Pacquiao expected to finalize opponent choice this weekend
Boxing officials close to the situation but unauthorized to discuss the Filipino superstar's plans publicly told The Times on Tuesday that Pacquiao has said he'll retreat to a remote location, pray and determine his 2012 schedule.
One of the officials said there's a "good chance" he'll ask for Mayweather in late May, which would be significant because neither has officially said yes to the fight and terms such as a guaranteed share of the share, the weight classification or other details.
Mayweather, scheduled to appear in Las Vegas on Wednesday to donate $100,000 to the Susan G. Komen foundation fighting breast cancer, has posted Twitter messages calling out Pacquiao and urging him to "Step up punk." That doesn't rise to the level of agreeing to the type of general terms Pacquiao is closing in on.
"He wants Pacquiao, and there's still hope it can happen," promoter Oscar De La Hoya said of Mayweather.
De La Hoya's company, Golden Boy Promotions, has helped promote all of Mayweather's fights since Mayweather edged De La Hoya by split decision in 2007 in what was then the most lucrative bout of all time.
De La Hoya poured water on the contentions of Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum that Mayweather needs someone to step in and guarantee Mayweather a certain amount of money for the fight, and that it's best to work toward a late-May, early June date so a 40,000-plus-seat outdoor stadium can be constructed on the Las Vegas Strip.
"But how greedy do we have to be? The MGM [Grand] is right there. There's enough money to go around, we don't have to be pigs here."
De La Hoya agreed ticket prices at MGM would likely be steeply escalated from their normal big-fight range, and that the pay-per-view price would similarly be bumped up.
"We can sell out the 18,000 seats in two hours, and looking for anything else is just a never-ending game," De La Hoya said.
Arum said that while he has "strict instructions not to talk about" Pacquiao dealings because he's "in the middle of making things happen," he had time to reply to De La Hoya's points.
"Oscar's so . . . stupid . . . to say Mayweather doesn't need a guarantee; you'd have to be stupid not to get a guarantee with this kind of money at play," Arum said. "We're not talking chump change.
"The one guy you can't rely on for anything is Oscar. He knows absolutely nothing. To say we shouldn't put it in a bigger arena and just jack the prices up in the smaller venue -- to only let those with incredible amounts of money into the building -- you wouldn't be allowing the extra 24,000 people who want to attend the Super Bowl of boxing. To make this fight available to the most possible people is not being greedy or a pig, it's advancing your sport, being fan-friendly."
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Manny Pacquiao is carried off after his tough fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in November. Credit: John Gurzinski / AFP Getty Images.