Monday, May 3, 2010
Updated: May 4, 8:43 AM ET
Pacquiao-Mayweather still possibility
By Dan Rafael
Now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. has dispatched Shane Mosley, talk immediately turned to the potential showdown with Manny Pacquiao, who has apparently softened his stance on the drug testing procedures that derailed their negotiations in January.
Pacquiao and Mayweather, universally regarded as the top two fighters in boxing, tried to make the mega fight in December and January.
The camps had agreed on all terms except for the way to handle drug testing for what many believe would be the biggest money fight in boxing history. The all-time pay-per-view record of 2.45 million was set in Mayweather's victory against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
When Pacquiao and Mayweather reached an impasse, Pacquiao went on to easily defeat Joshua Clottey on March 13 and Mayweather took a lopsided unanimous decision against Mosley in their welterweight super fight on Saturday night.
Mayweather, who accused Pacquiao of using performance-enhancing drugs despite having no evidence, had insisted on strict blood and urine testing, which was employed during the lead-up and immediate aftermath of his fight with Mosley.
Pacquiao, who has a defamation lawsuit pending against Mayweather and his team over the accusations, agreed to unlimited urine testing -- but with limits on how many blood tests he would take and how close to the fight he would agree to be tested.
Now, less than 48 hours after Mayweather's victory, Pacquiao seems to be in a compromising mood in order to make a fight for which official negotiations have not yet begun.
"I am willing to help the sport for the future of the sport. I do not want to see anyone cheat or cheat this sport. For that reason I am willing to consider taking blood [tests] as close as 14 days prior to the fight, as long as my opponent does the same, and it is not a lot of blood, just enough to test," Pacquiao is quoted as saying on his official website.
Mayweather has no issue undergoing the same kind of testing as his opponent.
During the previous negotiation, Pacquiao had insisted on a cut-off of blood testing 30 days before the fight and eventually moved to 24 days when it came to light that he had taken a blood test during that time frame before his second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton in May 2009.
Pacquiao had agreed all along to take a blood test immediately after the fight.
"I do not want anyone having an unfair advantage where someone may get hurt," said Pacquiao, who is in the final days of his congressional campaign in the Philippines. "I am willing to do my part to help this sport out."
Pacquiao had said previously he did not want to have blood drawn too close to the fight because he feels like it weakens him.
"Mayweather is the furthest thing on our mind," Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, said in a statement to Pacquiao's website. "Our focus has been and continues to be Manny's desire to become congressman."
Following the election, Pacquiao and his family are expected to go on vacation and the fighter will discuss his next bout upon his return.
"As Manny has stated many times, we are willing to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere in accordance with the athletic commission's rules and regulations in which ever state we fight in," Koncz said. "We will not be bullied into or entertain any additional rules or regulations to be imposed by our opponent."
Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter is headed to the Philippines to support Pacquiao in the final days of his campaign. He told ESPN.com on Monday that during the trip he will not talk to Pacquiao about Mayweather, drug testing or any boxing business.
"As far as I am concerned, I am not even going to raise anything," Arum said. "We're not even going to talk about future plans until after election and that's the truth.
"I have no thoughts about the other stuff but I have an open mind to everything. Obviously, he's my fighter and I will do what he asks me to do, but there's a time for everything. And the time is not now."
Mayweather said after the fight Saturday night that he would fight Pacquiao under the same kind of Olympic-style testing used for the fight with Mosley.
"If he wants to fight it's not that hard to find me," Mayweather said. "We tried to fight before and it didn't work, and we moved on. Mosley did what I asked him to do and if every athlete in the sport would do that, we know we would have a clean sport. Everyone should take the test. I am willing to take the tests. If Manny takes the test we can make the fight happen. If he doesn't we don't have a fight."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.