Pacquiao promoter says Mayweather bout is off

GREG BEACHAM | 1/7/2010, 7:43 a.m.

Manny Pacquiao's promoters said his prospective bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. was dead late Wednesday night, Jan. 6 after a mediation session failed to resolve the fighters' differences, scrapping what was likely to be the richest fight in boxing history.

The bout was slated for March 13 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, but Top Rank said it couldn't reach an agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, which represented Mayweather in the negotiations, after nine hours of mediation Tuesday and more discussions Wednesday.Although neither side was allowed to publicly discuss the specifics of their dispute, Mayweather apparently balked at a compromise in the drug-testing issues first raised by the former welterweight champion.

"I knew this was going to happen," said a weary Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter. "You had to play it out."

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer didn't immediately return phone messages.

The promoters went into the lengthy mediation Tuesday to resolve their differences over drug testing for the fight. Both sides claimed every other detail for the fight had been decided, but Mayweather had demanded random blood testing in addition to unlimited urine testing, with Pacquiao balking at the stringent requests.

The fighters' representatives apparently were close to a deal after the mediation. The promoters were widely expected to formally announce the bout Wednesday - but subsequent discussions led Top Rank to declare the fight canceled.

Arum was left fuming by Mayweather, who fought for Top Rank for several years.

"I've been saying this for years: He's a psychological coward who doesn't want to fight anybody who has a chance of beating him," Arum said. "He walked away from a rematch with Oscar (De La Hoya) that would have paid him a fortune because De La Hoya held him close in the first fight."

Mayweather initially appeared eager to fight Pacquiao, widely thought to be the sport's pound-for-pound champion with a string of impressive victories during Mayweather's 21-month ring absence during an aborted retirement. Both fighters likely stood to make more than $25 million from the bout.

AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg contributed to this report.