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Bob Arum is getting ready to promote a fight that may draw as many as 50,000 fans to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Richard Schaefer is working to finalize one that may be the most significant bout of the year. And yet, I'm not sure either promoter fully understands how deep the public resentment is over their failure to make a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The bout fell apart over drug-testing issues. Pacquiao, who would not agree to Mayweather's demand for Olympic-style drug tests, instead will fight Joshua Clottey on March 13. Mayweather wouldn't bend and is now hopeful of fighting Shane Mosley on May 1.
Pacquiao-Clottey is a solid fight, and Mayweather-Mosley is the second-best fight that could be made in boxing behind Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Still, the public's anger is palpable. The inbox at Yahoo! Sports has been almost nothing but Mayweather-Pacquiao for more than a month. It's been several weeks since the fight fell apart and the flow hasn't slowed.
The fans want to see that fight – badly. If they don't get it, there is going to be a lot of short-term pain for the promoters. In more than 20 years, I haven't seen a fan base as agitated by the failure to make a bout as they are about this one.
It's never wise to so anger your customers.
With that, let's once again dive into a mailbag dominated by Mayweather-Pacquiao talk.
Oak Harbor, Wash.
I'm not sure where these rumors begin, Mel. Talks are ongoing and, according to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, have gone well. Mayweather needs to fight an elite guy at this stage, no question. The public and the media won't stand for a bout with a lightweight or super lightweight, but give the process time to run its course. There is no evidence at this stage to support the rumors. Ellerbe said: "As I've said many times, Floyd is going to line all these guys up and, one by one, knock them all off." Take him at his word until there is evidence the fight actually is in jeopardy or that it does not occur.
Las Vegas I'd peg it at about 85-90 percent that it occurs. Both guys need each other. There is no real major fight left for Floyd if he doesn't fight either Pacquiao or Mosley. The public has made it very clear it's not going to buy opponents such as Nate Campbell and/or Paulie Malignaggi. Mosley's only other option for a big fight would be Pacquiao, so it makes sense these two get together. Noticeably absent from these negotiations is the animosity that exists between Mayweather's camp and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. Mayweather-Pacquiao had no problem agreeing to money terms, but if Mayweather-Mosley fails to be made, it will be over the split, I believe. Mosley isn't nearly the draw that Mayweather is – remember how empty the Home Depot Center was when he fought Ricardo Mayorga in 2008? – and the battle over the split would be what dooms the fight if so. But I'm optimistic and believe they'll reach a deal.
Pinole, Calif. Mayweather said he's going to insist on that testing for the remainder of his bouts, so there would be no Mosley bout if he doesn't agree.
First, Brad, Mayweather has had a fight since ending his brief retirement. He routed Juan Manuel Marquez in September, so he has no need for a tune-up. But I can tell you with almost 100 percent certainty just from the angst I heard in the voices of those involved that this was no scam. They may well fight in the future, but this was not a coordinated, concocted plan.
The best thing for boxing is when the best fight the best. A Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would have been huge. A Mayweather-Mosley fight wouldn't have the same cachet, but it will still be a significant event. And if you buy a pay-per-view because you want to see Floyd get knocked out, it's just a sign that he's doing his job well.
University Heights, Ohio
I'm not sure where you get the idea that I'm belittling Mayweather, Robert, because I have not. I think he's a brilliant talent and one of the greatest fighters of his generation – perhaps the greatest. His competition hasn't been what it should be in the last five years, but he's one of the most gifted fighters I've ever seen in person.
Palo Alto, Calif.
There is no plan at the current time to institute that kind of testing. But it is important to note that commission regulations already give it the power to do it. It can order licensees to take any kind of test it deems necessary at any time. But with the state's economy in a horrible situation, I doubt you'll see any Olympic-style testing adopted as regular procedure by the commission. They simply cannot afford it.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Scott, your information is bad. EPO can clear the system in two to four days and thus no postfight drug screening could catch it. The fighter would use it until a week or so before the fight, gain all of its benefits, cycle off and then pass the test. If you had no testing until after the fights, the boxers could dope with impunity.
I do think Shane would give Floyd a tough fight. Zab Judah caused Mayweather some problems early in their 2006 fight and Mosley is far better than Judah. Having said that, I will take Mayweather if the fight ever comes off. He's brilliant defensively and he'll dictate the way the fight is fought.