Floyd Mayweather, Jr. grew angry with reporters who asked about his planned fight against Manny Pacquiao, when they confronted him before the NBA All Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest Saturday night, according to a report in the New York Daily News Sunday.
Mayweather’s irritation was triggered by reporters asking him about a report that surfaced earlier on Saturday. That report stated that negotiations for the Pacquiao fight had finally concluded and that, after months of talk, the richest matchup in boxing history was finally a “go.”
Boxing experts remained skeptical of the report, however, noting that the supposed news claimed only that Manny Pacquiao had signed his contract, and that he was still waiting for Mayweather to sign. But Pacquiao has announced that he has agreed to Mayweather’s terms on numerous occasions previously.
Mayweather, on the other hand, is the “A-side” of the fight, and until he overcomes his reluctance to ink a deal, Pacquiao’s declarations of willingness to fight are not worth the paper they’re written on.
And when reporters cornered Mayweather at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn prior to the NBA event, he appeared unwilling to even discuss the Pacquiao fight.
“Can I ask you a question?” Mayweather told the reporters, according to the Daily News account. “Please, can I ask you a question? Is this a boxing match? Are we at a boxing match? No, this is the All-Star game. I’m at an All-Star event. Please respect my privacy. I don’t want to answer any questions.”
But despite Mayweather’s irked refusal to comment, rumors that the fight was a done deal took on new momentum when former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, who more recently has served as a boxing commentator for Showtime, the network that has Mayweather under exclusive contract, took to Twitter to declare the fight deal done.
See ya’ll in Vegas May 2 im hearing its a done deal man I should commentate this fight, it’s deserving of the best pic.twitter.com/FuDmkViHTQ
— MagicMan 5X Champ (@AntonioTarver) February 14, 2015
Tarver’s word, boxing analysts say, carries extra weight because he is reportedly a trusted confidant of behind-the-scenes boxing kingmaker Al Haymon, who closely advises Mayweather.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, who has been accused by Mayweather’s camp of obstructing the negotiations himself, told The Washington Post that despite the optimistic reports, he does not expect Mayweather to finally sign the contract.
“It’s the same bull****,” Arum said. “His people negotiate, then they say there’s no negotiations, then Mayweather never steps up to the plate. It just solidifies my feeling all along that Mayweather doesn’t want to fight Pacquiao. He never did.”
According to the Daily News report, an announcement about the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Many Pacquiao fight will likely come later in the week — but whether that announcement will be that the fight is on or off remains unknown.
[Images: Alexander Tamargo/Elsa/Getty Images]