x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Pacquiao title fight in danger

The promoter Bob Arum said initially that the fight was off due to Mayweather's demands that his opponent undergo Olympic-style blood tests but softened his stance later.

The proposed superfight between undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr and seven-time world champion Manny Pacquiao remained on the ropes last night after the two boxers' camps failed to reach agreement over blood-testing. The planned March 13 fight was due to be formally announced on January 6 in New York, after both parties agreed with unprecedented haste to split the $50million (Dh183.6m) purse, the $150m pay-per-view revenue and the 147lb weight limit. But following a barrage of verbal barbs from both sides, such an announcement now appears unlikely.

Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, said yesterday morning that the fight was off due to Mayweather's demands that his opponent undergo Olympic-style blood tests in the 30 days prior to the fight. "As far as I am concerned the fight is off," said Arum initially. "I think it's over and we're going to another opponent if there is no agreement. It looks to me like they want a way out of the fight. Mayweather doesn't want to take a chance of losing."

But he later softened his stance, leaving the door ajar and the ball in the court of Mayweather's promoter, Richard Schaefer. "Manny will submit to as many random urine tests as requested," said Arum. "Regarding the blood tests, he will subject himself to three tests, one given in January during the week the fight is formally announced, one 30 days from the fight, no later than February 13, and the final one immediately following the fight, in Manny's locker room." Such an agreement would render it impossible for Mayweather to have his wish granted that the test be carried out by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. "The major issue related to the testing rests with which independent agency will administer these tests," added Arum. @Email:gmeenaghan@thenational.ae