Pacquiao-Mayweather mediator assesses the situation
The mediator who on Tuesday will attempt to resolve the conflicts in negotiations to stage a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. mega-fight March 13 in Las Vegas released a prepared statement Monday saying he's "satisfied all parties are negotiating in good faith."
Retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein is scheduled to preside over the mediation Tuesday in Santa Monica. Weinstein previously bridged the gap in another major divide, bringing promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy together in 2007, a union that helped create several major fights.
Pacquiao, who fights for Top Rank, and Mayweather Jr., who is being handled in these negotiations by Golden Boy, are split most divisively on how to settle a drug-testing protocol. Mayweather's camp originally pushed for both fighters to be subject to random blood tests through fight week. Pacquiao responded harshly to that request, ultimately suing Mayweather and his representatives for defamation for comments that the Filipino star said implied he has used performance-enhancing drugs.
Pacquiao has accepted random urine testing through fight night, and immediately after the bout, as done by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
"I ... have been asked by representatives of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather to mediate certain disputes that have arisen in connection with the negotiation of a bout between the two fighters," Weinstein said in his prepared statement, a copy of which was read to The Times.
Both sides are operating under a gag order until the mediation is concluded, Weinstein announced.
"Neither side is insisting on pre-conditions, and both sides will present their positions in an effort to resolve the dispute," Weinstein said in his statement.
The urgency of a resolution this week is considered critical, since the promoters previously said they were planning to stage news conferences in New York and Los Angeles starting next week. Both fighters also typically train for eight weeks before their bouts.
Pacquiao-Mayweather would be a fight for a world welterweight belt, but is also an anticipated showdown between the men considered to be the world's top two boxers. Mayweather is 40-0, and Pacquiao is poised to win a second consecutive fighter of the year award, having disposed of Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.
The bout could become the richest in the history of the sport.
-- Lance Pugmire