camp had demanded that Pacquiao undergo random blood tests to be conducted by the US Anti Doping Agency following unsubstantiated allegations that he was on performance enhancing drugs. The Pacquiao camp originally indicated it was ready to submit to blood tests one day before the kickoff press conference, 30 days before the fight and immediately after the fight in his dressing room stating that if Pacquiao was on any illegal substance it would surely show up in the post-fight test.

After the Mayweather handlers claimed Pacquiao had blood extracted from him 14 days before the Ricky Hatton fight in May 2009 as shown on the HBO 24/7 pre-fight series to put holes in his position of a 30-day deadline, Rick Reeno of boxingscene.com produced documents to show the blood test shown on HBO was actually done 24 days before the fight which Pacquiao agreed to as a compromise to help get the fight done.

Despite the mediation efforts of retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein who spent nine hours with both parties on Tuesday, nothing was apparently achieved except that both sides were placed under a gag order which prevented them from talking.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has steadfastly refused to divulge details of what transpired behind the closed doors of Judge Weinstein’s Santa Monica office except to confirm on Thursday (Manila Time) that the fight was off even as he blamed Mayweather for the collapse of a fight which millions of boxing fans around the world wanted.

Arum maintained that Mayweather’s refusal “established what I have always believed and that is that Mayweather never wanted to fight Manny because he was scared to death” which is what trainer Freddie Roach and conditioning expert Alex Ariza had said from the very beginning when they claimed Pacquiao would give Mayweather “a bad beating.”

Arum revealed that Pacquiao is likely to fight for his eighth world title in an eighth weight division against 154 pound champion Yuri Foreman. The renowned promoter who handles Foreman said “Yuri is ready and I’ll check to get confirmation with Manny,” indicating that should it push through the fight would be held on March 13 or 20 also in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz said that the immensely popular Filipino southpaw who has won every conceivable award in boxing and was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine with a five-page spread said he was “disappointed at not being able to give the fans what they wanted and claimed Mayweather used this (blood testing) as an excuse to get out of the fight and we’ll just have to move on.”

Koncz himself posed the question “how does Mayweather go around claiming he is the best pound-for-pound fighter and the best fighter if he is not willing to engage the people’s choice as the best fighter?” noting that Pacquiao has also been endorsed by Ring Magazine and numerous other boxing publications and internet sites as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today. Koncz added “this is all a sham.”

Pacquiao’s concern over blood being extracted too close to the fight stems from his experience before the first fight with Erik “El Terrible” Morales in March 19, 2005 when he was forced to have a blood test a couple of days before the fight after his medical records were allegedly lost in transmission.

However, a video tape from our personal archives of a heated discussion on the issue showed that the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission at that time, Marc Ratner, pointed out that the blood test submitted had been taken in January which was too long before the fight and the NSAC commission set a cut-off of 30 days and emphasized that if Pacquiao refused to take the blood test the fight would have to be called off. Pacquiao reluctantly took the test and later said he had a headache and felt dizzy and attributed that to the extraction of blood too close to the fight which he lost on points.

It appears that Pacquiao’s original 30-day cut-off jibed with the requirements of the NSAC which has jurisdiction over the fights in Las Vegas and whose authority Pacquiao and his handlers want respected, which Mayweather, by demanding that the USADA undertake the tests refuses to do. Koncz pointed out that even when the chairman of the NSAC asked Pacquiao to take a urine test in the Philippines over which the Commission has no jurisdiction he took the test which was done by a doctor of the Philippine Olympic Committee, accredited by the World Anti Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

www.insidesports.ph, Standard Today, Viva Sports and boxingscene.com understand that the Mayweather handlers led by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Mayweather’s top adviser Al Hayman had tried to convince the fighter to agree to the 24-day blood test proposal which Pacquiao had agreed to and which medical experts had said was more than sufficient to detect any traces of performance enhancing drugs, but they were turned down by Mayweather resulting in the fight being called off.

Mayweather spurns compromise; Pacquiao to face different foe

The megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. won’t take place in March, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said Wednesday.

Mayweather refused to accept a compromise agreement struck during Tuesday’s marathon mediation session in Santa Monica, Calif., according to an anonymous source with knowledge of those talks. At issue was Pacquiao’s refusal to submit to random blood tests as part of prefight drug testing for the bout that had been tentatively scheduled for March 13.

Arum said he is still under a gag order from the mediator, retired judge Daniel Weinstein, regarding the situation. But Arum said he expects to announce today plans for a March 13 or 20 fight in Las Vegas between Pacquiao and WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman.

When asked if the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight is indeed off, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer said: ''I’m not going to confirm or deny anything. At this point, we have no comment.’’

The sides met with Weinstein for nine hours Tuesday but did not meet with him Wednesday.

Instead, the fighters were given the revised proposal, the contents of which remain unknown. Pacquiao apparently agreed to the deal, but Mayweather did not.

If Pacquiao fights Foreman, he would be going for an unprecedented eighth title in eight weight classes. Pacquiao fought at 147 pounds, the heaviest of his career, when he stopped Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 in his most recent fight.

The loss of the March 13 date does not necessarily mean Pacquiao-Mayweather is dead forever. They could meet in the fall, perhaps in September.

In the meantime, Mayweather could take another tuneup fight for an eventual meeting with Pacquiao. It has been rumored Mayweather might keep the March 13 date at the MGM and fight Paulie Malignaggi. But Schaefer would not comment about that possibility.

Attempts to reach Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s co-manager, were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Tne possible reason the fight was scuttled is Pacquiao’s pending lawsuit against Mayweather. Pacquiao filed a defamation suit in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas last week against Mayweather, his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., his uncle Roger Mayweather, Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya and Schaefer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Olympic Tests Have Never Detected HGH in an Athlete: USADA Backs Urine

The biggest fight in the history of boxing is in danger of not happening because Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants his opponent Manny Pacquiao to agree to random Olympic-style blood tests.

The only problem is that these random blood tests have never—yes that's right—never found Human Growth Hormone in any Olympic athlete that has ever been tested.

Interesting, huh?

Mayweather somehow believes that if his opponent Pacquiao who has never failed a drug test, refuses to take a test that has never caught anyone, then this fight can't happen.

How does this make sense? It doesn't. No wait, maybe Mayweather knows something the rest of us don't...no wait, maybe Mayweather is just trying to avoid the best fighter he has ever met.

But hold on, it gets even better.

Mayweather's camp has somehow wrangled the alliance of Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, to try and spin this whole charade of events in their favor.

Tygart has told Yahoo Sports! that Pacquiao's resistance to submit to the blood tests "would provide a huge loophole for a cheater to step through and get away with cheating.”

Please explain yourself Mr. Tygart, how can a test that's never caught anybody possibly provide a "loophole" for a cheater to step through?

It seems like the test itself is a loophole.

And if you don't think this sequence of events can get even more interesting, it can.

Listen to this.

USADA announced last year that they were funding a company that has developed a test to detect HGH in urine. And Pacquiao, as everyone knows, has agreed to submit to as many random urine tests as the Mayweather camp would like.

Tygart even told USA Today last year that the developers, Ceres Nanosciences, "have developed an outstanding technology. And we're looking forward to helping them develop it further so it can have a practical use in anti-doping efforts."

Yesterday, Ceres Nanosciences launched the first release of that new technology, NanotrapTM ESP Particles.

These particles are designed to improve complex biofluid sample processing allowing for the detection of low-abundance proteins that would not otherwise be detected and also uses existing medical equipment.

What this means, simply, is that HGH use is now detectable through testing of urine samples and the breakthrough technology is officially ready to "Rock-and-Roll."

Now we'll find out if Mayweather is ready to do the same.

Pacquiao certainly is.*

De la Hoya ego bruised: Arum throws tantrum, 86'd from talks

Update: A phone call answered by Bubbly Bob Arum at 3:57 pm EST was brief.
"I can't talk," Arum said.
Then I heard that familiar clicking sound.
My train then pulled out of New Haven bound for Manhattan. Is the boxing train pulling out of the station without Mayweather versus Pacquiao?
I don't think so or they never would've come back for Round 2 of mediation.
But what do I know?

