Friday, March 12, 2010 | 2:33 p.m.
GRAPEVINE, Texas — A lot could happen in the next eight weeks.
Despite riding a seemingly invincible high, stopping opponents in his last four fights, Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KO) could be upset by Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 KO) in their welterweight bout Saturday at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Forty-nine days later, it's conceivable that 38-year-old Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 KO) could hand Floyd Mayweather Jr. (40-0, 25 KO) the first loss of his professional career at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
But regardless of whether one, both or neither upsets occur, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach knows what fight he wants to see get made next.
"If Mayweather doesn't come to the table, I know there are other fights out there, but would you guys be interested in that?" Roach said. "Would the general public buy that? I want that fight probably as bad as you guys do.
"It's got nothing to do with the money. It's about the challenge. I know (Mayweather's) style gives Manny the most problems and it would be a difficult fight for us."
At a time when those closest to the negotiations that broke down between Pacquiao and Mayweather in January seem sick of talking about it, Roach welcomes the topic of a fight he believes can still happen and would lift the sport of boxing.
Even if Mosley defeats Mayweather, which Roach has said he doubts will happen, the trainer wants the original super-fight that fell through the cracks and believes the general public would agree with him.
"Yeah, we could make that fight with Mosley (if Mayweather loses)," Roach said. "But the general public would still say, 'We never saw the fight that should happened at the right time.'
"Shane is probably the better fight for fans action-wise because both guys like to fight. But the thing about the Mayweather fight is that even a person that knows nothing about boxing still wants to see it."
Talks between the two fighters hit a wall last December when Mayweather demanded that Pacquiao take Olympic-style drug testing, which involves random blood tests. The Nevada State Athletic Commission requires only urine testing of its fighters.
Pacquiao, who has a reputation for being squeamish around needles, refused to agree to the random tests.
While it's clear that Pacquiao's camp still wants the fight with Mayweather, they have been adamant about not giving into Mayweather's demands, claiming that no fighter should have the right to override a commission.
"People say, why not just take the blood test and be over it," Roach said. "Just because it doesn't bother you to give blood doesn't mean it doesn't bother me. Some people pass out when they give blood. Manny Pacquiao, I lose him for three days when he gives blood because he feels weak. I don't care if its mental or physical, but it's there.
"I don't think Floyd is big enough to make the rules. We're not going to do any rule he says. It's like giving away the first two rounds to him. It gives him confidence and we won't do that."
Roach says he remains optimistic the fight could still happen, based on his belief that the lure of what could be a historical payday will eventually bring Mayweather to the ring.
During the original negotiations, many experts believed the fight had a chance to be the richest in boxing history, with both fighters expected to make over $25 million.
"Hopefully, he makes some bad bets on basketball and gets further in the hole," Roach said. "He wants to make Pacquiao money and he can't make that kind of money with anyone else. That's my hope."
In addition to hoping that the fight will happen at all, boxing fans in Las Vegas certainly will be paying attention to what venue would land the mega-fight, as their city traditionally known as "The Fight Capital of the World" seems anything but a lock to land the fight a second time.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum remains furious with MGM Mirage officials for turning him away when he requested to book the March 13 date for Pacquiao's fight with Clottey.
Arum, who says he's now hesitant to take any Top Rank events to MGM Mirage properties, was told by the company the date he wanted was on hold for Golden Boy Promotions even though at that time Mayweather hadn't yet found a replacement opponent.
With the success Top Rank has found in taking this weekend's event to Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arum says the actions taken by MGM Mirage have opened the door for other venues to book fights that would have typically been held in Las Vegas.
"Everybody now wants to do boxing in their venue," Arum said, who is also taking a Top Rank event to Yankee Stadium in June. "What happened was a simple act of turning away the most popular fighter in the world.
"Not giving him a venue to fight in was what opened the Pandora's Box and, believe me, once it's opened it's never going to be closed."
According to MGM Mirage president Richard Sturm, the company's hands were tied when Arum called, as Golden Boy Promotions had held the date first and were confident at the time that Mayweather still would fight on that date.
"Golden Boy had first hold and when a promoter has first hold, it's the industry standard to give that date to the promoter," Sturm said. "The fact is, Golden Boy wanted to put together another Mayweather fight and we planned on having it then. Bob Arum called and expressed interest, and I explained that Golden Boy had hold on that date.
"Had I known March 13 would have been open, we would have been more than excited to have Manny back here. We have a good relationship with Golden Boy — there's no denying that. But that relationship doesn't preclude us dealing with any promoter, including Top Rank."
In addition to Las Vegas and Texas, there are only a few other locations Arum and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer would want to take a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather.
Las Vegas and Texas are two of nine U.S. states that impose no state income tax. In addition to those two, Arum included a third state with no income tax, Florida, as a possible destination.
Louisiana may also find its way back into the running as well, as political analyst James Carville reportedly had worked to raise enough tax credits to allow Governor Bobby Jindal to waive the 6 percent state income tax for the first proposed fight.
That said, it's still likely that if the fight were made it would be a two-state battle between Nevada and Texas to play host.
While Mayweather's camp obviously was reluctant to agree to Texas the first time, canceling a proposed meeting with Jones at the last minute in December, seeing the extravagance of this weekend's Top Rank event may change their minds a second time around.
"Remember, when we made this fight between Pacquiao and Clottey, Texas was still a wild card," Arum said. "Who knew they could perform the way they have? As far as Mayweather is concerned, it was another stadium that looked nice but would be real tough to do a boxing event in. Maybe he thought that, I don't know."