January 08, 2010

WASHINGTON -- As representatives from Golden Boy Promotions work feverishly to keep a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao megafight alive, Pacquiao has reached an agreement in principle to defend his WBO welterweight title against former title holder Joshua Clottey on March 13, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told SI.com.

The fight between Pacquiao and Clottey will likely take place at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

Arum and Top Rank have been embroiled in contentious negotiations with Mayweather and representatives from Golden Boy Promotions, which is representing Mayweather. At issue is drug testing: Mayweather is insisting on random blood testing before the fight while Pacquiao will submit to unlimited urine testing -- all that is required by the Nevada commission -- but only agree to blood testing 30 days before the fight.

Earlier this week, the two sides agreed to mediation by retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein. During the mediation, Pacquiao agreed to blood testing up to 24 days before the fight. Mayweather refused and, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, countered with a 14-day testing window.

Schaefer told SI.com on Friday that he believed Pacquiao was never told of the 14 day offer. He referred to an Internet report where Pacquiao and his representatives denied that Mayweather had offered to reduce the testing window to 14 days before the fight. Schaefer said he had text messages between Golden Boy's Chief Marketing Officer Bruce Binkow and Top Rank President Todd DuBoef during this week's mediation discussing the 14-day window.

Arum, however, says Pacquiao has known about the 14 days since Jan. 1 and said he had an email exchange between DuBoef and Pacquiao's advisor, Michael Koncz, that prove that Pacquiao had received the offer and rejected it.

"That offer was rejected a long time ago," said Arum. "It was off the table. They are just trying to get under Manny's skin. It serves no purpose than to aggravate Manny Pacquiao."

Arum scoffed at the notion that the fight could be saved, indicating that neither he nor anyone in his company had been in contact with anyone from Mayweather's camp. " If they are negotiating, they are negotiating with themselves," said Arum. "We aren't talking to them."

Schaefer said Arum approached him on Thursday to discuss the possibility of making a third fight between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. But the discussions went nowhere because besides insisting on a 50-50 split, Marquez also asked for the same level of drug testing as Mayweather. Schaefer also said that while he had not spoken to Shane Mosley about a future fight with Pacquiao, it was likely that Mosley would also require blood testing before any fight with Pacquiao.

Arum said he would no longer consider any form of testing beyond what the state commission requires for any future fight with Pacquiao -- including Mayweather.

"This is beyond stupid," said Arum. "That was my biggest mistake, allowing any of this to happen. I should have said no. We're not revisiting [blood testing]. We're not negotiating with these punks anymore. If Mayweather wants to fight Pacquiao down the road, he will have to go by the testing the state commission asks for. If not, life goes on."

You May Like