Warning: All contents below are R rated, the letter standing for rumors as they are flying fast and furious from the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao mediation in Santa Monica.
INJURY: Doctors are not sure yet what the extent of the damage is but a persistent rumor has it that bombastic Bob Arum, his former promoter, had the nerve, the audacity, the utter gall to yell across the table at Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya during Tuesday's session in front of former state judge Daniel Weinstein.
Word has it that, like a child throwing a temper tantrum, the 78-year-old head of Top Rank was ejected from the room and made to sit in a corner for a lengthy "time out." Other than a slightly bruised ego, Oscar appears to be fine according the guy who delivered the lunchtime sandwiches and coffee.
NO SUBSTITUTES: Both host MGM Grand and TV partner HBO are said to be turning a deaf ear -- no, make that two deaf ears -- to any chatter about Floyd fighting Paulie Malignaggi and Pacman fighting Yuri Foreman. Despite what I wrote this morning, I now am convinced that neither of the tune-ups, which could easily become tune outs, will happen before Floyd-Manny occurs (in May).
Arum has not talked to Foreman's crusty manager, Murray Wilson, in a few days and a source in the Philippines said that someone in Manny's inner orbit passed on word to the Foreman camp that he is not interested in fighting the rabbinical student due to a four or five inch heigh difference and Foreman's techbnical boxing style. Pacman is not looking to chase the WBA junior middleweight champ for a fight or during a fight.
Chasing Mayweather around the ring for $40 million makes more sense than chasing Foreman for 25 percent of that. So, despite Arum's barking, Pacman really has no viable foe for an interim bout.
If HBO chief Ross Greenburg has his way, with his powerful corporate checkbook, the next fight for Manny and Floyd is only against each other.
YESTERDAY I LIED, TODAY I AM TELLING THE TRUTH: Cutie pie Arum told me Tuesday night the opposing sides would not meet today (Wedneday). Guess what, he lied through his teetth as the camps are back in Weinstein's JAMS offices right now. Wedneday may be a make a deal or else situation and I say they make the deal, albeit for May rather than March.
MARCH OF TIME: Could they stick to March 13 with a 65 or so day window? At the box office, surely, because this will be an instant sellout and the ticket scalpers will go wild regarding the 18,000 or so seats at the MGM Grand Arena. March or May is likely a call that the MGM and HBO will make and that the promoters will bow to.
More to come as the rumor will works overtime...

Why Mayweather Has More To Lose

Floyd Mayweather needs to fight Manny Pacquiao. Manny Pacquiao needs to fight Floyd Mayweather, but not quite as much. It's not fair, but that's how it is.

As we anxiously await news from the mediation proceedings between the Pacquiao and Mayweather camps the stakes are enormous on both sides, yet they're not exactly the same. The fighters are at different points in their careers and lives and these factors mark the fight as far more crucial to Floyd Mayweather's legacy and future than Manny Pacquiao's. Let's look at a few factors:

Money: I'm not talking about Mayweather's handle; I'm talking about the actual green stuff. Despite what some might say this is always the most important issue. While Floyd has made an enormous amount of money in his career he also has an outrageously expensive lifestyle. Whether the multiple reports of Mayweather's tax problems and investment losses are entirely true, it's hard to imagine there is not some substance there. His huge entourage and gambling habit are hard to maintain, and if the reports are accurate he needed the Marquez fight just to get his head above water. The potential forty million he could gain fighting Pacquiao dwarfs every other possibility.

Manny has a similarly large entourage and I don't doubt that his spending habits are probably not the most prudent. However, it's a lot cheaper to live in the Philippines and play pool with friends than to do the same in Las Vegas. Pacquiao can't make as much elsewhere, but he's also not the one with "money" as part of his name and persona.

Legacy: In some ways it is unfair for Mayweather that he has always been thought of so highly that none of his feats in the ring were seen as all that impressive. He is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having avoided the biggest challenges. We can debate this all we want and some of it isn't his fault - such as Tszyu and Judah losing before he got a chance to face them at their best - but Mayweather has never had to slay his monster. There has never been that one fighter that people thought was a bridge too far. He has had a tax put on his resume based on his consistent excellence.

Manny Pacquiao has already cut through a legion of challenges people thought too difficult: Barrera, Morales, Marquez, De La Hoya, and Cotto. That he was doubted along the way only serves to magnify his accomplishments. In many ways the victory over Cotto was the final seal on his greatness. It gave him a record setting belt in his seventh division and a victory over a bigger fighter in his prime. There are no doubts about Pacquiao's willingness to take on the biggest challenge and overcome long odds. He has been blessed with more impressive opponents.

Options: Mayweather is trapped. His last fight against Marquez, which I found impressive, is largely seen as a monstrosity at this point. Many people, even fans, felt cheated and insulted by the event. Marquez was the smaller man, as was Mayweather's previous opponent, Ricky Hatton. By the next time he steps into the ring it will have been nearly three years since he will have faced a man his size. I've recently heard the name of Paulie Malignaggi as a potential Mayweather opponent, but that simply isn't feasible. A borderline top-five junior welterweight with no power isn't enough for the fans at this point. He needs a big fight and he needs one right away. The only other option is Shane Mosley, and if Floyd's previous comments are any indication he doesn't seem particularly eager to take that fight at this moment.

As for Pacquiao, the name most likely is Yuri Foreman. It's not a great fight, but the junior middleweight opponent at least offers some historical relevance; a belt in another division. Additionally, Pacquiao has earned himself some leeway. His recent string of victories has been impressive and the fans and HBO are likely more willing to give him a break than Floyd Mayweather.

Public perception: If Mayweather has won the media battle on performance enhancing drugs he might have lost the overall war. Mayweather's insistence on unprecedented testing has led as least some to call him a prima donna, or, even worse, scared. Ultimately Mayweather's perception will be formed by who he fights. Malignaggi just won't cut it and he will be the big loser if that fight takes place.

Pacquiao has taken a major blow to his reputation. Whether fair or not, a good percentage of the general American sports fan now views him as suspect. It's clear that Pacquiao realizes this; his defamation lawsuit shows that he takes it seriously. However, what many American fans and media don't seem to realize is that Pacquiao is not an American. He is a Filipino and still beloved and trusted in his home country. While he's doubtlessly disturbed by this talk he has a loyal group still fully behind him.

While both fighters need this match, and most importantly, the sport of boxing needs it, Pacquiao ultimately has more residual strengths to storm the criticism if the fight falls through.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao: The thrill is almost gone...

Assuming that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao decide to meet up on an even playing field this coming March, I would like to take it a step further and share with you my thoughts and concerns on what I believe will happen should the fight take place at all.

It's been an uphill battle so far, and the media has covered all the reasons why Camp Mayweather has requested a change in the type of testing given prior to a championship fight. Quite frankly, it is my humble opinion that promoter Bob Arum and his public relations machine have not helped their man one iota. There have been a string of excuses and obvious lies which have only helped alienate the fans and have given many food for thought. A great number of aficionados who couldn't wait to see this bout are now openly expressing disgust and indifference at the thought of the fight taking place at all.

There are world wide financial problems that have trickled down from the highest paid executives to the average Joe, so, it is very hard for most of us to understand how principled Manny Pacquiao can be to walk away from a guaranteed $25 million dollars purse just because he won't agree to a more sophisticated -but not necessarily unknown in the sports world- type of testing.

Arum contributed to the confusion when he stated that Manny was afraid of needles, yet and still, Pacquiao is heavily tattooed. Pacquiao hasn't helped the cause either by dictating when he is willing to be tested, something unheard of in any other sport, or even in the business world, in every day life. Picture a job applicant who must submit to blood and urine tests before being considered for a position. Imagine that person being told an appointment has been set for him to be tested as part of the pre-employment protocol. Joe Blow tells the potential employer on what days he would be willing to take the tests. Chances are Mr. Blow will remain unemployed a bit longer. The whole point of testing should be that it is done unannounced, otherwise, why bother?

All those situations set aside, let's go further and explore what may be even more of a problem than getting past the testing debacle. So, in an ideal world, the two men have agreed to all the demands and rules and regulations, and now our very special time machine takes us to fight night, whenever and wherever that may be...

Here are the possible scenarios and what each one may bring:

1. Floyd Mayweather wins by decision. - Pacquiao fans and bigwigs will blame the judges for not having scored the fight correctly and will rant and rave that Floyd received a belated Christmas gift. No peace in the valley here....

2. Manny Pacquiao wins by decision - Mayweather fans will definitely raise holy heck, not to mention his camp and his corner. Fingers will be pointed at the officials and there will be no peace in the valley here either.

