Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's final - megafight a no go

MANILA, Philippines - The superfight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is dead. It’s not going to happen on March 13. And it may never happen at all. Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, yesterday said he was informed by the mediator, retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein of Santa Monica, Wednesday in the United States that the fight is off. It’s the second time in just a couple of weeks that Arum had announced that the fight, which could have generated more than $100 million in revenues, is off. This time, however, he sounded that it’s off for good.
“The fight’s off, Mayweather never wanted it,” Arum told the Los Angeles Times. He said a few days ago that Mayweather’s demand for random blood-testing in the months, weeks and days to the fight is his way out of it. “He wants a way out of the fight and he found his way out of the fight,” said Arum, who won’t waste any time sealing a fight between Pacquiao and junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman on March 13 or March 20. Reports said Mayweather may take on Paulie Malignaggi instead. Pacquiao, who stood to earn as much as $40 million against Mayweather, said he tried everything to get it done, and give the fight fans the fight that could have or should have gone down in boxing as the greatest. “I want to apologize to my fans all over the world that these unfortunate and unfounded statements have been made against me for taking some type of performance enhancement drugs,” said Pacquiao through his adviser, Mike Koncz. “I was prepared to do whatever the Nevada Commission was going to ask of me in regard to these unfounded allegations of drug use, yet Mayweather’s people continued to push it, so I had to take a stand based on principle not to be bullied.” Pacquiao’s pointman in LA, Winchell Campos, said the Filipino side tried everything “to get the fight done” but Mayweather’s actions the past couple of weeks showed that “he didn’t want to fight.” When the talks initially bogged down two days before Christmas, Pacquiao said he felt Mayweather was afraid of him. “Takot sa akin. Naduduwag (He’s scared of me),” said the reigning pound-for-pound champion, who still stands to earn at least $12 million if he takes on Foreman two months before he runs for a congressional seat (in his hometown in Sarangani) in the May 10 polls. Now it’s up to the Nevada court to decide on the defamation suit which Pacquiao filed against the Mayweathers and his negotiating team that included Oscar dela Hoya and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy. The case is on. Mayweather’s demand for an Olympic-style drug-testing by the US Anti-Doping Agency, which could require as many as five blood tests and 12 urine tests, any day and anytime of the day, was too much for Pacquiao. The Filipino champion had softened on his stand that blood tests only take place this week, 30 days before the fight and immediately after the fight. He said he’s fine with the second test being done 24 days before the fight. But reports said Mayweather still refused, and not even attempts by his manager, Al Haymon, and Schaefer, could make the undefeated American change his mind even if he knew it would mean the end of the talks. “Manny wanted the fight. He was agreeable to terms,” Arum added. “I always knew Mayweather would kill it because he didn’t want it. He didn’t want to lose.” “I am disappointed in the sense this fight will not happen. I’m not surprised,” Arum told the LA Times. During the Weinstein-led negotiations that took all of nine hours Tuesday, said Mayweather was assured by experts “how protected he was” if Pacquiao is blood-tested 24 hours before the fight, or that it would have been enough to prove if the hard-hitting Filipino is into some performance-enhancers. No word has come out of the Mayweather camp. Koncz, had this to say: “The proposal that the mediator put forth and recommended the Mayweather camp was very simple: They would be allowed to do the blood-testing within up to 24 days of the fight, and the tests would be supervised, pursuant to the guidelines of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s jurisdiction, and that they [Mayweather’s camp] would give a statement of full apology in regard to comments made about Manny and their false allegations that he had been taking performance enhancing drugs. “I was informed by Arum about 30 minutes ago that that was flatly refused by the Mayweather people, and that’s a rejection of the recommendation of the arbitrator, so we’re not going to stay around and wait, because we have nothing to negotiate. It’s not all about money to Manny. No. 1, they have made some statements that are very detrimental and that have harmed Manny. Even with a full retraction, I don’t think that the damage can be resolved,” Koncz told “I can say that Manny is going to move on to the next fight in the ring, and we’re going to move on to our fight in court. We are going to press forward vigorously against each of the defendants for their defamatory statements against Mr. Pacquiao,” said LA-based lawyer, Dan Petrocelli, who filed the case on behalf of Pacquiao. “We are going to take all of their depositions under oath, and we will require them to admit that they have no evidence whatsoever to support any of their statements, and if they do have any evidence, they’re going to be forced to disclose it,” said Petrocelli. “Of course, we know that they don’t have any evidence, so we’re expecting that they will have to admit that they lack any evidence on which to base their statements.”


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