By Scott Heritage
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Today marks the final day for negotiations between Golden Boy and Top Rank regarding a March 13th fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
The first part of the negotiating phase went surprisingly smoothly, all the big decision were made easily and without any disagreement between the two sides. Of all things it was an extra testing demand from Mayweather which eventually upset the apple card and threatened the fight.
Despite the fact that the fight is still up in the air at this point (the final announcement will come later today), there are those who believe this whole thing has been nothing more than a headline grabbing publicity stunt propagated by the always wily Bob Arum and Richard Schaefer. A lot of people will be fully expecting Bob Arum to appear today with a glint in his eye and a spring in his step, jazz hands waving in excitement as he announces that the fight has been made and will go ahead on March 13th.
If that is the case, then he and Golden Boy will have fooled most of the fans and media into thinking the fight was ever in any danger. A drug testing argument is hardly a good way to hype up any fight, but it sure does get peoples attention, perhaps more so than the usual arguments over the purse split or weight contract. After all performance enhancing drugs are something which affect all sports and the casual fans and mainstream media aren’t going to be that interested in what kind of gloves the fighters are wearing or what the penalties are going to be for either of them missing weight.
There are those people out there saying that if the fight now goes ahead without the testing that Mayweather wanted, that the fight will be tarnished. Realistically though, although there are always a few doubters, most will have forgotten all about the testing debacle by the time the fight rolls around, and the winner will still get his due.
I’m not saying this is definitely what happened, but its certainly food for thought. Christmas and New Years are generally pretty quiet on the boxing front, and yet this story has kept the fans interested and the stories churning out consistently over the entire holiday season. Also at the start of the negotiations both parties were saying that the terms would be kept secret until the fight was formally announced, and yet every step of the negotiations were quickly known to the press. Call me a crazy conspiracy nut if you want, but there might just be something to this.
When you think about it, the whole issue over the testing was rather pointless anyway, Manny is a clean fighter and gets tested the same as everyone else. The testing he offered to do would have exposed any kind of drugs he was taking , and the random blood testing was unnecessary. Even the dreaded EPO enhancer drugs (For a little background on them click here) which are hard to detect do not clear out of the system very quickly, and would certainly be detectable immediately after the fight.
Manny on his part was apparently under the impression that Golden Boy had ties with the USADA and could somehow influence them to take blood close to the fight which would interrupt his training and make his arms sore. Not a big deal in most professions, but to a boxer this is potentially fight changing.
Even if the fight is put off, the drug testing disagreement could be a cover for the fact that both fighters want a tune up fight and would prefer the fight later in the year. Obviously neither fighter could come out and say that they wanted an easier fight first before the mega fight. But at the same time if Manny takes a different fight first and intends to retire after his next two, having Floyd as his final fight would have a certain extra impact, perhaps both on sales and his legacy. For both fighters having the fight now would perhaps dull the demand for either of them to fight Shane Mosley, Yuri Foreman and the other names being mentioned.
Scott Heritage covers both MMA and Boxing make sure to visit his Website to read his other articles:http://www.examiner.com/x-20066-Pittsburgh-Fight-Sports-Examiner