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Mayweather/Pacquiao fight in air after disagreement over drug testing

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum says Pacquiao is ‘going in a different direction’ after argument

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Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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The proposed super-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, what would certainly be the richest fight in boxing history, may be called off because of a recent disagreement.

Out of all the possible details that could have derailed the mega-fight between the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world, the method of drug testing is proving to be the culprit.

Negotiations of the March 13 fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena have stalled as of late, because of Pacquiao's (50-3-2, 38 KO) reluctance to agree to random Olympic-style testing, an addition to the contract that Mayweather (40-0, 25 KO) and his promoters have requested.

Olympic-style testing allows random blood testing of fighters all the way up to the weigh-in of the event. The Nevada State Athletic Commission typically only requires fighters to pass urine tests before and after a fight.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who represents Pacquiao, told the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press Tuesday that Mayweather's insistence on changing the drug-testing procedures shows he has never been serious about taking the fight with Pacquiao.

"We're going in a different direction," Arum told the newspaper. "What I believe, is that Floyd never really wanted the fight and this is just harassment of Pacquiao."

In a statement released Wednesday, Arum added that his fighter has already agreed to rigorous drug testing but he would not agree to have blood drawn so close to the event.

Pacquiao is known for having a hard time giving blood.

"Let's be very clear on the real issues we differ on," Arum said. "It's not about being tested. Manny is onboard with that since it's such a major concern of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Manny will submit to as many random urine tests requested.

"Regarding the blood tests, he will subject himself to three tests; one given in January during the week the fight is formally announced, one 30 days from the fight and the final one immediately following the fight."

Pacquiao has never failed a drug test, although that hasn't stopped Floyd Mayweather Sr. to repeatedly accuse the Filipino of taking steroids.

According to a released statement from Mayweather, the fighter pointed out the magnitude of the proposed fight to explain his desire for stricter testing methods.

"I understand Pacquiao not liking having his blood taken because, frankly, I don't know anyone who really does," Mayweather said. "But in a fight of this magnitude, I think it is our responsibility to subject ourselves to a sportsmanship at the highest level.

"I have already agreed to the testing and it is a shame that he is not willing to do the same. It leaves me with great doubt as to the level of fairness I would be facing in the ring that night."

All other details of the fight appear to be worked out, as both sides have said that the only thing preventing a formal announcement is the disagreement on the drug tests.

Reports from ESPN.com state that Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Shaefer has revealed that the fight would be fought at 147 pounds, and that the penalty for coming in over weight would be a whopping $10 million per pound.

The huge penalty was called for by members of the Pacquaio camp, after Mayweather ignored the contract limit of 144 pounds in his last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and weighed-in at 146. Mayweather won that fight by unanimous decision.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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