Pacquiao promoter: 'The fight's off, Mayweather never wanted it'
The epic fight that could have taken boxing back to its massive popularity of years ago is not going to happen, Manny Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday night.
Arum has erupted with the angered announcement that "the fight's off" before in the contentious negotiation to stage a welterweight super-fight March 13 in Las Vegas between boxing's top pound-for-pound fighter, Pacquiao, and the man he replaced for that mythical honor, the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr.
This time, however, Arum said he was told the same thing by retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein, who presided over a mediation to resolve points of dispute over the bout's drug-testing protocol Tuesday in Santa Monica.
"The mediator called me [before 8 p.m.] and told me the fight was off," Arum said. "The fight's off, Mayweather never wanted it. Manny wanted the fight. He was agreeable to terms."
A source close to the negotiation but not authorized to speak publicly about the talks said Pacquiao had agreed to submit to a blood test 24 days before the fight -- a concession from his prior stance of no closer than 30 days -- and to another blood draw immediately after the bout.
One source familiar with the negotiation said that offer was then taken to Mayweather, who declined to accept those terms. Another source, however, disputed that description of events, and said the fighters still have time to strike a deal before a "business deadline." Previously, the promoters wanted Pacquiao and Mayweather to star at news conferences in New York and Los Angeles next week.
Arum has said he would work to arrange an alternate fight for Pacquiao against newly crowned super-welterweight champion Yuri Foreman in March, which would allow the Filipino star to claim a record eighth world title.
Still, the idea that the sport's richest bout ever just slipped away is a devastating blow.
"I am disappointed in the sense this fight will not happen," Arum said. "I'm not surprised. I always knew Mayweather would kill it because he didn't want it. He didn't want to lose."
Efforts to reach several members of the Mayweather camp were not immediately successful.
-- Lance Pugmire