Irate Mayweather blaming Pacquiao
A day after their fight was declared dead, Floyd Mayweather Jr. said Thursday night that he still wants to fight Manny Pacquiao.
Their tentative March 13 megafight -- which many believe will be the most lucrative fight in boxing history if it happens -- was called off Wednesday night by Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, after mediation failed to resolve their issues over drug testing protocol.
Arum blamed Mayweather for the fight falling apart, but Mayweather came out swinging on Thursday.
In my opinion it is Manny Pacquiao and his team who are denying the people a chance to see the biggest fight ever. I know the people will see through their smoke screens and lies. I am ready to fight and sign the contract. Manny needs to stop making his excuses, step up and fight.” -- Floyd Mayweather
"Throughout this whole process I have remained patient but at this point I am thoroughly disgusted that Pacquiao and his representatives are trying to blame me for the fight not happening when clearly the blame is on them," Mayweather said in a statement.
"First and foremost, not only do I want to fight Manny Pacquiao, I want to whip his punk ass."
The final issue in the negotiation was drug testing.
They agreed to unlimited random urine testing, but Mayweather also insisted on random blood testing, even though the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which would oversee the bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, requires only urine testing.
Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) didn't want blood testing but later relented and agreed to three blood tests: one during the week of the kickoff news conference, which would have taken place next week, one random test to be conducted no later than 30 days before the fight and a final test in his dressing room after the fight. Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) would be subject to the same testing procedures.
When they could not come to an agreement, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Mayweather, turned to a mediator, retired judge Daniel Weinstein, who had successfully mediated a series of disputes between Top Rank and Golden Boy in 2007.
But after nine hours in mediation on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., and further attempts to come to a resolution on Wednesday failed, the fight was pronounced dead by the Pacquiao camp.
The mediation was largely about coming up with a suitable time frame in which to cut off the testing before the fight. Pacquiao moved off his hard-line stance of no testing inside 30 days from the fight by agreeing to 24 days during mediation.
"We agreed to move the drug testing to 24 days under the supervision of the Nevada commission and Mayweather still wouldn't budge," Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, told ESPN.com from the Philippines on Wednesday night after the fight was declared dead.
The Pacquiao camp blamed Mayweather for his unwillingness to move off his desire for random testing until the fight.
Mayweather disputed that on Thursday.
"Before the mediation, my team proposed a 14-day, no blood testing window leading up to the fight. But it was rejected," Mayweather said. "I am still proposing the 14-day window but he is still unwilling to agree to it, even though this is obviously a fair compromise on my part as I wanted the testing to be up until the fight and he wanted a 30 day cutoff. The truth is he just doesn't want to take the tests.
"In my opinion it is Manny Pacquiao and his team who are denying the people a chance to see the biggest fight ever. I know the people will see through their smoke screens and lies. I am ready to fight and sign the contract. Manny needs to stop making his excuses, step up and fight."
The drug testing became a major issue when Floyd Mayweather Sr., the father of the fighter, made several public remarks accusing Pacquiao of using performance-enhancing drugs without a shred of proof. Mayweather Jr. later made similar remarks about him using PEDs, even though Pacquiao denies it and has never failed a drug test.
The accusations led Pacquiao to file a defamation lawsuit last week in Nevada U.S. District Court against Mayweather Jr., Mayweather Sr., Roger Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy officials Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya.
If the welterweight title bout is to be saved, and go forward on March 13, the camps likely have until Friday or Saturday to work things out and kick off the promotion as planned early next week in New York.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.