Sunday, January 3, 2010

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.

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