- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will still compete against each other on March 13, but not in the ring. Instead, they will be duking it out for pay-per-view buys.
Two days after Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, announced plans for Pacquiao to defend his welterweight title against former titlist Joshua Clottey on March 13, Mayweather is making plans to fight on the same night.
While Pacquiao will face Clottey at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, just outside of Dallas -- Arum concluded a deal with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Sunday -- Mayweather will face an opponent to be determined at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Sunday night.
"It's a date Golden Boy has had for a long time and nothing has changed," Schaefer said. "We have been talking to Team Mayweather to see who the opponent will be. I hope to have something to announce in the next few days."
The MGM Grand was supposed to host the Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight before it broke up for good on Friday over a monthlong dispute between the camps on the drug testing protocol for a bout that many believed would be the highest-grossing fight in history.
According to sources, Mayweather's list of potential opponents includes former junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and Golden Boy-promoted former lightweight titlist Nate Campbell, both smaller men than Mayweather, as well as former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron, who is a similar kind of opponent as Clottey is for Pacquiao. There is also a more remote possibility of Mayweather facing junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr., who has ties to Showtime, which may not want to let him walk away for a possible fight on rival HBO PPV.
One opponent Mayweather will not be facing is Matthew Hatton, the brother of former junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton, whom Mayweather knocked out in a 2007 welterweight title fight. Reports in Matthew Hatton's native England indicate that he is under consideration.
However, Schaefer said that is not the case.
"There is absolutely no truth to the rumors about Matthew Hatton. I can't tell you for sure who Floyd will fight, but I can tell you for sure it won't be Matthew Hatton," Schaefer said.
With Pacquiao and Mayweather going their separate ways against lesser opponents on competing pay-per-view cards, HBO, which has broadcast both fighters' biggest bouts on pay-per-view, is in a position where it will have to make a choice on whether it will support one fighter over the other or neither.
The network has been mum on its plans for March 13, although Arum and Schaefer both told ESPN.com that they have spoken to the network about their fights. Arum is also prepared to put on his event as a Top Rank-produced pay-per-view.
It would be highly unusual for there to be pay-per-view cards on the same night featuring major stars in separate bouts, but that is exactly what could happen.
"It is unusual, but what can I do," Schaefer said. "It wasn't Floyd who walked away from the Pacquiao fight. There is nothing I can really say about it. I've had the date [March 13] for a long time. Initially it was for the Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones fight [which won't come off because Jones was knocked out in a Dec. 2 interim bout]. You know what? It is what it is. I'm not getting excited about it anymore. I am sitting outside having a cigar and [expletive]. It is what it is.
"It's not good. It's not good for Pacquiao to go on that date, which we had for a long time. We had that date, end of story. So it's not good. How can it be good? It's not good for boxing. It's not good for boxing that Pacquiao and Mayweather are not fighting each other. I worked really hard to make that happen and it's not. And I am not belittling Pacquiao's fight with Clottey. It's OK. Hey, we have a piece of [the promotional contract of] Pacquiao. But is it ideal? No it's not. Is it the end of boxing? Is the world collapsing? No it is not. We all have to look to March 14. March 13 will pass and on March 14 boxing will still be there and there will be exciting fights, and nothing will change that."
Schaefer said he was unsure what HBO planned to do, but he hoped it would support Mayweather's bout.
"Nobody wants competing fights. HBO doesn't want it," he said. "Nobody in their clear mind can be happy about Mayweather fighting somebody else or Pacquiao fighting somebody else. But we all have to live with it and accept. I'm a boxing fan too and I am pissed off about what happened. Anyone who says anything different is lying. I wish there had been something I could do about it, so I am very frustrated and disappointed, but Floyd Mayweather will still fight."
If Mayweather wins his March bout, Schaefer said he could next meet Shane Mosley, the welterweight champion (and Golden Boy partner) who first faces Andre Berto in a Jan. 30 unification fight. Before taking the fight with Berto, Mosley spent months trying to land a bout with either Mayweather or Pacquiao.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.
Floyd Mayweather will be fighting an undetermined opponent on the same day that Manny Pacquiao will brawl.