When Bob Arum, who promotes Manny Pacquiao, was asked today if the mega showdown between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was off, his response was a resounding, "Yes."
"I think Floyd was looking for an excuse to get out of the fight," Arum told Newsday's boxing blog, The Neutral Corner.
That feeling is prevalent among those in Pacquiao's camp. Freddie Roach, Pac Man's trainer, said he ultimately expected Mayweather to "sneak out the back door," rather than face Pacquiao in the ring.
The Associated Press reported last night that Mayweather's manager, Leonard Ellerbe, said in a news release that there would be no fight if Pacquiao did not submit to random Olympic-style blood testing. Floyd Mayweather Sr. has maintained that Pacquiao, who has climbed seven weight classes over his career, uses performance-enhancing drugs.
When asked if the fight was salvageable, Arum said, "Yes, if what's good enough for the NBA or the NFL is good enough for Floyd Mayweather, then it's salvaged. We want a professional organization that tests professional athletes. Because we know that a professional organization is not going to draw blood from Brandon Jacobs five minutes before he carries the football. It's as simple as that. Give me a phone call."
Arum said that his Top Rank company and the Mayweather camp negotiated all the points of the drug testing and "We agreed to urine analysis any time, any day, any hour up until he's walking to the ring," added Arum.
Then the Mayweather camp insisted upon random tests -- with no time restraints -- by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
On Wednesday afternoon, Top Rank sent out a release that outlined Pacquiao's willingness to take a blood test on this schedule: in January during the week the fight is formally announced, one thirty days from the fight, no later than February 13, and a final one immediately following the fight, in Manny’s locker room.
"Who made Floyd Mayweather the boxing commissioner?" said Arum. "We have a commission here that has been doing this for 40 years."
The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, if it happens, is expected to be the largest grossing fight in history. It was to be announced on Jan. 6, 2010, and the fight was to take place March 13, probably in Las Vegas.
"We don't work for Floyd Mayweather, we're not kissing his --," Roach said. "I refuse to give blood to him. I'll give it to the commission, I'll give it to the sanctioning bodies. Let the commission, let the sanctioning bodies do their jobs. He's so deathly afraid of losing, that this doesn't surprise me. He really doesn't want to fight Manny."
Golden Boy Promotions, which is negotiating the fight on behalf of Mayweather with Top Rank, issued this statement from CEO Richard Schaefer in a press release:
"[Top Rank] told me that Pacquiao has difficulty with taking blood and doesn't want to do it so close to the fight," Schaefer said. ""It is unfortunate to hear this from Manny Pacquiao's representatives, particularly since, as of [yesterday], both parties had worked out all other issues related to this fight,"
Jeff Mayweather, Floyd's uncle and a former pro fighter, told The Neutral Corner today: "Basically, the fight is pretty much off. The only one stopping this fight is Manny Pacquiao. He's in a position to step up, take the test, and say I have nothing to hide."
Roach insists his fighter has nothing to hide and that he does not take performance-enhancing drugs. Neither Pacquiao nor Mayweather Jr. has ever failed a mandatory postfight urine test for performance-enhancing drugs.
"We've never flunked a drug test and we never will," Roach said. "I told Manny that people think he's on HGH, he says to me, 'What's that?' I have a hard time convincing him to take vitamins and protein shakes.
"I really, really wanted this fight. Manny Pacquiao really, really wanted this fight. But I have to say that I am not surprised by this. He was looking for a back door. We don't need Mayweather. He needs us. We have other fights out there. We'll go fight [junior middleweight champ] Yuri Foreman and win a title in eight weight classes."
When asked if he expected this latest news out of the Mayweather camp, Arum said, "Absolutely. They are doing this to harass the kid." Arum added that Pacquiao still plans to fight March 13, and that Foreman is a good possibility as the opponent.
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