The planned March 13 super fight between boxing hero and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and former No.1 Floyd Mayweather Jr is off after Mayweather chickened out despite Pacquiao accepting a compromise proposal to bring the blood test closer to the fight date from his original 30 day cutoff period to 24.
The Mayweather camp had demanded that Pacquiao undergo random blood tests to be conducted by the US Anti Doping Agency following unsubstantiated allegations that he was on performance enhancing drugs. The Pacquiao camp originally indicated it was ready to submit to blood tests one day before the kickoff press conference, 30 days before the fight and immediately after the fight in his dressing room stating that if Pacquiao was on any illegal substance it would surely show up in the post-fight test.
After the Mayweather handlers claimed Pacquiao had blood extracted from him 14 days before the Ricky Hatton fight in May 2009 as shown on the HBO 24/7 pre-fight series to put holes in his position of a 30-day deadline, Rick Reeno of boxingscene.com produced documents to show the blood test shown on HBO was actually done 24 days before the fight which Pacquiao agreed to as a compromise to help get the fight done.
Despite the mediation efforts of retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein who spent nine hours with both parties on Tuesday, nothing was apparently achieved except that both sides were placed under a gag order which prevented them from talking.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has steadfastly refused to divulge details of what transpired behind the closed doors of Judge Weinstein’s Santa Monica office except to confirm on Thursday (Manila Time) that the fight was off even as he blamed Mayweather for the collapse of a fight which millions of boxing fans around the world wanted.
Arum maintained that Mayweather’s refusal “established what I have always believed and that is that Mayweather never wanted to fight Manny because he was scared to death” which is what trainer Freddie Roach and conditioning expert Alex Ariza had said from the very beginning when they claimed Pacquiao would give Mayweather “a bad beating.”
Arum revealed that Pacquiao is likely to fight for his eighth world title in an eighth weight division against 154 pound champion Yuri Foreman. The renowned promoter who handles Foreman said “Yuri is ready and I’ll check to get confirmation with Manny,” indicating that should it push through the fight would be held on March 13 or 20 also in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz said that the immensely popular Filipino southpaw who has won every conceivable award in boxing and was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine with a five-page spread said he was “disappointed at not being able to give the fans what they wanted and claimed Mayweather used this (blood testing) as an excuse to get out of the fight and we’ll just have to move on.”
Koncz himself posed the question “how does Mayweather go around claiming he is the best pound-for-pound fighter and the best fighter if he is not willing to engage the people’s choice as the best fighter?” noting that Pacquiao has also been endorsed by Ring Magazine and numerous other boxing publications and internet sites as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today. Koncz added “this is all a sham.”
Pacquiao’s concern over blood being extracted too close to the fight stems from his experience before the first fight with Erik “El Terrible” Morales in March 19, 2005 when he was forced to have a blood test a couple of days before the fight after his medical records were allegedly lost in transmission.
However, a video tape from our personal archives of a heated discussion on the issue showed that the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission at that time, Marc Ratner, pointed out that the blood test submitted had been taken in January which was too long before the fight and the NSAC commission set a cut-off of 30 days and emphasized that if Pacquiao refused to take the blood test the fight would have to be called off. Pacquiao reluctantly took the test and later said he had a headache and felt dizzy and attributed that to the extraction of blood too close to the fight which he lost on points.
It appears that Pacquiao’s original 30-day cut-off jibed with the requirements of the NSAC which has jurisdiction over the fights in Las Vegas and whose authority Pacquiao and his handlers want respected, which Mayweather, by demanding that the USADA undertake the tests refuses to do. Koncz pointed out that even when the chairman of the NSAC asked Pacquiao to take a urine test in the Philippines over which the Commission has no jurisdiction he took the test which was done by a doctor of the Philippine Olympic Committee, accredited by the World Anti Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.
www.insidesports.ph, Standard Today, Viva Sports and boxingscene.com understand that the Mayweather handlers led by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Mayweather’s top adviser Al Hayman had tried to convince the fighter to agree to the 24-day blood test proposal which Pacquiao had agreed to and which medical experts had said was more than sufficient to detect any traces of performance enhancing drugs, but they were turned down by Mayweather resulting in the fight being called off.