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Pacquiao to fight new opponent

While Floyd Mayweather Jr’s camp believes his prospective bout with Manny Pacquiao can be saved, Pacquiao’s promoter says he’s moving on.

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After six weeks of contentious negotiations failed to produce a compromise on Mayweather’s insistence on stringent drug testing for the bout, Pacquiao has made plans to fight welterweight Joshua Clottey in mid-March, Top Rank boss Bob Arum told The Associated Press.

“This is crazy. We’ve moved on,” Arum said.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who works with Mayweather, wasn’t ready to give up.

He’s worried Top Rank hasn’t told Pacquiao that the potential richest fight in boxing history could be saved if the Filipino star would agree to take a blood test for performance-enhancing drugs 14 days before the proposed March 13 bout – just 10 days later than Pacquiao already agreed.

“I am hopeful that this fight can still happen,” Schaefer told the AP.

“No matter what, Floyd Mayweather will fight at the MGM Grand (in Las Vegas) on March 13. I hope the man across that ring will be Manny Pacquiao.”

Schaefer was angered when Arum came out of the camps’ mediation hearing on Tuesday blaming Mayweather for the fight’s collapse, saying Mayweather wouldn’t agree to a final blood test 24 days before the bout.

Schaefer claims Top Rank turned down a compromise of 14 days on New Year’s Eve, but he wasn’t sure whether Pacquiao – who’s at home in the Philippines – was involved in that decision.

Both fighters stand to make much more than $US25 million ($A27.27 million) apiece from the much-anticipated bout.

“If they don’t want to do the fight, they should have said it a long time ago and not messed around,” Schaefer said. “Anything Bob states (about the mediation) is wrong, and there are absolute lies.”

That’s almost exactly the sentiment of Arum two days earlier, when he said Mayweather turned down a mediation deal setting the blood test at 24 days before the bout. Schaefer said there never was such a deal.

Arum said he relayed the 14-day proposal to Pacquiao’s camp in the Philippines and was turned down.

“We did transmit it to (Pacquiao adviser) Michael Koncz,” Arum said.

“We can’t say what went on the mediation. We’re not permitted to, but if it ever came out what happened in the mediation, it would make all of this an absurdity. Manny Pacquiao was informed and rejected it as it happened, and we communicated to (Golden Boy executive Bruce) Binkow that it was a nonstarter.”

No matter who’s right, the negotiations have turned personal and poisonous between the two dominant American boxing promotional companies.

Arum and Mayweather, who worked together earlier in Mayweather’s career, traded blows through the media this week, with Arum calling Mayweather “a psychological coward” and criticising Schaefer, who said he heard about Arum’s insults through his children.

“He has a tremendous dislike for Floyd and Oscar (De La Hoya) and myself,” Schaefer said. “It’s unbelievable and frankly embarrassing for me and my kids.”