3. Floyd Mayweather wins by TKO or KO - Hmmm... well, there will be those who will accuse Mayweather of taking PED's himself, or they will say the referee's count was too fast, or the blow was illegal somehow, and you can bet your bottom dollar there would be a controversial ending to this fairy tale turned nightmare.

4. Manny Pacquiao wins by TKO or KO - Oh boy! What now? If the fight went on without Pacquiao having agreed to the Olympic style drug testing, there will be no doubt in the minds of most fans that the Pacman is juicing, while Manny's people will gloat and boast about the power their man possesses. Peace in the valley? Hardly....

5. Manny Pacquiao wins by TKO or KO after having taken the Olympic style testing - This would be the closest we would come to having a peaceful ending to this novela, although there will be those who will say that the pre-fight hoopla took a toll on Floyd Jr.

My point is that a line has been crossed and there is no coming back from it. All the haggling prior to the fight has taken a toll on the fans' minds, and judging by the pulse on many forums and emails sent to us by boxing fans, people are losing interest in this match. They have real life issues that they must deal with on a daily basis, and it's hard for them/us to understand why a man would rather pass on $25 million dollars rather than agree to take a more astringent -but nevertheless valid and used in many other sports- type of test. It makes me think of what TV judge Judy always says, and I paraphrase, "if it doesn't make sense, it simply isn't true."

I strongly suggest that they triple up security should this fight take place at all, whenever and wherever. The aura is dark, the possibilities as detailed above point to a no win situation no matter what the outcome of the bout might be. The back and forth, the stubbornness, the lies and the posturing have taken away the real excitement from what could have been the mother of all fights, and that, dear readers, is not good for the sport of boxing.

Pacquiao – Mayweather: Mediation or surgery

Today in a room in a Santa Monica, California, boxing will be going under for its own form of major surgery.
The kind of surgery isn’t for a bum knee or a damaged elbow. It could be an operation to fix and resurrect any number of things inside the body of boxing.
Due to Doctor/Patient confidentiality we will call the patient “FMMP”.
FMMP is a potential larger than life event that could bring an influx of new fans to the sport. FMMP was set to debut on the Las Vegas strip on March 13th until some infections got in the way, hence the reason for this surgery.
Enter the honorable former judge Daniel Weinstein who will act as the lead surgeon. Helping him out in the board, I mean operating room will be represent eves from promotional giants, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions as well as well as the inner circles of FM & MP.
What is the potential prognosis if this procedure succeeds or fails?
If Weinstein is successful, the sport of boxing will get what it’s been longing for a fight that its been yearning for since at least De La Hoya – Trinidad or Chavez – Whitaker and that fight was almost twenty years ago.
This is a fight that has been brewing for the better part of two years and this is all that boxing and even the non-boxing fans want to see.
After the news has been all over boxing and sports news services that a deal was reached in principle that the fight was closer to fruition then not, the infection, arose that the camp of FM wanted a more stringent drug testing procedure on MP started to fester in the body, of this patient.
Now if Weinstein can get this infection straightened out, the sport has a chance to be healthier than it’s been in a decade as a fight will be made that EVERYONE wants to witness.
Sure we know that this is a big money event that everyone involved from the fighters, promoters, casinos and right on the down the line will line their pockets with a bushel of cash but to have boxing back on center stage will be worth whatever we have had to endure over the last few weeks as we read about proposals and counter proposals about drug testing and drawing blood.
The potential of an unsuccessful surgery I don’t want to say will be catastrophic for the business but it would certainly be another bruise on the body that is boxing.
Many hardcore and even the very casual fan wants to see the bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao and lets home that the former Judge Weinstein can perform a magical procedure to help save this fight.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pacquiao-Mayweather Mediator Has a Tough Job Ahead: Too Much Hate in the Atmosphere

The Pacquiao-Mayweather mess that has stemmed from steroid accusations to a defamation lawsuit and allegations of character assassination, there is still hope that these two boxers, arguably the best in what they do, will meet and square off inside the squared circle. A retired federal judge will step in between these two boxers and try to get them all chummy to make the fight happen.

Daniel Weinstein, who will act as the mediator for both sides, has a history with settling arguments between Top Rank and Golden Boy to seal fights and let them come into fruition. But before you celebrate and rejoice for what is still a small glimmering hope for 2010’s biggest showdown, know that the animosity and hate between the two warring camps are real and authentic.

To start off, Floyd Mayweather Jr. really dislikes Top Rank’s Bob Arum and vice versa. Pretty Boy used to fight for Arum until they had a falling off and Mayweather started his own boxing promotions agency. The same can be said with Oscar de la Hoya, who was once a Top Rank fighter before he left Arum and founded his own company, GBP.

Then of course you have de la Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. Golden Boy signed him up to be part of the GBP stable but Arum made a better offer, which prompted Pacquiao to leave GBP. Golden Boy went after Pacquiao in the court but was forced to settle with a stake in the Filipino’s earnings. Of course, everyone remember the Dream Match that turned into a nightmare where Oscar challenged Pacquiao and predicted an ass whooping.

True to the word, it was an ass whooping indeed. But it was the other way around. Mayweather may have also claimed victory over Oscar, but the Pacquiao beatdown was so humiliating that Golden Boy was forced to retire a few months later. With the steroid issue breaking the surface, Oscar, who once said that Pacquiao’s punches did not hurt him, suddenly contradicted himself and made a vivid comparison on how Manny’s punches felt like the shots he took from Fernando Vargas and Shane Mosley, who are both found to be on the juice when they fought Golden Boy.

Oscar’s fighters, from Oscar Larios to Juan Manuel Marquez to Marco Antonio Barrera to Ricky Hatton, were also whooped by Pacquiao.

Then there is also the rift between two of the world’s best boxing trainers, Freddie Roach and Floyd Joy Mayweather. Floyd Joy was initially tapped to train Golden Boy for his megafight against the former’s son. But with a US$2,000,000.00 training fee, Oscar decided to go economical and hired Roach instead.

The two trainers would collide again when Pacquiao and Hatton clashed. Mayweather was calling Roach, who is very calm by nature, cockroach and the Joke Coach and even predicted a knockout win by his ward over the Filipino. Roach had the last laugh when Pacquiao dismantled the Brit within six minutes.

With the defamation suit filed by Pacquiao against Mayweathers and their associates, one might think this is the last nail to the coffin, and it might be. There’s too much hate involved, although no one can say Pacquiao really hates the Mayweathers or Oscar.

Now the table has been set and the mediator is waiting, do not think just because money talks (and it certainly will during the mediation process), these two fighters will agree almost immediately. If there is chance that this fight will go on as planned, expect some people to eat large servings of humble pie and release some letters of apology. Bu then again, there’s too much hate involved.

Sugar Shane Mosley sour: Forget Pacquiao, Mayweather, I'm Numero Uno

I had a strange malady known as laboratory fever.

I needed relief and I don’t mean a strenuous stay up all night studying urine exam.
So I put aside my syringes, my sample storage units and my blood-filled beakers.
I busted out of the drug testing center and I talked about boxing, the sport I covered before random testing for EPO, HGH and who knows what else, became the focal point of news coverage.
I spoke to future Hall Of Famer Sugar Shane Mosley Tuesday afternoon.
His Cali driver’s license shows him to be hitting 39 on his next birthday.
But, in speaking from his Big Bear training lair (“it’s so nice and peaceful up here, I could live here even though I’m living in Las Vegas”), Mosley told me his body and his mind tell him he’s actually “24 or 25.”
Mosley, who said he plans to fight for four or five years or until he’s about 45, has a January 30 Mandalay Bay date against WBC welterweight champ young and unbeaten Andre Berto.
We spoke on Berto but we spoke more on the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao brouhaha.
The Pomona Kid said fight fans will be sorely disappointed if Floyd and Manny do fight in March or May, maybe more so than if they don’t bridge their random blood testing gap and make a dazzling deal.
“I hope it doesn’t push through,” Mosley said, “obviously I have my own selfish reasons. But I also hope it doesn’t because it’s not the best fight out there. I am Number One, I am the best welterweight in the world.
“Really, the best fight out there that can be made is me and Pacquiao, two real warriors who will go at it in a fight that won’t leave the fans dissatisfied or disappointed. That’s the best fight.”
Mosley said that if, somehow, he and the Pinoy Idol could sit down together, this mammoth fight could be easily made.
“If Manny and I sat together at the table, just us, we could get this deal done. It would fair (money) for him and fair for me. It’s all the other people who get involved, who worry about what they’re getting. Manny would get the money he’s supposed to getting.
"Manny and I wouldn’t be like Mayweather who who wants to get all the money for himself.”
Frankly, Mosley admits, his name not being in the immediate mix with all the Floyd-Manny hullabaloo, is agonizing.
“Here I am, one of the real legendary fighters, and my name is still not mentioned in this,” Mosley said. “Here I am ready to stand up and fight either one of them.
“I’ve been saying it since Day One that I’m the best and all I get is aggravation. It’s just business, I know that but I also know I am going to be the Last Man Stading.”
Part 2 to follow: His Sugarship talks about who wins Floyd-Manny, about the rising star Berto and their Vegas bout on HBO, and his budding amateur prospect, 19 year old Shane Jr., who is trained by Papa Jack Mosley, Shane’s father and his first and longest lasting boxing teacher.

