LOS ANGELES — While Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s camp
believes his prospective bout with Manny Pacquiao can be saved, Pacquiao's
promoter says he's moving on.
After six weeks of contentious negotiations failed to
produce a compromise on Mayweather's insistence on stringent drug testing for
the bout, Pacquiao has made plans to fight welterweight Joshua Clottey in
mid-March, Top Rank boss Bob Arum told The Associated Press on Friday.
"This is crazy. We've moved on," Arum said.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who works
with Mayweather, wasn't ready to give up. He's worried Top Rank hasn't told
Pacquiao that the potential richest fight in boxing history could be saved if
the Filipino star would agree to take a blood test for performance-enhancing
drugs 14 days before the proposed March 13 bout – just 10 days later than
Pacquiao already agreed.
"I am hopeful that this fight can still happen," Schaefer
told the AP. "No matter what, Floyd Mayweather will fight at the MGM Grand (in
Las Vegas) on March 13. I hope the man across that ring will be Manny Pacquiao."
Schaefer was angered when Arum came out of the camps'
mediation hearing on Tuesday blaming Mayweather for the fight's collapse, saying
Mayweather wouldn't agree to a final blood test 24 days before the bout.
Schaefer claims Top Rank turned down a compromise of 14 days on New Year's Eve,
but he wasn't sure whether Pacquiao – who's at home in the Philippines – was
involved in that decision.
Both fighters stand to make much more than $25 million
apiece from the much-anticipated bout.
"If they don't want to do the fight, they should have
said it a long time ago and not messed around," Schaefer said. "Anything Bob
states (about the mediation) is wrong, and there are absolute lies."
That's almost exactly the sentiment of Arum two days
earlier, when he said Mayweather turned down a mediation deal setting the blood
test at 24 days before the bout. Schaefer said there never was such a deal.
Arum said he relayed the 14-day proposal to Pacquiao's
camp in the Philippines and was turned down.
"We did transmit it to (Pacquiao adviser) Michael
Koncz," Arum said. "We can't say what went on the mediation. We're not permitted
to, but if it ever came out what happened in the mediation, it would make all of
this an absurdity. Manny Pacquiao was informed and rejected it as it happened,
and we communicated to (Golden Boy executive Bruce) Binkow that it was a
No matter who's right, the negotiations have turned
personal and poisonous between the two dominant American boxing promotional
Arum and Mayweather, who worked together earlier in
Mayweather's career, traded blows through the media this week, with Arum calling
Mayweather "a psychological coward" and criticizing Schaefer, who said he heard
about Arum's insults through his children.
"He has a tremendous dislike for Floyd and Oscar (De La
Hoya) and myself," Schaefer said. "It's unbelievable and frankly embarrassing
for me and my kids."
Schaefer said Mayweather's newfound insistence on
stringent drug testing was grounded in Mayweather's desire to "add an extra
level of protection for fighters" throughout the sport, though he didn't say why
Mayweather chose to make that stand before this particular fight. Pacquiao filed
a lawsuit against Mayweather's camp last month, claiming several members had
defamed him by intimating he uses performance-enhancing drugs.
Yet Mayweather has long been outspoken against doping in
sports, criticizing Sugar Shane Mosley for what Mosley claims was inadvertent
use of performance-enhancing drugs before a 2003 bout.
"Bob says this kind of testing wasn't done 40 years ago?
Well, a lot of things weren't done 40 years ago," Schaefer said. "If this fight
happens or doesn't happen, it's going to be the catalyst to bring new levels of
protection. We want to lead the charge here. It's a safety issue."
Schaefer said Mayweather will insist on similarly
stringent drug tests for whoever is chosen as his opponent on March 13. Paulie
Malignaggi had been rumored to be the top candidate to fight Mayweather if the
Pacquiao deal collapsed.