Promoter Bob Arum on hunt for replacement bout following row with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
|Pacquiao must find an agency in the Philippines to do the test [GALLO/GETTY]|
The big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr could be hauled back from the brink after the head of the Nevada boxing commission ordered both fighters to submit to a drugs test.
Filipino Pacquiao’s March 13 bout with the American – who like his opponent claims to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world – had been promising big bucks and big thrills until it was derailed by demands from Mayweather Jr’s camp over drug testing.
But on Monday Keith Kizer stepped in to try and force the WBO welterweight title fight to go ahead, saying both must provide urine tests within 48 hours or face possible fines or suspension by the Nevada Athletic commission.
“That at least starts the ball rolling,” said Kizer.
“I don’t know if this will help the chances of the fight happening.
“But with all this talk of drug tests, let’s actually do one.”
The two sides signalled late in the day that there could be room for a compromise after Mayweather’s representatives said there was footage on HBO’s 24/7 program that showed Pacquiao having blood taken 14 days before his knockout win over Ricky Hatton in 2007.
Mayweather’s promoter, Richard Schaefer, said there was a possibility the two sides could compromise somewhere between Mayweather’s demand for testing up until the weigh-in and the 14 days Pacquiao had blood taken prior to the Hatton fight.
“We were at two days and I assume Pacquiao is at 14 days,” Schaefer said.
“If they want to walk away from the richest fight in the history of the sport, that’s their decision”
Mayweather Jr’s manager Leonard Ellerbe
“Let’s see if somehow there can be a compromise found that maintains the integrity of the tests.
“If that can be done in a manner acceptable to Pacquiao, I will take it to Mayweather’s team.”
The urine tests, which were ordered by commission chairman Pat Lundvall, fall under an out-of-competition testing regulation which went into effect last year and allows state boxing authorities to order boxers to comply.
The commission’s demand comes a day after Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said he would not budge off a proposal to do just three blood tests on the two fighters – and none within 30 days of the fight.
Arum, who had suggested the NAC decide next month who will prevail in the dispute, said he planned to begin negotiating a fight with Paul Malignaggi if Mayweather’s camp didn’t agree to the terms.
Shift the blame
But Mayweather’s manager, Leonard Ellerbe, said on Monday there would be no fight on Arum’s terms, and charged the promoter with trying to shift the blame for the fight not happening from Pacquiao’s side to Mayweather.
“If he’s unwilling to do random blood and urine it’s a nonstarter,” Ellerbe told the Associated Press.
“He knows that. If they want to walk away from the richest fight in the history of the sport, that’s their decision.”
Kizer said the urine tests could play a part in breaking the impasse, though Mayweather’s camp has said that blood tests are necessary to find performance-enhancing drugs that may not be detected by urine tests.
He said he informed both fighters that they must take the urine tests, saying Pacquiao would have to find an accredited agency to do his in the Philippines.