Arbitration in Pacquiao-Mayweather fight today

Today (Tuesday in the U.S.), Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions big bosses will be sitting down with a retired federal judge, who will act as arbiter, in the hope of finally finalizing a fight between Filipino Manny Pacquiao and undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr.


Though millions of boxing fans across the globe hope that a bout will be sign, sealed, and delivered for March 13, I know a few people who will cross their fingers and toes hoping the bout completely falls apart.

There will be key issues to be discussed but the most central of which will be the manner the drug testing will be conducted with former juror Daniel Weinstein trying to resolve them in the presence of Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotions Richard Schaefer in the opposite sites of the table in his Sta. Monica office at the suburban Los Angeles.

Millions of boxing fans all over the world will be crossing their fingers that the arbitration will turn positive that the fight, originally agreed upon on March 13 in Las Vegas will push through to the consternation, of course of two individuals.

Paulie Malignaggi and Yuri Foreman have both been mentioned as possible opponents to replace Floyd and make the highest payday of their careers so that they will be praying that negotiations go astray.

First and foremost, arbiter Weinstein will have to resolve whether there is sufficient reason to suggest drug testing beyond that typically administered by the Nevada Athletic Commission for fights in that state.
The Mayweather camp's demand for random, Olympic-style drug testing, via blood sampling, and opposed by the Filipino camp stalled a negotiation that had earlier looked to have taken s smooth road to completion by year 2009 end.
All other key issues -- money, weight, venue – had been agreed upon quickly.

Also to be resolved is Arum’s, seeking an apology from the Mayweather side before going forward. He said the Filipino fighter's reputation has been irreparably tarnished by the cmp's insinuation -- and in at least one case, an outright accusation -- that Pacquaio uses performance-enhancing drugs.

If Pacquiao gets some bend from the Mayweather camp on the drug-testing issue and the apology demand, it follows that the former pound-for-pound king will be asking in return that the defamation suit Pacquiao filed be dropped.

The action was brought last Wednesday, in a Nevada federal court, seeking unspecified damages in excess of $75,000 (the minimum amount required in such a filing), with defendants Mayweather, Mayweather Sr., Roger Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions, and Golden Boy Promotions honchos Oscar De La Hoya and Schaefer.

The now pound-for-pound best succeeded in making Mayweather agree to $10 million contractual penalty for any pound, or fraction thereof, more than 147 pounds that the Grand Rapids native might weigh.
But this could also be dispensed with in Mayweather agreeing to the drug-testing concession.

Last-ditch bid to save Pacquiao-Mayweather fight

(CNN) -- Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have turned to mediation in a last-ditch bid to save their March 13 super-fight in Las Vegas.
The proposed bout has been thrown into considerable doubt after a row over drugs testing escalated with Pacquiao taking legal action against Mayweather and his connections.
But representatives of the two fighters are due to meet on Tuesday with retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein, who solved a dispute relating to promotional rights for Pacquiao three years ago.
Pacquiao's promoter and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has every faith in Weinstein's abilities.
"This guy was successful resolving our nutty problem before and hopefully he can be successful this time. He's a guy who is a big fight fan and loves the sport, and I found him last time to be a delight to deal with. Everybody did," he told ESPN.com.
Filipino hero Pacquiao has been infuriated by the insistence of Mayweather and his team at Golden Boy Promotions that both fighters submit to Olympic-style blood testing in the buildup to their pay-per-view extravaganza.
This guy was successful resolving our nutty problem before and hopefully he can be successful this time.
--Bob Arum
Pacquiao filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Las Vegas last week for defamation against Mayweather and others for allegedly claiming he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
It was another twist in a saga which has threatened to derail what many boxing experts predict will be the richest fight in boxing history, with projections of each fighter earning $40 million.
The bout at welterweight appeared to be virtually set after other issues around the cut of the purse for each fighter were settled, but then the drug-testing row erupted over the Christmas period.
Pacquiao became a five-weight world champion after his WBO welterweight title win over Miguel Cotto in November, while the unbeaten Mayweather returned from a 21-month retirement to beat Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in September.

REFEREE ENTERS RING: Mediator enlisted to save fight

Promoters for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have asked an independent mediator to help settle an impasse over random drug testing that has jeopardized the March 13 megafight in Las Vegas.

Representatives of Top Rank, which promotes Pacquiao, and Golden Boy Promotions, which is doing the negotiating for Mayweather, will meet today with retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein in Santa Monica, Calif., in what is seen as a last-gasp attempt to save the bout.







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Mayweather has insisted that Pacquiao submit to random blood tests in addition to random urine tests before he would sign off on the fight, which could be worth as much as $40 million each to the fighters.

Of Weinstein, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said, "He's a terrific guy. He's a tremendous negotiator. But remember, this isn't binding arbitration. This is mediation. He can only try to bring the two sides together."

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said he won't comment until after today's session.

Pacquiao has objected to being blood tested right before the fight. He agreed to be tested prior to the kickoff news conference, again 30 days prior to the fight and then immediately after the fight at the MGM Grand. Mayweather's camp said that is unacceptable and wants random blood testing imposed.

Top Rank president Todd duBoef talked last week with Golden Boy's Bruce Binkow, the company's chief marketing officer, in an attempt to forge an agreement. They reportedly made progress, but not enough to complete a deal.

Weinstein has a history with both Top Rank and Golden Boy pertaining to Pacquiao. He mediated the dispute over Pacquiao's promotional contract in 2007 that ultimately gave Top Rank control of Pacquiao's career, with Golden Boy receiving a percentage of his earnings.

Pacquiao last week sued Mayweather, his father, his uncle and Golden Boy for defamation after they alleged Pacquiao had used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court in Las Vegas.

Whether the lawsuit will color today's mediation session remains to be seen. If Mayweather agrees to drop his demand for random blood tests, he might demand Pacquiao drop his lawsuit in exchange.

If Weinstein can't settle the differences, both fighters are prepared to move forward against other opponents.

Arum has said Pacquiao, a world champion in seven weight divisions, would fight WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman on March 20 at the Thomas & Mack Center and go for an unprecedented eighth world title.

Mayweather would likely keep the March 13 date at the MGM Grand and possibly fight Paulie Malignaggi, who won an impressive 12-round unanimous decision last month over Juan Diaz.

Neither fighter was available for comment.

The world waits as Top Rank and Golden Boy talk it out

The fate of the most lucrative fight in the history of the sport is being decided in just a few hours, and will largely depend on arch rivals Top Rank and Golden Boy putting their differences aside.
Both promoters want to the fight to happen, both boxers want the fight to happen, and most of all the public wants this fight to happen. The issues surrounding the break down in negotiations have been well publicized.
There is even wide speculation that one or both fighters don't want the fight, usually from various fans of either. On Manny's part he doesn't seem to care who he fights, and leaves that up to his team and Freddie Roach. He sees his job as fighting, and leaves the details up to his representatives.
On the part of Floyd Mayweather, despite what people might say about him, he certainly wants the $40 million he will probably make. As well as which he has the perfect style to beat Manny, and most bookmakers already have him as the favorite before the fight has even been finally made.
The fight itself isn't the only thing being discussed at the talks though, there are also the issues of Golden Boy owning a piece of Manny Pacquiao's fights and the impending lawsuit filed against them and the Mayweather clan.

