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Pacquiao-Mayweather impasse at critical stage

Bob The dispute between the camps of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. has moved into a perilous time window, with Pacquiao's promoter saying he's ready to announce a fight with an alternate opponent Tuesday if he and the head of Golden Boy Promotions can't resolve the pre-fight drug-testing procedure.

The Pacquiao-Mayweather mega-fight is scheduled for March 13 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but the deal has not been signed by either fighter yet.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum wants Mayweather's camp to agree to allow the Nevada State Athletic Commission at its Jan. 19 hearing to determine after hearing expert testimony from both sides if blood tests are necessary after Pacquiao has given one 30 days before the fight and agrees to random urine tests between then and the first bell. Pacquiao would also allow a post-fight blood test but is "paranoid" of additional random blood tests before the bout, Arum said.

Contacted today by The Times, Mayweather promoter Richard Schaefer said "the state athletic commission is not going to approve" the additional pre-fight blood tests his camp is seeking, adding, "So why even bother?"

"This is a deal point, not a commission issue," Schaefer said. "It's a deal point, just like the deal point we agreed to to accept a significant fine if Floyd weighs in over 147 pounds. We didn't need to go to the commission for that."

Schaefer, however, is expected to have a discussion later today with Pacquiao's camp in another effort to address the disagreement that threatens to scrap a welterweight title fight that could become the most lucrative in the sport's history.

"I'm working to save this fight," Schaefer said. "We feel like we're making concessions, and they have a stubborn position, and that's unfortunate."

Arum said he believes the Mayweather camp doesn't care about ensuring a level playing field as much as it wants to accomplish "three possible things: 1) try to smear Manny; 2) prove they don't want the fight; 3) find the means to disconcert Manny's fight preparations because they know he's paranoid of needles."

"This is is commission issue. They have the opportunity to prove to the commission that their request is credible. But they know they can't do it."

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Bob Arum. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

 
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