It's been quite the week for anyone that covers the sweet science. As of now, the super-fight between the top two pugilists in the sport is off.
The way things are looking is that Manny Pacquiao will possibly take on either Paulie Malignaggi or move up to the junior middleweight division to contest Top Rank stablemate Yuri Foreman for his WBA strap.
On the other hand, Matthew Hatton, brother of British sensation Ricky Hatton, has been rumored to be a potential opponent for Floyd "Money" Mayweather.
Earlier today Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Golden Boy Promotions realesed this statement:
Let the record be clear: Manny Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum are threatening to walk away from the largest fight in history.
The fact is that random blood and urine testing was one of the many deal points and was listed along with the others, such as the financial split, the weight, financial penalty for being overweight, the appointment of the foreign sales agent, the production of the marketing assets, the gloves and many more. Team Mayweather made major concessions in many of these areas and we were optimistic that Team Pacquiao would do the same as it related to the request for random blood and urine testing, which Floyd Mayweather agreed to immediately.
It is disappointing for us to see that the benefits of blood testing and the fact that many different substances and procedures can only be detected by blood testing, are still not fully understood by all.
Their "take it or leave it" approach where blood testing would stop 30 days prior to the fight unless the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) approved differently is another indication that they may not want this fight. Pacquiao's position (and as stated on his website) is. " The truth is taking blood out of my body does not seem natural to me and mentally I feel it will weaken me if blood is taken from me just days before the fight" or he is "afraid of needles" and does not feel comfortable with blood being taken closer than 30 days before the fight is another interesting point. The fact is that he did have blood taken just 14 days prior to his fight with Ricky Hatton, an event which was documented on HBO's 24/7 reality show.
Also when told that Pacquiao feels that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is an agent of Golden Boy Promotions-which is in and of itself a ridiculous accusation-we moved swiftly and made yet another concession by stating that we would be perfectly fine to retain another agency which would do the random urine and blood tests and jointly agree on a reasonable cutoff prior to the fight but which would still maintain the integrity of the results. Let it be clear that this procedure was declined by Pacquiao as was the proposal to bring in an independent mediator such as Sen. John McCain, a suggestion that was in fact embraced by Bob Arum, but also declined by Manny Pacquiao.
Let it be very clear that nobody from Team Mayweather or Golden Boy Promotions is accusing Pacquiao of anything. But the reality seems to be that for whatever reason Pacquiao does not want to participate in random blood testing, which has already been deemed a harmless procedure that many current athletes are subjected to prior to and during competition.
Team Mayweather and Golden Boy Promotions is still open to the earlier discussions of having both parties work out a mutually agreeable understanding of the testing, which would be conducted by a mutually agreed upon agency.
In closing Floyd Mayweather is one of the most decorated athletes boxing has ever seen and he is anxious to make this fight happen for all of the fans and sports enthusiasts that are asking for this fight to happen too. As you might have noticed Floyd has been silently watching and patiently waiting for the final details of the fight to get worked out. As Floyd has already stated he does not have a problem with the random procedure and will be under the same requirements as Pacquiao, it is simply hard for him to understand why there is reluctance on Pacquiao's part to agree to do the same.
With each passing day, without a resolution, the odds of this fight taking place on March 13 grow smaller and smaller. Both fighters lose out on being a part of the richest fight in the history of the sport. Fans miss out on witnessing who the best current pound for pound fighter in the world is.
What makes me scratch my head most about all of this is...Matthew Hatton? Really?
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