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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Schaefer holding out hope as Pacquiao turns to Clottey

Posted Jan. 8, 2010 at 02:55pm
By Michael Rosenthal

Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, the promoter of Floyd Mayweather Jr., hasn’t given up on the showdown with Manny Pacquiao on March 13 even as Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey appear to be closing in on a deal.

Schaefer said the fight can be saved if Pacquiao agrees to have his blood tested 14 days before the fight, which is the midpoint between the cutoff dates each fighter wanted –- Pacquiao 30 days, Mayweather any day up to the fight.

Schaefer said he made the 14-day offer before negotiations went to mediation but it was rejected by Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter. Arum and the Pacquiao camp said no such offer was made before or during mediation.

Pacquiao, worried that giving blood too close to the fight would weaken him, has agreed to move the cutoff date up to 24 days before the fight. Mayweather rejected that offer.

“These are lies,” said Schaefer, referring to Arum’s denial that a 14-day offer was made. “I can’t say Pacquiao is lying because maybe Arum never told him. We sent a Blackberry text message (before mediation) to float the idea. (Top Rank President) Todd duBoef wrote back saying it’s a no-go.

“Clearly, they knew about it. Assuming that Pacquiao isn’t lying, he must not have known about it.”

Schaefer said that the 14-day cutoff is an reasonable compromise.

“I cannot find a reasonable person who doesn’t think that’s a fair compromise,” he said. “If Pacquiao walks away from what I and most people consider a fair compromise, then so be it. There’s nothing I can do. I do hope that (Pacquiao) has not been told. He should be told now, though.

“This is a message from Floyd to Manny: Here, we’re being reasonable. Let’s split it down the middle and do this fight.”

The Los Angeles Times asked Arum his opinion of a 14-day option.

"We had a (mediation) deal based on 24 days, but we said it's all off the table if (Mayweather representatives) get a no from Floyd, and they got a no," he told the newspaper. "So the train has left the station. We have moved on. We don't want to talk about Mayweather anymore until the fall."

duBoef said that he was instructed by lawyers not to comment on anything related to the mediation.

Schaefer didn’t want to talk about prospective opponents for Mayweather because he holds out hope that the Pacquiao fight can still be made, although he did say Mayweather will fight someone -- even if it's not Pacquiao -- on March 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Schaefer added that Arum, exploring options for Pacquiao, asked whether Golden Boy-promoted Juan Manuel Marquez would be interested in fighting Pacquiao.

The Mexican veteran -– 0-1-1 against Pacquiao –- told Oscar De La Hoya that he would be interested in a third fight but only at 140 pounds, with a 50-50 split of the purse and blood testing two weeks before the fight. That probably eliminated Marquez from serious consideration.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao and former welterweight titleholder Clottey reportedly are near an agreement to fight on March 13, possibly at the new Cowboys stadium in Dallas.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, said on ESPN that Pacquiao and Clottey are "close" to a deal but that there is still time for Mayweather to save the fight -- presumably by agreeing to the 24-day cut off.

Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site that a delegation from Top Rank is scheduled to travel to Dallas this weekend to complete a deal with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Pacquiao originally targeted Paulie Malignaggi when it first appeared his showdown with Mayweather was falling apart. Malignaggi was deemed an unworthy opponent by the Pacquiao camp.

Then they turned to junior middleweight titleholder Yuri Foreman, a Top Rank-promoted fighter who would provide Pacquiao the chance to win a belt in an eighth weight division. However, Pacquiao was concerned about a Foreman’s height -- 5-11 (180cm) to Pacquiao’s 5-6½ (169cm).

Clottey, a tough slugger from Ghana, lost a split decision to Miguel Cotto on June 13, his most-recent fight. Cotto subsequently was knocked out by Pacquiao in the 12th round of their Nov. 14 fight.


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