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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.
Rumor has it that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is balking from a fight with Shane Mosley. If this is true and he picks a lesser opponent (which I suspect he will) for a tune-up, does he at that point even deserve a fight with Pacquiao? And by the way, I meant a fight with Manny, not Jinkee.
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.
Can it happen?
What are the chances a bout between Mayweather and Mosley actually occurs? I am one of those who feel that Mayweather's primary concern is to retire undefeated while making the most money he can off of the paying fans of boxing. That being said, Mosley will prove just as difficult a match as Pacquiao and my heart tells me Mayweather will find a way out of this, as well.
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.
If Mayweather fights Mosley, it will become obvious that Mayweather is avoiding Pacquiao. Mosley admitted using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. So if he didn't want to fight Pacquiao because he was worried about PED usage, why would he then fight someone who has admitted using PEDs in a fight?
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.
It's all a setup
I am surprised nobody else has caught on to what is really happening with this Mayweather-Pacquiao fiasco, or, if they have, why they haven't spoken about it. I believe the fight will happen, and that it will happen exactly when the promoters/fighters want it to happen. This whole deal with the blood testing issues are just a clever (money-making) ploy by both sides to postpone the fight so Mayweather can get a tune-up fight under his belt before stepping in the ring to face Pacquiao. It would be foolish for anyone to believe that Mayweather would want to come off the layoff he has had, and immediately step back into the ring against a fighter like Pacquiao. Promoters have been manipulating fights and fighters to generate public interest for decades. Why would this situation be any different?
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.
Anxious for Money-"Sugar"
I am looking forward to the Mayweather-Mosley fight. I understand the shady past of Mosley when it comes to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, but I felt the planets aligned when Mosley called out Mayweather after the Marquez fight. I sincerely hope Mosley can shut him up but, on the other hand, I like the publicity boxing receives with his arrogant mug strutting through the headlines. Selfishly, I'd like to see Mayweather knocked out in the fifth round after suffering, and picking his teeth off the canvas for all to see. However, I do appreciate his media draw, which is a necessary evil, I guess. He's a guy fans love to hate and hate to love.
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.
Don't belittle Mayweather
I am not a Floyd jock boy, but just because Floyd is full of himself, you don't have to belittle his achievements. Oscar De La Hoya over the hill? When Manny beats him, he's the greatest ever! Ricky Hatton overrated? When Manny beat him, he became the pound-for-pound king! Marquez too little? Manny was life and death with him twice, with a lot of people saying he lost, and he's a true warrior. And Manny started off in a smaller division than Marquez, but he's not too little for Floyd? Give me a break! If Floyd isn't a boxing elite, how come everybody wants to see him fight Manny instead of Shane Mosley, Andre Berto or Paul Williams?
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.
Where is the commission?
With all the hoopla about drug testing, what is the Nevada Athletic Commission's plans for testing? Will they bolster their current standard to match the Olympic-style testing Mayweather is insisting on?
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.
Test after the fight
The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight should not have been cancelled over the blood-testing issue. The fighters should simply have agreed to be tested right after the fight. If either fighter had steroids in his system that would have helped him during the fight, it would have been easily detected in a prompt post-fight test. There is no substance, including EPO, that can cleanse the blood in mere minutes. We lost the most anticipated fight in recent history over a meaningless issue that could have been so easily resolved. It's too bad we didn't have post-fight testing when Alexis Arguello fought Aaron Pryor.
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.
How would Floyd-Shane go?
I am excited by the prospect of a Mosley-Mayweather fight as it is the most exciting matchup possible after the Pacquiao debacle. What's your take on this fight? Personally, I've thought for a long time that Mosley has just the kind of pressure and quickness that would give Mayweather fits. Take into consideration his granite chin and Mayweather's lack of devastating power and I'd advise Mosley to really dictate the pace and place of the fight.
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.