Mayweather up against fight deadline
Bracing for the increasing likelihood that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will not fight Manny Pacquiao in November, Pacquiao's adviser has met with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum in Las Vegas to look over alternative plans.
Mayweather has until the end of the week. He could wait until the last minute. If it's Friday and it's 11 p.m., and he says we have a deal, we have a deal.” -- Bob Arum, Top Rank promoter
While awaiting Mayweather's decision -- Arum told ESPN.com that Friday is the deadline -- Michael Koncz and Arum on Monday discussed proposals for Pacquiao to fight former welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito or face Miguel Cotto in a rematch in the event Mayweather declines the Nov. 13 fight.
"We're ready to go on with the Mayweather fight," Arum said, "but we have to make contingency plans just in case and I don't really want to talk about that too much. But Mayweather has until the end of the week. He could wait until the last minute. If it's Friday and it's 11 p.m., and he says we have a deal, we have a deal."
Arum and Koncz said they were hopeful Mayweather would accept the deal, but that they had to be prepared in the event he doesn't. Arum has said for weeks that Mayweather's camp has a contract for the fight and that Pacquiao has accepted the terms, including provisions for drug testing (blood and urine) leading up to the bout.
When Pacquiao and Mayweather were negotiating during December and January for a fight in March, the talks fell apart when they could not come to an agreement on drug testing protocol.
Pacquiao then went on to easily outpoint Joshua Clottey to retain his welterweight title in March, while Mayweather dominated Shane Mosley in May.
"We're waiting on Floyd," Arum said. "He might not want to fight again this year. If he wants to say, 'See you next year,' there's always next year. But I don't think we can't wait much longer for him to make up his mind because if we do the fight we want to make it as big as we can make it, and that takes time. I think Floyd will give us the courtesy of a response one way or the other. What that response will be, I really don't know.
"That's the fight we want and that's the fight we're in for, but if we can't do that fight there are other opponents."
Koncz and Arum wouldn't go into specifics of the terms on the table for the fight with Mayweather but Koncz said "a 50-50 deal was proposed and there was no argument against it."
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, recently said that if the bout does not happen, Cowboys Stadium would host a Nov. 13 bout between Pacquiao and an undetermined opponent.
Koncz said Pacquiao wants to fight Mayweather, which would match the universally regarded top two fighters in boxing and one many believe would set pay-per-view and revenue records, but is prepared to move on.
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"We don't know what Mayweather is going to do. Last week, I had dinner with Cotto in Puerto Rico to see where he stands and he's willing and able to do a rematch with Manny," Koncz said. "Bob and I have spoken about both fights, Cotto and Margarito. Manny asked me to get proposals from Bob on both fights, so that's what I am doing.
"We haven't heard back from Floyd yet and if we don't in the next few days, we will enter into a deal with one of the other fighters. Bob and I have spoken about both Cotto and Margarito. We will have a done deal and a signed contract for a fight by the end of this month, whoever it's against -- Mayweather, Cotto or Margarito."
Pacquiao's victory against Cotto netted him a title in a record seventh weight division. If he fights either Cotto or Margarito, Arum said Pacquiao will move up to the 154-pound junior middleweight division and fight for a belt in a record-extending eighth weight class. Pacquiao has already won titles at 112, 122, 126, 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds.
If Pacquiao were to fight Cotto, Arum said he would challenge for Cotto's WBA belt. After the loss to Pacquiao, Cotto bounced back by moving up in weight and stopping Yuri Foreman on June 5 to win a junior middleweight belt.
If Pacquiao were to fight Margarito, Arum said they would meet for the vacant WBC version of the title, which Sergio Martinez relinquished after he won the middleweight championship in April.
A potential fight with Margarito, however, is complicated by the fact that he is not licensed in the United States because of the 2009 scandal in which he attempted to wear loaded hand wraps for his eventual knockout loss to Mosley. Nevada regulators tabled Margarito's application for a license last week and said it would not vote on it until Margarito first went before the California commission that revoked his license after last year's incident.
Arum and Koncz both said that if the Margarito fight comes to fruition and he is still unlicensed in the United States, they would consider an international location.
"It would be nice to have the fight in Las Vegas, but we can fight anywhere," Koncz said.
Pacquiao's 12th-round knockout win against Cotto drew 1.25 million pay-per-view buys and generated $70 million in domestic television revenue. However a rematch, or one with Margarito, would probably be more of a hard sell compared to one with Mayweather. The hand-wrap scandal has tarnished Margarito's reputation. Pacquiao's fight with Cotto did big business but it had a definitive conclusion and a rematch is not a fight that fans are demanding.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
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