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Odds of a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao dwindle by the day, in large part thanks to promoter Bob Arum's loose lips.
On Thursday, Arum told the Associated Press that Showtime and HBO had come to a deal to finalize their side of talks to broadcast the highly anticipated super fight. Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, told veteran AP sports columnist Tim Dahlberg that after the TV issues had been resolved, there were only two outstanding issues before a deal is made.
We had four issues and we resolved two. Now we're working on resolving the other two. Unless something else comes up at the last minute, that's what my take is.
But within moments of the story's release, representatives on all sides of the negotiation vehemently denied the story.
One person who requested anonymity told Yahoo Sports, "Believe me, if this fight doesn't get done, it will be because of Bob Arum. Nobody can figure what he is doing or why he is doing it."
Mayweather denied a deal has been reached in a post on social media. He also noted that his team has worked hard to try to make the fight, countering some of Arum's assertions such as when the Top Rank CEO said that Mayweather "is running like a thief."
Mayweather posted a photo of himself in Pacquiao's hotel room in Miami where the two met after bumping into each other at American Airlines Arena, where they attended an NBA game.
I set up this meeting with Manny Pacquiao to get this fight done but they will continue to tell the public it's us and that's NOT TRUE.
No one in an official capacity was willing to speak on the record, other than to deny that a TV deal had been reached and to discount Arum's earlier public comments that an announcement for the fight was imminent.
In a Jan. 30 story in the New York Post, Arum said he expected the fight to be finalized in the next couple days.
Everybody is doing the right thing. We're looking to complete the paperwork. Everything is moving in the right direction. Hopefully, the next couple of days, it will get done.
That clearly has turned out not to be the case, as have most of Arum's pronouncements in the negotiations for a fight the sports world has been eager to see for five years.
Talks are at a sensitive stage. The fight is tentatively set for May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and there are now only 87 days until the fight occurs. While a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout wouldn't need the lengthy build-up traditional for most pay-per-view boxing shows, that's not the case if they opt not to fight each other. At that point, they're going to be scrambling to get the word out.
But Arum's insistence on public comments are clearly an impediment to reaching a deal. That is one point that people on both sides of the aisles in these talks agree about. Top Rank president Todd duBoef is irate at Arum, his step-father, but has essentially thrown his hands up in the air and said he can't control Arum.
Even Pacquiao's team has gotten upset at Arum's willingness to go on the record with comments that often don't add up.
Pacquiao has been in Washington, D.C., the last several days and on Thursday attended the National Prayer Breakfast.