Presumably Top Rank are raising the issue of Golden Boy having a piece of the promotional pie because they are now also representing his opponent. Particularly because they are backing Floyd to the hilt in his insinuation about Manny taking PED's. Surely a conflict of interest if Golden Boy are making money from both ends. Not to mention if they share some part of the promotion of Pacquiao, is should be in their interests to make the fight happen.
Is there any legal reason why Golden Boy should be made to drop Manny? Probably not, as the ensuing legal battle would have proved when the briefcase full of money incident happened and Manny signed with Top Rank anyway. That time Top Rank was quick to cut Golden Boy in on the promotional money Manny made from each fight
Top Rank might be trying to effectively buy Manny's contract out from Golden Boy and resolve the issue of them having an interest in any money he makes in the future. This could have wider ramifications with the lawsuit that Pacquiao and Top Rank's lawyers are filing as well. Golden boy will no doubt argue that a company with a vested interest in making the fight happen, and who make money from both parties,
As far as the lawsuit itself, Golden Boy will obviously be eager to have the lawsuit stopped by Top Rank, and might offer to let Manny and Top Rank out of their contracts with them in exchange. If this was earlier in Pacquiao's career this would be unthinkable, but given that he intends to retire after one or two more fights anyway, this probably isn't too much of a loss.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pacquiao, Mayweather agree to mediator

With time running out to save a potential March 13 megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., the camps are heading to mediation on Tuesday in an effort to work out their differences.

Mediator Daniel Weinstein will preside over the meeting in Santa Monica, Calif. Weinstein, a retired federal judge, also mediated the acrimonious dispute that kept Top Rank, Pacquiao's promoter, and Golden Boy, which represents Mayweather, from doing fights together for almost two years.

"We're going into mediation," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, told ESPN.com. "This guy was successful resolving our nutty problem before and hopefully he can be successful this time. He's a guy who is a big fight fan and loves the sport, and I found him last time to be a delight to deal with. Everybody did."

In a statement Monday to ESPN.com, Weinstein said the sides accepted the mediation without any conditions.

"After discussions with representatives of all parties I am satisfied that the parties are approaching the mediation in good faith," he said. "Neither side is insisting on pre-conditions to its participation in the mediation, and both sides will present their positions in an effort to resolve the dispute."

At the time of the previous mediation, the companies had several ongoing lawsuits, including the one at the center of the bad blood: ownership of the promotional rights to Pacquiao, who had signed contracts with both companies before eventually pledging his loyalty to Top Rank.

When the disputes were settled in June 2007, Arum and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer both credited Weinstein's steady hand for getting them to reach an accord. Under the global settlement, Top Rank retained Pacquiao's promotional rights with Golden Boy receiving a percentage of Top Rank's profit from his future bouts.

The hope is that Weinstein can once again help the sides see their way through what has become an increasingly nasty battle in an effort to finalize the bout between welterweight titlist Pacquiao and Mayweather, the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, in a fight many believe will break the pay-per-view record of 2.44 million buys. Mayweather's 2007 fight with Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya set the record.

Weinstein said both sides have agreed not to comment until after they meet with him.

AOL Fanhouse first reported the mediation plans Sunday night.

Top Rank and Golden Boy have agreed on all points on the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight except for one: The protocol for drug testing.

Even though the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which would oversee the bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, doesn't require blood testing, Mayweather has insisted on random blood testing. Both sides have already agreed to unlimited random urine testing.

Pacquiao has refused training camp-long random blood testing, agreeing only to three tests, one during the week of the kickoff news conference, which would take place in the next week or so if they finalize the fight, one random test to be conducted no later than 30 days before the fight and a final test in his dressing room after the fight.

Mayweather would be subject to the same testing procedures.

One issue sure to be discussed in front of the mediator is the impact of the defamation lawsuit Pacquiao filed last week in Nevada U.S. District Court against Mayweather Jr., Schaefer, De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Sr., Roger Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions.

In the suit, Pacquiao alleges they made false and defamatory statements and sullied his reputation by accusing him of taking performance-enhancing drugs. Pacquiao denies he has ever used PEDs and has never failed a drug test.

If mediation fails, and the fight does not get made, Arum said he will match Pacquiao with junior middleweight titlist Yuri Foreman, whom he also promotes, on March 20 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas so Pacquiao could attempt to win a title in a record eighth weight division.

Mayweather could still fight on March 13 at the MGM and potentially face former junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi.

Mayweather-Pacquiao Should be Finalized this Week...

Play time is over for all parties involved.

Yes, it was slightly amusing to observe the verbal bashing taking place from both sides as to why the other camp did or didn't want the fight but after the outcry of public disapproval, it looks as though the smokescreen has lifted.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao is a fight that needs to take place soon and it needs to be signed now.

(Click here for a look at Yuri Foreman as a potential Pacquiao opponent.)

As the economy continues to struggle, flounder, and fizzle in it's continuous downward spiral, as each month passes, less and less fanatics out there struggling to make rent will possess the disposable income in order to purchase the mega-fight. Apparently this week Team Mayweather and Team Pacquiao will be meeting face to face via a mediator Judge Daniel Weinstein.

Boxing loves drama but it can tend to go overboard with certain antics and turn the casual viewer off which is exactly what took place the last several weeks.

With Mayweather hinting at Pacquiao's usage of performance enhancing drugs and Pacquiao in-turn filing a defamation lawsuit against all parties involved with the "Pretty Boy", it left the public scratching their heads wondering where boxing took a wrong turn.

If I've learned anything having hovered around the boxing world for several years now, it's that plenty of complete and utter morons are employed within the sweet science by making very simple tasks ridiculously painful and difficult.

It's amusing but frustrating to say the least as it's a true rarity when anything positive gets done within the sport.

This week the fight will get signed, next week will be the press conferences in New York and Los Angeles, and March 13, 2010 will be the day boxing lounges on that warm piece of the sidewalk it rarely gets to sit on...

Greed will drive this fight to get made and there is nobody greedier than the two parties meeting this week.

Big US stadiums want to host Pacquiao fight

Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said his email has been receiving inquiries from all over, asking him to bring Manny Pacquiao to them regardless of who the Filipino fights.

“It’s unbelievable. They don’t care who Manny fights,” Arum told the Bulletin over the weekend from his Las Vegas home.

Arum said the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas of Texas billionaire Jerry Jones is back in the mix, while Atlanta is also making a bid to host Pacquiao in the event a last-ditch effort fails to finalize a megabuck match with Floyd Mayweather for March 13.

Dallas and Atlanta had expressed their respective bids to stage Pacquiao-Mayweather but they were edged by perennial contender, Las Vegas, with the MGM Grand Garden Arena as venue.

But when negotiations turned sour a few weeks ago when Mayweather demanded that Pacquiao undergo random urine testing, the fight that was thought to be a done deal suddenly appeared dead in the water.

Arum said Yuri Foreman, the reigning World Boxing Association super-welterweight champion, is being eyed to replace Mayweather.

While there is still an impasse over the proposed Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown, an effort to find a solution to the dispute will be explored on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) when representatives of Pacquiao and Mayweather meet up with noted mediator Daniel Weinstein in Los Angeles.

Also expected to be discussed is the lawsuit filed by Pacquiao against the Mayweathers – boxer Floyd Jr., his father Floyd Sr. and uncle Roger – and Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions (GBP).

GBP has been given authority by Mayweather to negotiate with Arum regarding the Pacquiao fight.

It was Weisntein who succeeded in resolving the issue between Arum’s Top Rank and GBP concerning promotional control over Pacquiao in 2007.

Even GBP’s stake on Pacquiao will likely be discussed in the meeting with Weinstein, as Arum is aiming to rid GBP of its minor promotional rights over Pacquiao owing to the spate of accusations of Pacquiao’s alleged drug use by De La Hoya and Schaefer.

Weinstein, a retired San Francisco judge, is one of the US’s top mediators, having worked complex cases involving major NYSE and Nasdaq corporations and Hollywood celebrities.

Opinion: Golden Boy and Floyd Exemplify Contradiction

What do Richard Schaefer, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Floyd Mayweather Sr., Ellerbe and Haymon have in common? Answer: Contradiction.

These are the people who have one common denominator – the word “Contradiction.”

People are not dumb, people remember. Boxing fans are aware of what’s going on, boxing writers noticed it, the public and the whole world listened.

