Promoters for the proposed March 13 Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight dropped some coal in boxing fans’ stockings over the Christmas holiday as a feud over drug testing has put the blockbuster fight – which looked all but done two weeks ago — in jeopardy of completely falling apart.
According to ESPN.com, the Mayweather camp has insisted that Pacquiao – who has won championships in a record seven different weight classes – undergo Olympics-style, random drug tests leading up to the fight and after the bout. Mayweather’s father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., has accused Pacquiao of taking illegal substances, even though Pacquiao has denied taking any performance-enhancing drugs and has never failed a drug test.
Pacquiao has agreed to unlimited urine testing and at least three blood tests — one in early January around the time of the kickoff news conference, one 30 days before the fight and another in the dressing room after the fight, said ESPN.com. But his camp fears blood tests too close to the fight will weaken Pacquiao, so they want to set a testing cutoff date.
The rift threatens what could be the most lucrative fight in pay-per-view history. Ordinarily cable and satellite distributors like to have 75 days to 90 days to adequately promote and market a major PPV boxing event so the clock is ticking. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has already made noise about pulling out of the Mayweather fight and scheduling Pacquiao against former junior welterweight champ Paulie Malignaggi on the date.
Let’s hope the industry can ring in the New Year with a Pacquiao-Mayweather press conference that will serve as the countdown to the blockbuster event.