What was poised to be the most lucrative boxing match in years, possibly ever, is now off the table – at least for now.
A scheduled WBO welterweight title bout March 13 fight between world Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather has been called off by Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum after failing to reach a deal, reports Reuters. Arum will now choose another opponent for the Filipino fighter.
As previously reported, talks between Arum’s Top Rank and Mayweather’s Golden Boy promoters have stalled over the issue of random blood testing, demanded by Mayweather’s team and rejected by Pacquiao.
Arum set a Monday deadline for Golden Boy to accept a “final offer” in which both sides let the Nevada State Athletic Commission make the final decision on testing. Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said that there was no question of accepting that proposal.
“Random is random. We are not backing off and the ball is in their court,” he told Reuters.
Arum said if that was the stance of the Mayweather team then he would announce another opponent for March. “If that is the case then tomorrow morning we will announce who Manny will fight on March 13 and it won’t be Floyd Mayweather,” Arum told Reuters.
Pacman’s likely contender is former junior welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, but even Arum admits it would be a letdown. “It’s terrible. Mayweather and his people have never cared about the good of boxing and it is Manny that has brought boxing back. Is this a loss for boxing? Is this a missed opportunity? Of course it is.”
Following the promoter’s comments, the Mayweather camp issued a statement placing the blame for the lack of a deal on Arum and Pacquiao.
“Let the record be clear: Manny Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum are threatening to walk away from the largest fight in history,” the statement said. But the Mayweather camp also left the door open for further talks.
“Team Mayweather and Golden Boy Promotions is still open to the earlier discussions of having both parties work out a mutually agreeable understanding of the testing, which would be conducted by a mutually agreed upon agency,” the statement added.