The whole world – I mean, the whole wide world, not only America – are interested in boxing which is currently at it’s peak again because of Manny Pacquaio. Therefore any news about boxing is well documented in the minds of the fans all over the world. They read newsletters, articles, Biofiles, comments , interviews on people who are involved in boxing. All because their interest was awaken again by a fighter named Manny Pacquaio.

The names mentioned above raised a lot of eyebrows among boxing writers, sports editors, TV and radio sports commentators, boxing and fight fans. As if integrity and dignity has no value to these people above mentioned, they don’t seem to care about the importance of self respect and ethics.

They became a slave to their lies and deception, the people are not stupid. People out there deserve the truth because boxing fans are intelligent, wise and knowledgable.

Schaefer, Dela Hoya, Mayweather Jr, Sr, Ellerbe and Haymon think that they can fool the boxing world. They thought that cheating the public will go on and on and on without the fans noticing it.

Their own words are the evidence that they all have no moral principle, they don’t fight for any ideology or religion, all they care is to tarnish and diminish the achievements of the humble fighter from the Philippines. They are all masters of CONTRADICTION. Lets examine one by one, the contradictory words and actions coming from them:

Schaefer:
Past- “I will let Mosley comply to blood test by Nevada Athletic Commission and nothing more.”
Present- “Manny Pacquaio has to submit himself to Olympic style blood testing to fight Floyd
Mayweather Jr.” But not Mosley? (Who fights for Golden Boy and is an admitted user.)

Dela Hoya:
Past- Interviewed by Yahoo Sports in the Mayweather and Marquez fight said, “Pacquaio punches we’re not that hard, truthfully his punches aren’t that hard, he didn’t hurt me. But the punches we’re so fast and coming from everywhere, its feels like there we’re ten of them.”

Present- “Now, I have to wonder about him. Im saying to myself how those punches felt like Mosley, Vargas and Pacquaio felt the same.” Oscar’s recent statement.

Mayweather Jr:
Past- Floyd Jr. said “Pacquaio doesn’t want to fight me, he never called me! He has to call me! It will be an easier fight than Marquez! Pacquaio is one dimentional fighter, its easy to beat him.”
Present- As of today, Mayweather insist for the random blood testing even though Pacquaio has agreed to three blood tests, including one right after the fight and the random urine test before the fight. Steroids will be detected in a blood test taken 1-2 days before the fight and 1-2 weeks after the fight. Pacquaio made statements in the press challenging Floyd Jr for a mano for mano. Floyd Jr. until now didn’t answer the challenge, instead issued a statement through GBP for an even playing field. Though he didn’t give Marquez an even playing field by weighing more than the agreed weight of 144 lbs, just to gain advantaged on the smaller opponent.

Mayweather Sr:
Past-Convicted Drug Trafficker!
Present- Steroids Expert and Drug Accuser!

Haymon:
Past- He is the manager of Berto. Berto is to fight Mosley (who has testified that he inadvertently uses steroids and epogen). Haymon didn’t request Mosley for Olympic style testing vs. Berto. Mosley is a fighter of Golden Boy.

Present- Haymon wants Random Olympic style blood testing to protect his fighter Floyd Jr. but not Berto who will fight Mosley, who’s admitted user.

Ellerbe:
Past- We will never fight Pacquaio for 50-50 in one interview with Scoop Malinowski.
Present- As of today, no contract has been signed and fight is off. Maybe, this is only the exception to all the contradiction…that they never intended to fight Manny Pacquaio because their fighter has no balls and courage to fight the number one Pound-for-Pound fighter of boxing from the Philippines. And Floyd will remained a “ducker.” No contradiction on that.”

Why Pacquiao-Mayweather is still odds-on to take place this spring

Any bookmaker framing odds on the chances of Manny Pacquiao fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, this spring or summer might have it at close to even money this morning.

The reasons are these: Floyd, one of life's great gamblers, has already pushed Manny too far in their drawn-out blood feud, and he needs the money more than the little guy. I think the Mayweathers are cracking.

Six weeks ago, when negotiations for the 13 March fight started, Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's closest business adviser, said: "If the fight happens, Floyd deserves the lion's share of the purse."

This is a standard negotiating posture, one that led Bob Arum, representing Pacquiao, to point out to him that only the egos of the negotiators could scupper the promotion.

To everyone's amazement, within days Mayweather agreed to split the $50m purse down the middle and cut a deal on the pay-per-view take. That was when I figured he was more desperate for the fight than Pacquiao was – and when they decided on the next stage of their negotiating strategy.

Just before Christmas they tried to rattle Pacquiao by demanding he take random blood tests for performance-enhancing drugs, knowing he didn't like giving blood, especially in the last month of training. He did it before, against Erik Morales (promoted at the time by Oscar De La Hoya), and lost. They were also putting in place what they thought was the perfect excuse: if Pacquiao refused the blood tests and won the fight, Mayweather could claim again he was on the juice.

But Pacquiao fashioned an even better counter. When he announced last week he was suing Mayweather, his father and uncle, as well as their business associates Richard Schaefer and De La Hoya, for defamation, claiming they portrayed him as a drug cheat, he challenged them to back down.

They have not yet done that, but they are nervous.

Ellerbe, who doesn't give many interviews, told Fanhouse.com yesterday, "From day one, I've never accused Manny Pacquaio of anything. All that I've said is that we want to ensure that there is a level playing field."

This, clearly, is unsustainable nonsense. If he is not accusing Pacquiao of anything, why ask him to take tests they have never demanded of any of Mayweather's previous 40 opponents? There is no logic in the Mayweathers' position – unless they believe Pacquiao is taking performance-enhancing drugs.

If they have proof of that beyond gym scuttlebutt, you would imagine they'd produce it. Or would they? Because, to do so would not only wreck Pacquiao's career but a pay-day north of $40m for Mayweather, as well as big bunce for his partners.

Pacquiao, if he is innocent, will know they have no evidence and so will have to compromise. If he is guilty, he will be reasonably certain they won't wreck the promotion by providing the proof. He also knows Mayweather, who called him out in the first place, really wants the fight. He has some serious tax bills to pay, and loves a bet. The signs are encouraging.

Ellerbe said yesterday, "We're still ready, willing and able to make a deal. We feel that this is the biggest fight in the history of boxing. We want to give this fight to the fans."

Of course they do.

And, not only do they want to make a pay-per-view killing, the biggest in the history of the sport by a factor of possibly two, they want to avoid punitive damages of "tens of millions" above the headline $75,000 Pacquiao is suing them for. Those big zeroes are the estimate of Pacquiao's celebrity attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, and any gambler would do well not to ignore him. He has form.

If Pacquiao extracts an apology from Mayweather and agrees to a suitable form of drug testing, all will be well. Otherwise, he will take the legal action the whole way. I have no idea if he will win in court – but neither does Mayweather, and I reckon his legal advisers will be telling him to think hard about bailing out of this one.

Given this is boxing, there has to be another twist – and the most mysterious of all is that Golden Boy owns a slice of Pacquiao, who signed with it in 2006. This inspired Top Rank to sue GBP, which counter-sued. They now each have a bit of Manny, a curiosity that has yet to be resolved.

It is not just a boxing match between Pacquiao and Mayweather, the two best practitioners in the world; it is a willy-waving contest between a whole cast of players: Arum and De La Hoya, for a start. The Golden Boy boxed for Arum – until they fell out, naturally. Nor does Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, get on with Mayweather Sr. In fact Mayweather Jr is not crazy about De La Hoya, who lost to him in 2007 but out-earned him by $58m to $25m. Oscar then sacked his trainer – Freddie Roach. The Borgias have got nothing on this lot.

Ellerbe told Fanhouse.com, "We checked our egos at the door" when they started talks. I don't think so. The fight game is all about egos. It's why they are in this mess in the first place.

There is an outside chance, of course, that this absurd row is a publicity scam of towering genius, one that ensures maximum interest from outside the hardcore boxing community, punters who will push the pay-per-view numbers past three million and make everyone concerned considerably richer.

It might not have begun like that. But, as in life, what started as a cock-up born of animus has become a war, and it plainly suits both sides to milk it until they settle. It is getting a lot of ink.

So if the fighters, alongside Arum, Ellerbe, Schaefer and De La Hoya, gather this week – let's say Wednesday – to announce the war is over, it would not surprise me in the least. I'd put the odds at about 4‑6.

