Pacquiao camp shifts focus to Clottey
With his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. all but off, Manny Pacquiao has instead agreed to fight Joshua Clottey on March 13, Pacquiao's camp said Friday.
Clottey's manager told ESPN.com's Dan Rafael that he spoke to Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank's Bob Arum, on Friday about the fight's details but would only confirm a "seven-figure" purse.
"Josh is ecstatic about it," Vinny Scolpino told ESPN.com. "I think we can get this done in a couple of days. He's coming home [to New York from Ghana] on Monday."
Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, which promotes Pacquiao, told Rafael on Friday night the bout would take place at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
DuBoef said he and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum would fly to Dallas on Saturday to meet with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for a tour of the facility and to finalize the deal before being Jones' guests at the Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles playoff game on Saturday night.
Jones was interested in bringing Pacquiao-Mayweather to the stadium and offered a $25 million site fee, the largest in boxing history. However, while Arum wanted to meet with Jones and discuss the offer, Mayweather representative Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions canceled the trip at the last minute, angering Arum, a move that in retrospect was the beginning of the end of the fight.
DuBoef also said former welterweight titleholder Antonio Margarito would fight on the pay-per-view card in the co-feature if he is relicensed at a hearing later this month or in February. Margarito had his license revoked in California for attempting to load his gloves with an illegal substance before facing Shane Mosley last January. Margarito is eligible to ask for his license back after a year, although there is no guarantee he will get it.
The Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, which had also been tentatively set for March 13, was called off Wednesday night by Arum after mediation failed to resolve their issues over drug-testing protocol.
Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs) last fought in a split-decision loss to welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto on June 13, a fight many believed Clottey won.
"It's the biggest payday he ever made in his life," Scolpino told ESPN.com. "He should be doing flips. It's a huge opportunity."
Trainer Freddie Roach first told ESPN's Brian Kenny of Pacquiao's plan Friday afternoon, before Arum confirmed the news to The Associated Press.
Clottey had last been slated to fight Carlos Quintana on Dec. 5. But that undercard bout was called off when Kelly Pavlik pulled out of the main event against Paul Williams with a lingering hand injury.
Mayweather maintained Thursday night that he still wanted to fight Pacquiao. The final issue in the negotiation for the megafight was drug testing.
"That would have been a tremendous fight. I wanted to see it," Scolpino said. "But this is boxing. It's crazy."
Pacquiao and Mayweather had 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.