The celebrity gossip website TMZ sent social media into a frenzy on Friday when it erroneously reported that a deal had been reached to pit Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao against each other.
Insiders representing both fighters laughed the TMZ report off. Though progress had been made throughout the week, sources say rather than moving forward on Friday, talks took a backward step. But the most definitive denial came Saturday from Mayweather via his Shots account.
Mayweather used the hash tag "FightNotMadeYet" to deny the TMZ report.
Laying back, relaxing, enjoying good weather, palm trees, and piña coladas. While they continue to lie about making the fight... I'm just going to continue to travel and explore the world on my private jet. #FightNotMadeYet
There are substantial issues to be resolved between Showtime, which has Mayweather under contract, and HBO, which has an exclusive deal with Pacquiao. An impasse in those talks is HBO's insistence on being able to show the replay of the pay-per-view, one source said. When the networks worked out a deal in 2002 to broadcast the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight, they agreed to give the replay to the network of the fighter who won. Lewis stopped Tyson and so HBO showed the replay. That issue has yet to be resolved for a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
There also remain issues on the promotional end of the deal.
Much work remains to be done, according to persons involved in the talks on both sides, and the earliest at best an announcement could come would be late next week. More likely, if the fight is made, talks will spill over into the middle of the following week.
Many of the terms have been agreed upon, including a split feed of the bout in which both Showtime and HBO talent would be involved. The fight is being targeted for May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.