Mayweather/Pacquiao: Takes one for the money, but two for the show

The on-again/off-again negotiations between American Floyd Mayweather jr. and fightin' Filipino native Manny Pacquiao has apparently come down to a last ditch effort being staged Tuesday afternoon in California between the respective fight camps and now retired judge Daniel Weinstein serving as chief mediator.
These negotiations have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other, and of all the concessions made, there has been no progress what-so-ever in finalizing a deal that once seemed to come together far easier than anyone could imagine.
The breaking point has come in the fact that there seems to be no swaying within Team Pacquiao from their position relative to randomized blood testing.
The position of Team Pacquiao is set on one test before the announcement of the fight, another 30 days prior to the fight, and a final one taking place after the fight is complete.
In the eyes of Team Mayweather, this agreement is unacceptable because - as several medical sources have indicated - any knowledge of the particular testing time can allow someone who is using performing enhancing drugs can beat the test.
For a while, there lied the bigger problem, with Team Pacquiao feeling they were "singled out without proof", while Team Mayweather held the position that there was simply a need to get answers to a few speculative questions.
Recently, Roy Jones jr. spoke on the issue and some felt his criticism of the steroids testing being mandated by Team Mayweather meant he sided with Team Pacquiao.
For the record, it should be noted that while, like Jones jr., we can all agree that the request may have been wrong in principle, not once did Jones jr. say that he would have walked away from a shot at ultimate supremacy and a $40M payday. So the comments he made carry a bit less weight than many have seemed to believe.
At the end of the day, this ruckus will all come down to what happens Tuesday afternoon.
So far, Team Mayweather has conceded to a $10M stipulation for each pound that Mayweather weighs-in over 147lbs. Team Mayweather has agreed to stipulations for the glove size, as the fighters will both where 8oz gloves, despite the welterweight norm is 10oz gloves. Team Mayweather has also agreed to allow NSAC to conduct the testing.
With all of those concessions, it can only be desired that Team Pacquiao concede to one thing....and that thing is blood testing that comes unannounced.
We know what Team Mayweather is about, (the money), but whether Team Pacquiao is or not, clearly we need his help if there will actually be a show.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Insider Scully Weighs In On Pacquiao-Mayweather

John Scully has been involved in the sport of boxing since his teenage years and knows the business inside and out. Scully, a resident of Windsor, Connectitcut, has boxed for a world title, trained world champions, analyzed matches for ESPN Classic TV network, made friendships with the likes of Roy Jones and James Toney, and was inducted into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame last year.

Regarding the Manny Pacquaio-Floyd Mayweather issue, Scully has been observing developments intently, like the rest of us. And he has a unique take on what is transpiring. “I think to some degree it is intentionally being hyped up to draw even bigger interest in the fight,” says Scully. “They are saturating the media with the controversy so that it can reach more mainstream fans. I think that it also shows what effect Pacquiao’s performances have had on Mayweather. Maybe it backfires on Floyd though. Meaning, maybe if Pacquiao passes all tests with flying colors, Mayweather will hesitate, at the thought of, ‘Wow, so this little dude really is doing all this damage naturally?!’”

Scully interprets Mayweather’s actions as actually being indirectly complimentary to Pacquiao. “It definitely shows a certain amount of respect from Mayweather for Pacquiao that he otherwise verbally won’t show. If I was to guess, strictly a guess, I would say Pacquiao is clean,” Scully said. “Either way though, Pacquiao may not have to do more than is required – for good reason, being that Mayweather has no right or jusridiction to call for such testing to be done.”

He offers an interesting analogy. “What if Pacquiao came out and says to the world, ‘I heard Mayweather has AIDS and I am fearful. I want him to be tested twice more by a very intense and more invasive testing than they do with the commission. I want to be extra sure he doesn’t have tainted blood that could harm me.’ Would Mayweather honestly be expected to honor such accusations by going through with a non-mandated test?”

“I’m like most boxing fans when I say I wish Mayweather would just go ahead and accept the fight. It’s going to happen sooner or later, obviously. The interest is there, the money is there, the mission is already accomplished. Let’s get it on.”

I would have to say that, realistically, giving enough blood to take one of those tests…on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of how badly it would affect you, with 100 being the worst…I dont know, honestly… but to guess, I think legitimiately the number would be VERY LOW, not even above 10…now the MENTAL aspect could be another story…its like this…and u can find 10 fighters who will go one way and 10 who will go another but…take Red Bull for example…I know guys who say it makes them a monster and I know other guys who say it has absoluely no effect on them whatsoever…

Do we want to see Pacquiao vs Yuri Foreman?

Do we really want to see a match between Manny Pacquiao and Yuri Foreman? How many more matches will the fans have crammed down their throats that they do not want to see? How is it that boxing always seems to figure out different ways to drive more fans away from the sport?

Between crooked judges, mismatches, hyped up paper champions, and politics, the sport doesn't need another match that will put fans to sleep. The very notion that Manny Pacquiao's next fight might be against the WBA Jr middleweight champion Yuri Foreman is just dreadful. If this fight comes to fruition, I just hope that they have the ambulance started up, and a police escort ready to bring it, and Foreman to the nearest hospital.

With the victory would come an 8th world title in as many divisions for Manny Pacquiao. All well and good for his resume, but not a fight that people would be excited to pay $ 50.00 dollars to see. Who besides hardcore boxing fans even know who Yuri Foreman is? Foreman has a great story to tell, but nobody really knows who the man is.

Malignaggi vs Pacquiao wouldn't be great, but it would be better than Foreman vs Pacquiao. At least the pre fight show would be somewhat entertaining. I just can't see a Pacquiao vs Foreman HBO 24/7 that would excite any fan. Malignaggi talks a lot of smack, and he has a much bigger name than Yuri Foreman has, so that fight would sell better.

Nothing against Yuri Foreman, and a fight against Pacquiao would surely be his biggest payday but with that said, do we really want to see it? It's really a shame that Edwin Valero has a February 26th date already in place. A Pacquiao vs Valero fight would certainly make sense. Valero the undefeated knockout artist against Pacquiao the legend killer. Anything but Yuri Foreman vs Manny Pacquiao.

Judge to Mediate Mayweather-Pacquiao Impasse

Representatives of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will meet on Tuesday in retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein's Santa Monica office of Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) in an attempt to revive talks for the fighters' potential March 13 megabout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank Promotions, said he will be present on behalf of Pacquiao, as will his stepson, Top Rank president Todd duBoef. Also, there will be a representative of the Los Angeles-based law firm O'Melveny and Myers, whose attorney Daniel Petrocelli has been retained to take the case.

Perhaps best known for gaining a conviction in a wrongful death civil suit against O.J. Simpson in 1997, Petrocelli last Wednesday filed a lawsuit on behalf of Pacquiao seeking compensatory and punitive damages for defamation of character against Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, as well as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Floyd Mayweather Sr., and the fighter's uncle, Roger Mayweather.

Contacted through his administrative assistant, Schaefer, via e-mail, declined to comment.

But Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, told FanHouse recently "we're still trying to make a deal. We feel that this is the biggest fight in the history of boxing. We want to give this fight to the fans."

The suit seeks damages in excess of $75,000 for Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 knockouts), who contends that the camp of Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) has damaged his reputation by demanding that both fighters be randomly drug-tested using urinalysis as well as blood work -- the latter being a procedure that never has been used in boxing.

Mayweather's camp initially wanted the Olympic-style, random blood-testing to be done by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. It has since backed off of that stance.

Neither Pacquiao nor Mayweather has ever tested positive for any banned substances.

Pending Tuesday's mediation at JAMS, Petrocelli can no longer comment directly on the case. Petrocelli did, however, speak to FanHouse last Wednesday -- within an hour of filing the suit.

"We filed a defamation of character lawsuit in the federal court in Las Vegas, Nev., against the Mayweathers, Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer, based on their false and defamatory statements about Manny Pacquiao," said Petrocelli, "specifically their publicly stating that Pacquiao was taking steroids or other illegal drugs to enhance his performance -- knowing that there is absolutely no basis for any such assertions ... These guys have no right saying what they're saying. It's knowingly false, highly injurious."

The Los Angeles Times noted that Weinstein successfully stepped in when Top Rank and Golden Boy declined to promote fights together in the past, including his intervention that led to a truce that was a catalyst for the Pacquiao-Marco Antonio Barrera bout in 2007.

