Mailbag: HBO spared tough call

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI

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.

Manny Pacquiao, left, and Joshua Clottey will battle in the only fight on March 13.
(Mike Fuentes/AP)

Good thing.

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.

Will Shane be tested?

Shane Mosley has admitted steroid usage in the past. If Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights Shane, it's only logical that Floyd and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions ask that Shane undergo the same doping tests they wanted Manny Pacquiao to take. If not, that confirms the obvious, right?

Manila, Philippines

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.

Mayweather-Mosley bout 'a must'

First off, my heart goes out to Andre Berto. I hope his family and friends are all OK following that tragic earthquake in Haiti. That being said, I think it is an absolute must for Floyd Mayweather to fight Shane Mosley. I feel Floyd has been ducking Shane for years and has instead taken much easier opponents (a washed-up Oscar, an overrated Ricky Hatton and a too-small Juan Manuel Marquez). I think Shane's style will give Floyd a lot of trouble and his chin would be tested for the first time in his career. If Floyd passes this opportunity up, I think his mystique and pound-for-pound claim will be irreparably tarnished.

Lorain, Ohio

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.

It's all on Arum

Regarding your comment that if Mayweather wanted to do drug testing, he should have held a press conference: If I'm not mistaken this whole negotiation thing was supposed to be behind closed doors, and no one was supposed to be speaking about the negotiations (but Arum was all over the news reports). How is it that no one comments on the fact Arum went to the news every chance he could get to say what the Mayweather camp was requesting, but never mentioned, nor was he ever asked what their requests were for the fight? Now you, and many other reporters, have mentioned that Mayweather picks the smaller opponents, but again no one is mentioning the catch weights that Pacquiao fights at. They were going to request the Joshua Clottey fight be fought at a catch weight of 144, when everyone knows that Clottey has trouble making the 147-pound weight limit. We all know Clottey is a good fighter, but we also know that Clotty lacks stamina and cannot last in the later rounds, so to be honest, this really isn't a good match, either. As you can probably tell I am a Mayweather fan, but I am also just looking for the reporters to be unbiased in their reports.

Curtis Hobson
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.

Blatantly favoring Mayweather

Are you sure you aren't on Mayweather's payroll? It's definitely more "Money's" fault than it is Pacquiao's fault the fight between them didn't get done. Who is Mayweather to demand a test on a fighter who has NEVER failed a drug test? Isn't that what a boxing commission is for, to regulate boxing? Why don't Mayweather fans like yourself understand that? Pacman didn't even have to take any blood tests, but he still agreed to three. Mayweather is a big bully, and I guarantee his next fight won't be a welterweight. You could bet Money on that!

Largo, Fla.

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.

Blatantly favoring Pacquiao

Why is it that you have talked so poorly of Mayweather and have boosted Pacquiao so greatly? Granted, Pacquiao is a great fighter but as looks go, he is the one who is suspect in this failure. As a fighter (albeit not anywhere near their level), I feel the request of testing is by no stretch of the imagination unreasonable. You, like so many columnists and critics, won't give credit to Mayweather for his accomplishments. To be a truly objective journalist, you should write a column downgrading Pacquiao, as well. But we both know that won't happen because of your bias. I am sure this won't make the site because I have noticed you don't post anyone with truly differing opinions. This is truly sad.

Norfolk, Va.

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.

Oscar's hypocrisy

Has any of the media called out Oscar De La Hoya's hypocrisy regarding Pacquiao's power? De La Hoya has consistently stated that Pacquiao lacked power when they fought and that his punches didn't hurt … until the blood-testing fiasco. Then he implied that it was fishy that Pacquiao was able to maintain so much power after moving up so many weight classes. I don't know if it's bitterness from losing to Pacquiao, but this is disgusting, especially considering that one of De La Hoya's greatest career achievements was similar success in moving up multiple weight classes! Doesn't De La Hoya have some sort of co-promoting deal with Top Rank for Pacquiao? What exactly is it? I'm now officially an ex-De La Hoya fan; he's become a predictable, disingenuous promoter.

Benson Tran
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.

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