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It would easily be considered the fight of the decade.
In one corner, Manny Pacquiao, widely considered by boxing websites to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
In the other corner, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is undefeated in his 15-year career.
"If that fight happens, I will fight like there's no tomorrow," Pacquiao said, while at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday to promote his Nov. 12 bout against Juan Manuel Marquez.
When reporters asked him if he thinks Mayweather is ducking the fight, Pacquiao said, "I don't have an idea why the fight has not happened, but we will pray."
Yes, we will.
While surrounded by scores of reporters shouting "Manny" as soon as he finished a sentence, Pacquiao alluded to his desire to retire soon. That means the window for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight could be slowly narrowing.
"I'm starting thinking to quitting, getting away from boxing," he said. "The problem is, who else can be Manny Pacquiao."
When Oscar De La Hoya retired, Pacquiao became the main man in the boxing scene. When asked who would replace him, Pacquiao mentioned Victor Ortiz.
"He have a big potential," Pacquiao said. "He strong enough and he have a style of boxing. What he needs is focus on speed, develop his speed."
On the other hand, when asked about Brandon Rios, Pacquiao said, "Who's that?"
Pacquiao has become much more than a world-class boxer in recent years.
He released a hit single "Sometimes When We Touch," which has hundreds of thousands views on YouTube, and he is a congressman in the Philippines.
Yet Pacquiao didn't hesitate when he was asked what is his ultimate passion.
"Boxing," he said.
HBO's landmark 24/7 series turns its eye to the upcoming Victor Ortiz-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight with a series of episodes devoted to the bout. You can watch a recap of episode 1 above. Episodes 2 and 3 debut Sept., 3 and 10, respectively, and the finale debuts Fri., Sept. 16 at 9pm ET/PT on HBO. It all leads up to their live pay-per-view fight on Sat., Sept. 17.
The return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the boxing ring will be to his old stomping ground.
An MGM Resorts spokesman announced Friday that Mayweather's Sept. 17 welterweight title shot at champion Victor Ortiz of Ventura is officially set for the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, where Mayweather has fought his last four fights dating to 2006.
Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) hasn't fought since defeating Shane Mosley by unanimous decision in May 2010.
The bout will be televised on HBO pay per view.
Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) fought on undercards at MGM Grand twice in 2008, before the Manny Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya and Juan Manuel Marquez-Joel Casamayor main events that fall.
Mayweather and Ortiz will appear in Los Angeles on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. news conference open to the public at L.A. Live.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Floyd Mayweather Jr. lands a shot against Shane Mosley during their bout in May of 2010. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press
An attorney for Mayweather informed Pacquiao's attorney that Mayweather does not plan to show up as requested for a deposition at a Las Vegas law office.
Pacquiao is suing Mayweather and his father for defamation over defamatory statements claiming that the Filipino star has used performance-enhancing drugs to become the world's top pound-for-pound fighter.
"We're anxious to get to trial and, as a result of this, we'll be seeking a default judgment to win the case by default in the upcoming weeks," Pacquiao attorney Daniel Petrocelli said. "This is just ducking a deposition."
Attempts to reach Mayweather and his attorneys Thursday were unsuccessful.
Petrocelli said a Nevada judge denied Mayweather's emergency appeal to avoid the deposition, in which Petrocelli will have the chance to ask Mayweather to explain what the attorney said has been "a steady stream of false and defamatory statements" alluding to Pacquiao as a user of performance-enhancing drugs.
Announcing on Twitter Tuesday morning that, "My fans have been waiting long enough," Floyd Mayweather Jr. said he will return to the ring for the first time since May 2010 to fight Oxnard's world welterweight champion Victor Ortiz Sept. 17, most likely at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather, 34, has been in virtual hiding and in trouble since dominating Shane Mosley in his last bout, engaging in a expletive-filled video rant bashing Manny Pacquiao and getting charged in three separate criminal cases for domestic violence and attacking security guards inside his lavish Las Vegas community.
Nate Jones, a Mayweather assistant trainer, told The Times recently that he believed Mayweather would return to the ring against Ortiz as a prelude to a final performance against Pacquiao, likely sometime in 2012.
