ARUM  ULTIMATUM:  LEAVE  TEST  TO  NEVADA  COMMISH

MANILA, DECEMBER 28, 2009
(STAR) By Dante Navarro [Photo at left - Floyd Mayweather Jr.]

Top Rank’s Bob Arum yesterday issued an ultimatum to the Floyd Mayweather Jr. camp, giving them until Tuesday to agree to their final terms for the Manny Pacquiao-Mayweather bout to be held under the jurisdiction of the standard Nevada State Athletic Commission rules.

This developed as ESPN.com reported that Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which handles Mayweather, has formally backtracked on their USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) stance. Schaefer, however, maintained that additional “random” testing must be done for a deal to be struck.

But in an interview with Boxingtalk.com, Arum said that Team Pacquiao’s position is simple – “This fight will happen under the testing and regulations of every other fight before it or it just won’t happen.”

Under the NSAC rule, no blood tests would be done for PEDs as the commission only tests urine.

“Our position is that since the fight would be held in Nevada, let the Mayweather side make any petition it wants to the commission,” Arum said. “We wash our hands of it. If the commission wants to take blood, fine.”

It is, however, unclear if just a request from the Mayweather camp will have the NSAC enlist a third party to do blood testing or not.

In a recent interview, Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada Commission, said the NSAC would welcome a third party blood testing if requested.

The top boxing website also added that the GBP has received Team Pacquiao’s final offer and will have until Monday or Tuesday to make up their mind.

The Mayweather camp has earlier demanded that Pacquiao take an un-required blood test, giving the impression that his recent successes might be due to some type of performance-enhancing drug.

But Pacquiao said his success was due to his hard work and dedication and then announced the filing of a defamation lawsuit against Team Mayweather.

The Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown, billed as the fight the world wants to see, has been set March 13 at the MGM Grand at 147 pounds where the Filipino champion is staking his WBO welterweight crown.

Pro boxing yearender: Manny shows the way By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) Updated December 28, 2009 12:00 AM

[Photo at left - Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire]

MANILA, Philippines - Seven-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was the undisputed headline-maker in the sport this year and his status as the universal No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter paved the way for the most ever title bouts involving Filipinos during a 12-month period in history.

Pacquiao, 31, figured in only two bouts in 2009 but both were monumental. He knocked out England’s Ricky Hatton in two rounds to wrest the IBO lightwelterweight crown in Las Vegas last May then halted Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto in the 12th to capture the WBO welterweight title, also in Las Vegas, last month.

When the smoke cleared, Pacquiao emerged as the only fighter ever to win seven world titles in seven weight divisions, breaking out of a tie with Oscar de la Hoya, Tommy Hearns, Hector Camacho and James Toney who collected six.

For the year, there were 16 world championship bouts with Filipino protagonists. Filipino fighters won nine, lost five and drew two. Six Filipino world titlists reigned during a highly productive year – Pacquiao, WBO minimumweight Donnie Nietes, IBF lightflyweight Brian Viloria, WBC lightflyweight Rodel Mayol, IBF flyweight Nonito Donaire and WBO superflyweight Marvin Sonsona.

Today, only four Filipinos remain on top of the world – Pacquiao, Nietes, Viloria and Mayol. Donaire relinquished his IBF crown to annex the interim WBA superflyweight diadem while Sonsona lost his belt on the scales and was held to a draw by Mexico’s Alejandro Hernandez in what would have been his first title defense.

The Filipinos who won in world title fights were Pacquiao (over Hatton and Cotto), Nietes (over Erik Ramirez and Manuel Vargas, both in Mexico), Viloria (over Ulises Solis and Jesus Iribe), Mayol (over Edgar Sosa), Donaire (over Raul Martinez) and Sonsona (over Jose Lopez).

The losers were Juanito Rubillar (to Giovanni Segura for the WBA lightflyweight title), Mayol (to Ivan Calderon on a technical decision for the WBO lightflyweight title), Sonny Boy Jaro (to Segura), Eric Barcelona (to Simpiwe Vetyeka for the IBO bantamweight title) and Bernabe Concepcion (to Steven Luevano on a disqualification for the WBO featherweight title). Recording draws were Mayol (with Calderon) and Sonsona (with Hernandez).

