The Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao fight was finally signed last month after five years of waiting and anticipation — but now the May 2 boxing megafight could be in jeopardy if the fighters’ two camps don’t come to a quick agreement on a drug testing program. A new report from a Los Angeles Times correspondent now says that the fight could go down the tubes if either fighter fails a drug test.
The report by Lance Pugmire comes at the same time as another report, this one from ESPN boxing correspondent Dan Rafael, that the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather camps are suddenly “at odds” over the drug testing program.
This time, Mayweather is the one balking, even though he was the one who insisted on putting the strict program to monitor both combatants for performance-enhancing drug use in place.
Mayweather’s insistence on a PED program was the main obstacle that stopped the fight from taking place in 2009 — when both fighters were still at the top of their respective games — when Pacquiao refused to take part in the rigorous program.
This time, while neither fighter is refusing to submit to the drug tests, several of which have reportedly already been administered to each boxer, Mayweather has refused to agree to a penalty for failing the test.
According to Rafael, Pacquiao wanted each fighter to agree to pay a $5 million fine in the event of a failed PED test. But Mayweather threw cold water on the idea — and so far has not agreed to any penalty for a positive PED test.
“They have made derogatory statements for years about Manny, and now we challenged them by asking for the $5 million fine, and they refused to do it. It’s disheartening,” Pacquiao confidant Michael Koncz said.
Absent an agreement between the fighters, it will be up to Nevada state boxing authorities to decide what to do, and according to Pugmire, those boxing bosses may simply scrap the scheduled May 2 fight altogether — even though the bout is expected to bring in more hard cash than any previous event in boxing history.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) March 20, 2015
Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbee said that agreeing to the $5 million fine would limit how much Pacquiao would have to pay if he fails a drug test, and that if Koncz wanted the fine in place, he should have included it in the original negotiations.
“Michael Koncz is an idiot, and Manny Pacquiao should be ashamed to have him as his representative, in my opinion,” Ellerbee told Rafael. “If this moron didn’t convey his fighter’s wishes when the negotiation was going on, that’s their problem. This is a lame-ass attempt to generate publicity.”
With an anticipated $300 million, at least, on the line, a cancellation of the fight for any reason short of an incapacitating injury to either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao appears unthinkable. But as the five-year-long negotiations demonstrated, in the boxing business, even the unthinkable happens all the time.
[Images: David Becker/Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images]