Arum said that the only way for the negotiations to continue is for Mayweather's side to drop its demand for random blood-testing and to apologize, publicly, to Pacquiao.

"What they have to do -- and what I know the option is going to be -- is that they have to apologize. All of them. They have to make a meaningful apology," said Arum.

"If they want random blood-testing, they would have to go before the Nevada Commission and petition the commission for that," said Arum. "They have to agree that the Nevada Commission is regulating this fight -- period. No outside agency, no nothing. The have to go with the Nevada Commission -- period."

A native and resident of General Santos City, Philippines, the 31-year-old Pacquiao's career began as a 106-pounder. The Filipino superstar's Nov. 14, 12th-round technical knockout of Miguel Cotto earned the WBO's welterweight title -- his unprecedented seventh in as many different weight classes.

Since losing a unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March 2005, Pacquiao's ring performances have been extraordinary, if not exceptional.

Pacquiao is riding an 11-0 winning streak that includes eight knockouts -- a run that includes KOs in the 10th and third rounds, respectively, in subsequent bouts with Morales that avenged the earlier loss.

Pacquiao's past six victories include super featherweight (130 pounds) decisions over Mexican greats Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez -- this after having battled Marquez to a draw nearly four years earlier.

Pacquiao has knocked out his past four opponents, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Cotto, respectively, while rising from lightweight (135 pounds) to junior welterweight (140), and on to the welterweight classes.

Some members of the boxing community have speculated publicly about Pacquiao's ability to carry his uncanny power with him as he has risen in weight.

Arum believes the criticism to be unfair, asking, "When has this ever come up in the past like this?"

Following his Sept. 2003, junior middleweight victory over Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley admitted to having used the doping agent EPO in connection with the BALCO steroids scandal.

"Shane Mosley was an admitted drug-user. And I've had Shane Mosley fight two of the guys that I've promoted in the last few years -- one of them was Miguel Cotto and the other was Antonio Margarito. Did I ever, ever, ever even indicate in any way that Shane Mosley should be subject to special testing? Ever? No," said Arum.

"The feeling in the Philippines, really, is that Manny's an Asian guy and this is really xenophobic. And because of his great success, this is what they're focusing on," said Arum. "So this is absolutely preposterous and hopefully the mediator will convince them of that."

If the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout does not take place, Arum has said that he is prepared to match Pacquiao against newly-crowned WBA junior middleweight (154 pounds) Yuri Foreman (28-0, eight KOs) of New York, possibly on March 20 at The Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mayweather camp puts damper on Pacquiao optimism

Team Floyd Mayweather is not humming the same happy, optimistic tune that Manny Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum is.

Arum told me that he will show up in California next week for a sitdown session with the Mayweather interests and noted meditator and retired Federal Judge Daniel Weinstein.

I should make it clear that the only on the official agenda topic at that meeting will be the troubled contractual relationship arising out of a mediated settled in which Arum’s Top Rank and Golden Boy share a promotional interest in the Pinoy Idol. Golden Boy, of course, is Mayweather's appointed agent in terms of making a mega bout against Pacman.
“Things could be bubbling,” Arum told me before departed from his Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, vacation hotel Saturday to return to his home in Las Vegas.
I got the phrase “global settlement,”meaning a meeting of the minds on all issues between the opposing parties which could produce the Mayweather-Pacquiao Lollapalooza in either March or May.
“I won’t say that,” Arum said, shutting off his giddy optimist button and switching to his practiced pragmatist tone.
My Mayweather camp source said Arum is off base, way off base.

“The only issue before Judge Weinstein is the Top Rank-Golden Boy relationship as to Manny,” my informed source said.
“There will be no Mayweather-Pacquiao fight unless they agree to random blood and urine testing with a mutually agreeable prefight cutoff date. End of story.”
So we might we all might want to temper out Big Fight optimism until the key parties sit across from each other at the big conference table.
I still see the glass as half full but I am seeking treatment for my incurable optimism.
If you see with a ponderous pack of pessimists, you will know why.

Friday, January 1, 2010

PACQUIAO-MAYWEATHER: IT'S TIME TO MOVE ON

Now that the Pacquiao-Mayweather match-up seems to have gone up in a ball of fire (at least for the time being), Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will have to find new opponents for their next fight. From the way things are looking, Team Pacquiao will likely pursue a fight with either junior welterweight contender Paullie Malignaggi, or newly crowned WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman. Since Malignaggi recently defeated former lightweight king Juan Diaz, a Pacquiao-Malignaggi fight would be a fairly decent match-up. But in my opinion, the idea of a Pacquiao-Foreman fight has very little appeal.

Based on his appearances on HBO, Paullie Malignaggi has earned a reputation as a good, but not great fighter. He can beat someone like Lovemore N’Dou, but he was defeated pretty convincingly by Miguel Cotto. And against Ricky Hatton, Malignaggi was completely outgunned and stopped inside the distance (his corner through in the towel and the timing of the stoppage was a bit controversial). But since that time, Malignaggi has gained some momentum with his two fights with Juan Diaz. The first fight was a decision loss that most people felt he won and the second fight was a unanimous decision victory. So considering he just beat a former champion in Diaz, it seems that Malignaggi may be maturing as a professional. And while just about everyone would consider Pacquiao to be a huge favorite if they were to meet, Malignaggi is a legitimate top ten contender and it’s not an unreasonable match-up.

Manny Pacquiao-Yuri Foreman is on the table basically because Foreman is a world champion. And if Pacquiao took this fight and came out victorious (which he probably would), this would be his eighth world title in an eighth weight class. The possibility of Pacquiao becoming an eight-time champion would undoubtedly be the selling point of the fight. But in my opinion, the idea of Pacquiao winning a world title in an eighth weight class doesn’t make this a worthwhile match-up.

Without question, Team Pacquiao views Yuri Foreman as the perfect opponent. He’s undefeated and he just won a somewhat big fight against Daniel Santos on the undercard of Pacquiao-Cotto, so he’s a recognizable name to Pacquiao’s fans. But since Pacquiao’s last fight was fought at a catchweight of 145, it seems a bit odd that Team Pacquiao is all of a sudden ready to make the jump to 154 pounds.

Yuri Foreman is a good fighter, but he’s not a dangerous puncher by any means and he’s nowhere near the skill level of Pacquiao. I seriously doubt that Team Pacquiao would put their fighter in with Kermit Cintron, Alfredo Angulo, or any junior middleweight who possesses one-punch knockout power. People often criticize Floyd Maywether, Jr. for cherry picking his opponents. But if Team Pacquiao ends up taking this fight with Yuri Foreman, it would be one of the worst cases of cherry picking I’ve seen in recent years.

I have all the respect in the world for Manny Pacquiao and he certainly deserves to be referred to as the pound-for-pound king. But since he is no longer fighting Floyd Mayweather, Jr. as it was reported by Boxingtalk publisher Greg Leon, I would prefer to see him face Paullie Malignaggi, Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander, or any of the other top junior welterweights. And if Team Pacquiao wants their fighter to take a tune-up, he’s certainly entitled given his recent track record against top opposition. But I am not in favor of the networks pushing Pacquiao-Foreman as a historically significant event just because Pacquiao stands a good chance of winning a world title in yet another weight class. In my opinion, this fight would have little substance.

As for Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the only fight that makes sense for him at the moment is the winner of Shane Mosley-Andre Berto. Rumors have circulated in recent times that Mayweather has contemplated taking a fight with Matthew Hatton, the younger brother of Ricky Hatton. Matthew Hatton has a record of 37-4-2 and the toughest opponent he’s faced thus far is Lovemore N’Dou, a fight that resulted in a draw. A fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Matthew Hatton isn’t even competitive enough to call cherry picking. This match-up makes Kelly Pavlik-Gary Lockett look like a mega fight. I have never been among those who accuse Mayweather of only facing soft opposition, but if he were to take the fight with Matthew Hatton, I would have no choice but to join the club.

It’s a shame that it looks as if Pacquiao-Mayweather won’t be happening in the near future. The buildup would have been very exciting, but all of the talk surrounding this proposed mega fight has grown stale. Pacquiao-Mayweather was and could still be the biggest fight around, but it’s neither the beginning nor the end of the boxing world. And if the two parties can’t reach a mutual agreement because of this ridiculous steroid issue, boxing fans still have other exciting match-ups to look forward to in 2010.