Juan Manuel Marquez has presented Manny Pacquiao's promoter a set of terms in which he would agree to have a third fight with the Filipino star boxer, Marquez's promoter said Thursday.
Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank, has gathered similar term sheets from two other possible April 16 opponents, world welterweight champions Andre Berto and Pomona's Shane Mosley, and will present them to Pacquiao when attending his 32nd birthday party in the Philippines Dec. 17.
Specifics of Marquez's terms were not released by his promoter, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, but they included financial and weight limits that Schaefer categorized as "very fair."
Marquez fought Pacquiao to a 2004 draw and then lost in a 2008 split-decision he disputed. Currently the world lightweight champion, Marquez scored a ninth-round TKO of Australia's Michael Katsidis Saturday after Katsidis had knocked him down in the third round.
One of the barriers to a Pacquiao-Marquez bout is the friction between Schaefer and Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, tension which remained alive and well Thursday as Schaefer discussed Arum's comments about making a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. super-fight in the first half of 2011.
Arum told The Times Wednesday only "an idiot" would blame Mayweather's current legal plight in Nevada -- he faces felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly striking the mother of his children and threatening his kids -- for delaying negotiations for a Pacquiao fight.
Schaefer, who has promoted all of Mayweather's fights since 2007, said Saturday his preference is to respect the legal process in Nevada before scheduling a Mayweather fight.
Arum said no elected Nevada judge is going to interfere with a bout that could generate $500 million in the state's economy.
"What kind of stupid comment is that from a Harvard lawyer?" Schaefer asked. "Not everyone thinks money first. Money is not above everything. I don't care how much money this is. There's no price on doing things the right way, and if Floyd wants to let his legal process play out before he agrees to the fight, I support him."
Yet, Pacquiao may want to have a next opponent in place before Christmas, and Arum has already scheduled the April 16 date at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
"Floyd Mayweather is not on a Manny Pacquiao clock," Schaefer said. "Money is not above the law in Nevada or anywhere else in this country. And if believing that makes me an idiot, I'm happy to be an idiot. Money is not everything, and you cannot just always go out and sell yourself and base every decision you make on money."
Mayweather doesn't have another court date until Jan. 24, but legal sources in Nevada have said there's a legitimate possibility his trial won't even occur in 2011.
Schaefer said he hasn't been officially informed by the Mayweather camp that the unbeaten boxer will not fight until his legal situation is cleared up. The charges against Mayweather leave him exposed to a lengthy prison term if convicted, so there might be urgency to make the lucrative fight sooner rather than later.
Schaefer, however, contends preparing for such an important fight with such a serious legal threat hanging overhead is a tremendous distraction.
"If I'm told they want to deal with the legal situation, I'll support it, agree with it and he has my respect," Schaefer said.
A Las Vegas court has ordered boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. to stay away from his former girlfriend and their two sons after prosecutors say he hit her and threatened to beat his children if they called 911.
Mayweather skipped a hearing Tuesday before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan on eight misdemeanor and felony charges. Sullivan gave Mayweather a week to pay $31,000 in bail.
Authorities allege Mayweather took mobile phones belonging to Josie Harris and their sons after the Sept. 9 dispute.
Mayweather faces charges of felony coercion, grand larceny and robbery, and misdemeanor domestic battery and harassment.
He could face up to 34 years in prison if convicted on all charges. He is due back in court Jan. 24.
-- Associated Press
Photo: Floyd Mayweather Jr. exits the Clark County Detention Center in September. Credit: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s Friday arrest on a felony theft charge coming a week after he launched a racially charged, expletive-filled video attack on Manny Pacquiao are indications the unbeaten boxer has difficulty handling life away from his sport, say two of the most prominent businessmen in his career.
"He's got to get his life in order," HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg told The Times Friday after learning of Mayweather's arrest in Las Vegas on suspicion of grand larceny connected to the theft of his ex-girlfriend's cellphone, according to reports.
"This gives me pause. I've known Floyd for many years, and we've showcased him several times on [HBO's reality series] "24/7," with people engaged by his personality. Now people are repelled by his personality. I hope he can learn from these terrible mistakes. Someone has to do an intervention with him."
