NEW YORK — Manny Pacquiao and Floyd
Mayweather Jr. have signed off on the major issues in the negotiation
for a megafight on March 13, and contracts could be signed in the next
few days, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum met with Pacquiao
in his native Philippines on Friday and the charismatic champion agreed
to terms with only minor changes, said the person, who requested
anonymity because the sides agreed not to speak publicly during
Arum planned to return to the United States on
Sunday and present the amended terms to Golden Boy chief executive
Richard Schaefer, the person said. Schaefer is negotiating on behalf of
Mayweather and his promotional company.
An announcement could come Tuesday, which would coincide with Arum's 78th birthday.
No site has been determined, but Top Rank
plans to send a survey team to Dallas next week to examine the new,
$1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium, the person said. Team owner Jerry Jones
said Wednesday that the Cowboys "are still desirous of looking at what
we can do."
The other possibilities are the New Orleans
Superdome and venues in Las Vegas, including the MGM Grand and a
temporary outdoor stadium on the Strip.
The fight would be at 147 pounds for
Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title, which he won in November with an
impressive 12th-round stoppage of Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas.
Michael Koncz, who is advising Pacquiao, said
Friday that the contracts need "fine tuning" but declined to elaborate.
Koncz added that Pacquiao is "very comfortable" with March 13, even
though it is only four months after his last fight.
"Manny has some additional requirements,
requests, which Arum didn't think was a problem," Koncz said. "The
requests of Manny were so realistic that Arum doesn't feel it's a
problem and it's pretty much a done deal."
The bout could be the richest ever, assuming
projections are accurate. Pacquiao's fight against Cotto sold 1.25
million pay-per-views, while Mayweather's comeback victory over Juan
Manuel Marquez in September did 1.05 million.
The richest fight ever was in May 2007, when
Mayweather's split-decision win over Oscar De La Hoya generated 2.4
million buys for $120 million in pay-per-view revenue.
The potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight
certainly would generate widespread international appeal, pitting the
flamboyant Mayweather against the man who most believe replaced him on
the mythical mantle as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Pacquiao has won an unprecedented seven
titles in seven weight divisions, although his popularity has grown far
beyond the sport. He was featured on the cover of the Asian version of
Time magazine, is wrapping up filming of an action movie called Wapakman, and submitted his candidacy for the 2010 elections on
"The difference between Floyd and others I
have fought is that Floyd makes a lot of trash talk that should not be
imitated by young people," Pacquiao told GMA television, when asked
about the potential matchup.
Pacquiao's political ambitions are the reason
the fight was moved up to mid-March. He plans to start campaigning in
April in his second attempt at a congressional seat.
"March 13 is OK," Pacquiao told GMA.
"Nobody knows his body better than Manny,"
Koncz said. "If Manny feels that that's plenty of time to rest and
recover, then you know, he has to do what he feels is right."
Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach would
again hold the start of camp in the Philippines, even though Pacquiao
is such a national hero that hundreds of people trail him on morning
runs and crowd around gym windows to watch him spar. Roach expressed
concern about the distraction before Pacquiao demolished Cotto in the
most impressive display of his career.
The Filipino champion has said he would spend
about 12 weeks in camp, rather than the eight weeks he normally takes
to prepare for a fight. That would mean Pacquiao would begin working
out in about three weeks.