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The brass at HBO Sports weren't too excited about having to choose between airing a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight on March 13 promoted by Golden Boy Promotions or one between Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey, promoted by Top Rank.
Mayweather and Pacquiao are the sport's two biggest stars and Golden Boy and Top Rank are its most powerful promoters.
HBO had appeared to make its choice – Mayweather and Golden Boy – but made no announcement.
On Tuesday, HBO Sports senior vice president Mark Taffet was in Dallas for the Pacquiao-Clottey news conference. HBO was freed from having to make a decision when Andre Berto withdrew from his Jan. 30 fight with Shane Mosley and a Mayweather-Mosley fight became a possibility.
Because it was almost impossible to negotiate a deal and properly promote the fight by March 13, HBO had no decision to make. It was clear the only fight on that date was going to be Pacquiao-Clottey.
Had the Berto-Mosley fight not been canceled – and why was it canceled and not simply postponed? – Golden Boy was planning a Mayweather fight against a different opponent on March 13. That would have put HBO Sports in the unenviable, and losing, position of having to choose.
It's safe to assume that HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg, Taffet and Kery Davis, the senior vice president of programming, exhaled after learning of the Berto-Mosley cancellation.
Now, it's on to the mailbag. Thanks to all who emailed wondering what was up with the two-week hiatus, but it was simply a post-holiday vacation. I'm back and so is the mailbag, on its regular Tuesday schedule.
Marvin, we won't know if Mosley really will take the tests Mayweather demanded of Pacquiao until a contract is signed. However, Richard Schaefer said during the aborted Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations that Mosley would take the test and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe said the demand for Olympic-style testing would be part of every Mayweather fight for the remainder of his career. So we can safely assume that the Mayweather-Mosley contract will include a testing provision.
Larry, let me start by saying I've been astonished at the amount of interest in a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, and now in a potential Mayweather-Mosley fight. I've literally been inundated with messages about the fight. I haven't seen anything like it in nearly three years covering boxing for Yahoo! Sports. The vast majority of those who write have been critical of Floyd for not taking on guys like Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, etc. As long as Mayweather's fights do as well as they've done, though, he'll be immune to that criticism. Only when his pay-per-view numbers dip dramatically will he care. He has done far better in pay-per-view results against common opponents than Pacquiao and that gives him a lot more latitude. I wish he had more of the attitude of a Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran or a Ray Leonard, but it is what it is.
Virginia Beach, Va.
Curtis, Mayweather's team released the information to the public. You're right, both sides said they'd keep talks quiet, and until Dec. 12, they pretty much did. On that date, David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press was the first to report of Mayweather's drug-testing demand. On Dec. 21, Golden Boy released a statement on behalf of Mayweather announcing a snag in talks over the testing issue. On that day, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and his publicist called reporters to alert them. It wasn't Arum who made that public. Now, having said that, Arum didn't help matters with his public comments, but he's not the one who brought this public. As I said before, I don't think Arum wanted a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, because he hates Mayweather and couldn't stomach spending two months working with Mayweather and his team. When he sensed an opening to move on, he took it. As for the catch-weight issue, Pacquiao never asked for the Clottey fight to be anything but at the welterweight limit of 147. And if a Mayweather fight had taken place, it was also going to be at 147.
Rich, I blame both sides for the fight not getting done. I think Mayweather was a bully and tried to impose the testing on Pacquiao unilaterally. Pacquiao should have simply agreed to take the tests, though, because they're not a big deal, wouldn't physically harm him and they would have removed any doubt. I also blame both promoters for failing to get the deal done. I agree with Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer, who said as negotiations were kicking off, "If we don't make this fight, then we're idiots." There's plenty of blame to go around and it doesn't belong on one man's shoulders.
Al, I really don't think you've read anything I've ever written. If anything, I'm ripped for being too favorable toward Mayweather. I have often said, and I'll repeat it here, that Mayweather is one of the greatest talents I've seen. And I defended him vehemently, though at welterweight, he hasn't fought the kind of opposition he did at super featherweight and lightweight. I've given Mayweather an extraordinary amount of credit for his accomplishments. If you don't believe me, ask Mayweather himself, or Leonard Ellerbe. They'll tell you. I do think boxing needs to strengthen its testing regimen and I think the Olympic-style testing is a good way to go. That said, I criticized Floyd for attempting to usurp the commission's role in this case. I applaud him for wanting to clean up his sport; I just didn't like the way he went about it.
Daly City, Calif.
Benson, I called out Oscar on this very topic in a piece I wrote for Yahoo! Sports shortly after the fight collapsed. Oscar ought to give up his blog. I like in theory the idea of a fighter writing a blog, because it brings his perspective to the readers, but it's clear Oscar can't be objective and thus the blogs are worthless.
- Manny Pacquiao
- Joshua Clottey
- Floyd Mayweather
- Shane Mosley