Floyd Mayweather unconvinced he'll ever face Manny Pacquiao: 'He doesn't want to fight'
LAS VEGAS -- Floyd Mayweather already seems to have a Plan A and Plan B in place for his next opponent, although it figures to be late this year, at earliest, any clear idea emerges of which one may be most likely to materialize.
What he said he doesn't believe is that Plan A wants anything to do with him.
Manny Pacquiao was the topic of conversation in the what-comes-next debate that inevitably follows any Mayweather fight, after the Grand Rapids native knocked out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round to win the World Boxing Council welterweight title on Saturday night at MGM Grand.
"I'm telling you, he doesn't want to fight," Mayweather said.
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's adviser, agreed.
"We don't have to wait on anyone," Ellerbe said, when asked if the next move is to wait for the result of the Nov. 12 Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight, also at MGM Grand. "I'm telling you right now, the only way that happens is if the little guy (Pacquiao) makes his promoter make it happen. That's the only way, because we know all of the other parties involved, and they don't want the fight."
Ellerbe was referring to Bob Arum, Pacquaio's promoter, who recently said the Filipino star would agree to Mayweather's Olympic-style drug-testing protocol, which was a major roadblock in previous efforts to make the fight.
Mayweather remained unconvinced.
"We've been talking about this for the longest," he said. "This boy don't really want to fight. All this boy is doing is fighting my leftovers."
Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) clearly is on a path where Pacquiao and Amir Khan seem his most likely next opponents, although both have their own important fights first.
Mayweather repeatedly has said that he wants the Pacquiao fight and the recent thaw in their icy impasse over Olympic-style drug testing holds great potential to jump-start negotiations.
Arum said that his fighter would accede to the expanded testing, and allow the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to administer it, if performed in a joint effort with the regulatory body in whichever jurisdiction the fight occurs -- presumably, the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, thought the two sides were close to a deal when Mayweather retained him to negotiate the fight in December 2009. Then, the talks fell apart over the drug-testing issue. An effort to bring in a retired federal judge to mediate failed to produce a resolution.
Last year, there were cursory discussions in which the two sides spoke through an intermediary, Ross Greenberg, who was then the president of HBO Sports. But the two sides never negotiated directly and the middleman approach stalled quickly.
Everyone understands the overwhelming desire of boxing fans to see the most attractive potential matchup in the sport, and the enormous financial stakes. Many believe a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would shatter the existing pay-per-view record of 2.44 million domestic buys for the 2007 Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya fight, and perhaps exceed 3 million.
But both sides also have grown weary of past failed efforts. Arum said that if Mayweather won Saturday, and Pacquiao wins the third fight of his trilogy with Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12, it will be up to the Mayweather side to pick up the phone.
There also is the issue of the lawsuit Pacquiao filed against Mayweather, in December 2009, at almost the same time their initial talks broke down, alleging defamation by way of steroid accusations. The lawsuit could vanish as part of any new talks, or could loom as an overarching impediment.
Beyond that, there is the uncertainty of Mayweather's various other legal issues, and how the timing and nature of those developments affect future talks. The most serious is a domestic case in which Mayweather, if convicted on any of four felony charges, would face prison time. When and if that case goes to trial could alter all manner of plans.
Schaefer, after the failed talks two years ago, is no more committal to the likelihood of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight than Arum, though the date of May 5, 2012, is circled on everyone's mental calendar.
"As a fight fan, I hope so," Schaefer said, when asked if he thinks Mayweather-Pacquiao will happen next May.
Khan is an easier fight to make because he is signed to Golden Boy Promotions, although there are impediments to those talks, too.
First, Mayweather-Pacquiao talks would either have to fail, or never start.
Second, Khan has to win a Dec. 10 fight against Lamont Peterson, in defense of his International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association junior welterweight titles.
Third, besides money, the two sides also would have to agree on weights. Khan never has weighed more than his class limit of 140 pounds for a fight, while Mayweather fights at 147. Khan presumably would have to step up a full weight division.
Fourth, Mayweather has placed an unusual caveat on any talks between them, saying that Khan first would have to fight and defeat Jessie Vargas before they could fight. Khan, of England, told The Telegraph newspaper of London last week that he would agree to that requirement, if it led to a Mayweather fight next.
Schaefer said he thinks Khan "would be ready for that fight sometime late next year," a timetable subject to adjustment based on whatever happens in Mayweather-Pacquiao talks.
Regardless, if his other issues don't intervene, Mayweather, who turns 35 next February, hinted strongly that 2012 won't be his last year in boxing.
"I have some fights left in me," he said.
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