LAS VEGAS - LAS VEGAS (AP) — Promoter Bob Arum declared the megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. dead Thursday, though efforts continued to find a compromise to a dispute over blood testing.
"It's over," Arum said. "O-V-E-R."
Arum had set a Thursday deadline for an agreement on testing, the only issue not resolved for the planned March 13 fight. But with the Mayweather camp still insisting on using the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to conduct the tests, Arum said there wasn't much left to discuss.
"They're viewed by the Pacquiao side as being partisan," Arum said, referring to USADA. "He doesn't want to use them. I don't want to use them. They're so inflexible they can't be used."
Despite Arum's statements, there were some talks through intermediaries to try and salvage the bout. Neither side, though, appeared to be backing off its position on the biggest dispute: Who will do the testing?
Arum said he planned to move forward by having Pacquiao fight March 13 against Paul Malignaggi, a flashy but light-hitting 140-pounder. He said there was still a chance Pacquiao and Mayweather could meet later in the year.
"As far as I'm concerned the fight is over," Arum said. "Can it be revisited in the fall? We'll see."
Mayweather's representatives could not be immediately reached for comment, but Arum said an effort Thursday by HBO Sports chief Ross Greenburg to reach a compromise had failed. There were still other talks going on between the two sides, but the odds of the fight happening were dimming with each day.
At the core of the dispute is the insistence of the Mayweather camp of using Olympic-style drug testing for the fight, even though both fighters have never been linked to any performance-enhancing substances. Under Nevada regulations, boxers are generally only tested just before the fight and in the dressing room afterward, and only urine is given.
Mayweather's camp wants blood tests that can find things urine tests can't, such as use of human growth hormone, and they want them done by USADA from the time the fight is signed until the fight is held. Pacquiao's side has agreed to both urine and blood testing, but doesn't want testing immediately before the fight because Pacquiao believes giving blood so soon before a fight will weaken him.
A possible resolution that had been discussed would allow USADA to do limited testing. That would likely not be accepted by USADA because it wants to set an example that all athletes should be subject to random and unannounced testing at any time.
The fight was expected to be the richest ever, with both fighters earning $30 million to $40 million, depending on television sales.