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Bob Arum: Life goes on, Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey a competitive fight

Clottey says he has too much respect for Pacquiao to demand blood testing

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Chris Farina, Top Rank

Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey on-stage with promoter Bob Arum and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during a press conference at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Jan. 19, 2010.

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The issue that killed a mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather apparently didn't even come up during the Filipino's negotiations with Joshua Clottey.

Shortly after talks between Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KO) and Mayweather (40-0, 25 KO) broke down because of Mayweather's insistence they implement Olympic-style drug testing, Top Rank officials announced their fighter was moving on to take a March 13 fight with Clottey at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

During a media conference call Thursday, Clottey (35-3, 20 KO) characterized the opportunity to face Pacquiao as "a blessing" and said questioning Pacquiao's credibility never crossed his mind because of the respect he has for his opponent.

"I don't want to do that because I respect him so much," Clottey said. "I don't think Manny Pacquiao would do that. If he is, he's cheating the sport, but I believe he's not."

Mayweather's accusations that Pacquiao possibly was using performance-enhancing drugs stemmed from the welterweight champion's rare ability to dominate opponents while moving up weight classes.

Pacquiao made boxing history last November when he defeated Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a world title in an unprecedented seventh weight class. He began his professional career fighting at 107 pounds.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission only requires its fighters to take urine tests and not the random blood tests that Mayweather had demanded.

On Thursday, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum reiterated a point he's made in the past — any rule change must be made by the commission and not an individual fighter.

"My view is that is something for the commission to decide and if any participant in a boxing match wants more stringent testing, he should go before the commission and present his case," Arum said. "That's not for a bunch of amateurs to start talking about and making demands.

"That is wrong. That is what is called chaos. You go before a commission and say, 'I want such and such on testing,' and you let the commissioners decide. That's what they get paid for."

Mayweather went on to sign a deal to face Shane Mosley on May 1 in Las Vegas, which included both fighters undergoing Olympic-style drug testing.

While the details of drug testing were enough to break up what many believed would be the richest fight in boxing history, they did little to slow talks with Clottey, who is coming off a split decision loss to Cotto in June.

"I couldn't agree with Bob more," said Clottey's manager, Vinny Scolpino. "If a commission wants to implement more rules, let them and we'll follow. Manny is a super-champion and we all hope that he's doing the right thing. If he's not, the commission will find it in their drug testing and that's they way it is."

Many boxing fans were disappointed when Pacquiao and Mayweather were unable to come to terms in January, as the two are currently considered the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

When asked about the lingering effects of the broken deal between the two, Arum responded that fans were still receiving two great fights and need to move on.

"Life goes on," Arum said. "If Joshua beats Manny, who knows? Maybe Mosley beats Mayweather and we do a Mosley vs. Clottey fight. Who the hell knows?

"If these were walkover fights, nobody would give a damn. Are they consolation prizes? Well, in a way. The one fight everybody wanted to see didn't happen for one reason or another but now we've got, on March 13, a really good, competitive fight that I believe is Manny Pacquiao's toughest fight yet."

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

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