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Pacquiao moving on, Mayweather still wants fight

GREG BEACHAM | 1/8/2010, 11:42 p.m.

While Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s camp believes his prospective bout with Manny Pacquiao can be saved, Pacquiao's promoter says he's moving on.

After six weeks of contentious negotiations failed to produce a compromise on Mayweather's insistence on stringent drug testing for the bout, Pacquiao has made plans to fight welterweight Joshua Clottey in mid-March, Top Rank boss Bob Arum told The Associated Press on Friday, Jan, 8.

"This is crazy. We've moved on," Arum said.Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who works with Mayweather, isn't ready to give up. He's worried Top Rank hasn't told Pacquiao that the potential richest fight in boxing history could be saved if the Filipino star would agree to take a blood test for performance-enhancing drugs 14 days before the proposed March 13 bout - just 10 days later than Pacquiao already agreed.

"I am hopeful that this fight can still happen," Schaefer told the AP. "No matter what, Floyd Mayweather will fight at the MGM Grand (in Las Vegas) on March 13. I hope the man across that ring will be Manny Pacquiao."

Schaefer was angered when Arum came out of the camps' mediation hearing Tuesday blaming Mayweather for the fight's collapse, saying Mayweather wouldn't agree to a final blood test 24 days before the bout. Schaefer claims Top Rank turned down a compromise of 14 days on New Year's Eve, but he isn't sure whether Pacquiao - who's at home in the Philippines - was involved in that decision.

Both fighters stand to make much more than $25 million apiece from the much-anticipated bout.

"If they don't want to do the fight, they should have said it a long time ago and not messed around," Schaefer said. "Anything Bob states (about the mediation) is wrong, and there are absolute lies."

That's almost exactly the sentiment of Arum two days earlier, when he said Mayweather turned down a mediation deal setting the blood test at 24 days before the bout. Schaefer said there never was such a deal.

Arum said he relayed the 14-day proposal to Pacquiao's camp in the Philippines and was turned down.

"We did transmit it to (Pacquiao adviser) Michael Koncz," Arum said. "We can't say what went on the mediation. We're not permitted to, but if it ever came out what happened in the mediation, it would make all of this an absurdity. Manny Pacquiao was informed and rejected it as it happened, and we communicated to (Golden Boy executive Bruce) Binkow that it was a nonstarter."

No matter who's right, the negotiations have turned personal and poisonous between the two dominant American boxing promotional companies.

Arum and Mayweather, who worked together earlier in Mayweather's career, traded blows through the media this week, with Arum calling Mayweather "a psychological coward" and criticizing Schaefer, who said he heard about Arum's insults through his children.

"He has a tremendous dislike for Floyd and Oscar (De La Hoya) and myself," Schaefer said. "It's unbelievable and frankly embarrassing for me and my kids."

Schaefer said Mayweather's newfound insistence on stringent drug testing is grounded in Mayweather's desire to "add an extra level of protection for fighters" throughout the sport, though he didn't say why Mayweather chose to make that stand before this particular fight. Pacquiao filed a lawsuit against Mayweather's camp last month, claiming several members had defamed him by intimating he uses performance-enhancing drugs.

Yet Mayweather has long been outspoken against steroids in sports, criticizing Sugar Shane Mosley for what Mosley claims was inadvertent use of performance-enhancing drugs before a 2003 bout.

"Bob says this kind of testing wasn't done 40 years ago? Well, a lot of things weren't done 40 years ago," Schaefer said. "If this fight happens or doesn't happen, it's going to be the catalyst to bring new levels of protection. We want to lead the charge here. It's a safety issue."

Schaefer said Mayweather will insist on similarly stringent drug tests for whoever is chosen as his opponent on March 13. Paulie Malignaggi had been rumored to be the top candidate to fight Mayweather if the Pacquiao deal collapsed.