Mayweather, 33, has produced several compelling HBO pay-per-view events in the last four years, including the most lucrative bout of all time against Oscar De La Hoya in 2006, and the May 1 victory over Shane Mosley that generated 1.4 million buys. Sources close to Mayweather say he's earned more than $60 million in two bouts since last September.
But on the heels of Mayweather's video rant against Pacquiao, in which he accused the Filipino superstar of using performance-enhancing drugs, dismissed him as a future sushi chef and made other slurs, Greenburg said he felt compelled "to speak out. There's no place for that kind of behavior or that racist diatribe. I hope it never happens again, and that he's learned his lesson."
Mayweather did apologize, but on Thursday, his ex-girlfriend told Las Vegas police she was the victim of domestic violence committed by the boxer, and later reportedly filed a restraining order against him after being treated at a hospital for what police said were "minor injuries."
The Associated Press reported the woman's restraining order request read: “Please order Floyd Mayweather to not try and contact me. Floyd has threatened to have other people do harm to me as well and if [there] is a way I can be protected from that please help me."
The woman and Mayweather have been together for more than 10 years and have three children together.
The boxer's lawyer, Richard Wright, told AP that Mayweather is accused of taking an iPhone from the woman, Josie Harris.
“He did not commit any grand larceny,” Wright told the Associated Press. “Josie can't find her iPhone. We're attempting to find it or replace it. We'll cooperate in the investigation. We expect to get the matter resolved.”
Harris made a police complaint and sought a family court protection order Thursday alleging Mayweather pulled her hair, punched her in the head and twisted her arm while she screamed for their children, who range in age from 7 to almost 11, to call 911.
Richard Schaefer, the Golden Boy Promotions chief executive who has co-promoted Mayweather bouts since 2006, said elite athletes such as Mayweather can become a "target," urging reporters to "cut Floyd some slack," and "not engage in a witch hunt." But Schaefer added the boxer's trouble reveals "the price of fame."
"The spotlight is a glorious light at times, but it can be a hard light too," Schaefer said.
Schaefer was asked if Mayweather is showing that he can't handle life outside the routine of anticipating a fight. He currently has no bout scheduled and failed to agree to fight Pacquiao in a second round of failed talks during the summer.
"For many, their athletic environment is a kingdom, a real place to find refuge from outside influences -- their safe haven," Schaefer said. "The same is true for Floyd. He's a gym rat. Maybe he needs to get back in there and fight again so we can all enjoy his amazing talents."
-- Lance Pugmire
Mayweather, 33, was booked Friday on a grand larceny charge and was held on $3,000 bail, Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell told the Associated Press.
Richard Wright, Mayweather's attorney, said the boxer was accused of taking an iPhone from Josie Harris, the mother of three of his children. "He did not commit any grand larceny," Wright told the AP.
On Thursday, Harris made a police complaint and sought a Family Court protection order and alleged that Mayweather punched her in the head and twisted her arm.
You can read the news release from the Las Vegas Police Dept. here.
Photo: Floyd Mayweather's booking photo. Credit: Las Vegas Police Department.
The woman, Josie Harris, who Las Vegas Metropolitan Police say has children with Mayweather, summoned multiple police cars at 5:03 a.m. to a southwest Las Vegas home and reported the boxer attacked her. Domestic violence investigators were at the scene, police spokesman Bill Cassell told The Times. The spokesman said Harris was treated at a hospital for "minor injuries" and released.
"At this point, Mr. Mayweather is a suspect in a domestic battery violence case, and we would very much like to speak with him," Cassell said.
Mayweather's spokeswoman had no information about the alleged incident, and attempts to reach his adviser were not immediately successful.
Cassell said details such as what prompted the alleged incident and Harris' specific injuries were "part of the investigation." Asked if Mayweather would be arrested, Cassell said only that, for now, the boxer is a "person of interest."
Mayweather, who last fought May 1 and won a lopsided decision over Shane Mosley in Las Vegas, apologized this week after unleashing a racially charged, expletive-filled video attack on his possible future opponent, Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather's uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, faces a coming criminal trial for allegedly beating a female boxer.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Floyd Mayweather Jr. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images