At the end of the year, 26 Filipinos were listed in the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO world ratings. In the minimumweight 105-pound division were WBO champion Nietes, Denver Cuello (No. 4 WBC, No. 10 WBA, No. 12 IBF, No. 13 WBO), Milan Melindo (No. 1 WBO, No. 3 IBF, No. 3 WBA, No. 5 WBC) and Florante Condes (No. 6 IBF, No. 8 WBO, No. 15 WBC). The lightflyweights were IBF champion Viloria, WBC champion Mayol, Johnriel Casimero (No. 4 WBO), Jaro (No. 3 WBC, No. 7 WBO, No. 13 WBA, Juanito Rubillar (No. 7 WBC), Bert Batawang (No. 9 IBF) and Edren Dapudong (No. 3 WBO, No. 6 IBF, No. 11 WBA).

Richie Mepranum was the only Filipino ranked flyweight as the No. 8 WBA contender. The superflyweights were Z Gorres (No. 8 WBC, No. 10 WBA), A. J. Banal (No. 14 WBC, also No. 5 WBA, No. 5 IBF and No. 7 WBO bantamweight), Drian Francisco (No. 4 WBA, No. 6 WBO, No. 8 IBF), Fernando Lumacad (No. 9 IBF) and Federico Catubay (No. 12 IBF). The bantamweights were Michael Domingo (No. 7 IBF), Gerry Peñalosa (No. 2 WBO) and Jundy Maraon (No. 5 WBO).

Ranked in the superbantamweight 122-pound ladder were Ramie Laput (No. 4 WBO), Ciso Morales (No. 9 WBO) and Balweg Bangoyan (No. 11 WBC).Concepcion was the only Filipino rated featherweight at No. 4 by the WBO. Michael Farenas was ranked No. 15 superfeatherweight by the WBO and Mark Jason Melligen, No. 15 superlightweight by the WBA. Pacquiao is recognized as the welterweight titleholder by the WBO. Curiously missing in the ratings were Donaire and Sonsona.

Interim world champions by year-end were Donaire and WBO lightflyweight Casimero.

Pacquiao’s influence opened the window for Filipino fighters to display their wares in the undercard of his two Las Vegas bouts this year. In the Pacquiao-Hatton undercard, Concepcion pounded out a six-round decision over Colombia’s Yogli Herrera. In the Pacquiao-Cotto undercard, Eden Sonsona stopped Israel’s Eilon Kedem while Mepranum outpointed Colorado’s Ernie Marquez.

Pacquiao also provided the push for Top Rank to stage “Pinoy Power 2” at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas last August where Donaire beat Panama’s Rafael Concepcion, Mark Jason Melligen knocked out Mexico’s Ernesto Zepeda and Concepcion lost to Luevano. In another Las Vegas card last month, Z Gorres lost consciousness after decisioning Colombia’s Luis Melendez, Melligen bowed to Mexico’s Michel Rosales and Catubay was trounced by Mexico’s Juan Alberto Rosas.

Boxing enjoyed a renaissance on Philippine shores. Solar Sports produced “Pinoy Power 1” with Donaire and Viloria as the main eventers in separate encounters at the Big Dome last April then got its new series “Boxing at the Bay” off to a strong start with Francisco mowing down Panama’s Roberto Vasquez at the Cuneta Astrodome last October. There were also major shows in Cebu, Tagbilaran City, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro, Ozamiz City, Davao City and Kidapawan.

Additionally, Pacquiao perked up even more interest in local boxing by training for Cotto several weeks with Freddie Roach and Colombian conditioning coach Alex Ariza in Baguio City. While in the City of Pines, Pacquiao drew hordes of visitors – including Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

Among future world champions, ALA Boxing Gym’s Banal and Rey (Boom Boom) Bautista continued to make headway in their rise to the top. Banal, 20, chalked up three wins this year, trouncing Nouldy Manakane, Mbwane Matumla and Jose Beranza to raise his record to 20-1-1, with 16 KOs. Bautista, 23, ended almost a year’s layoff to recover from hand surgery and stopped Indonesia’s Maragin Marbun for the vacant WBC International featherweight title to improve his record to 27-2, with 20 KOs.

On a sad note, Gorres underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his skull after the Melendez fight in Las Vegas. He will no longer be able to fight. And last September, Pacquiao’s former business manager Rod Nazario passed away at the age of 74.

Next year, more Filipinos are expected to see action in world title fights. On Jan. 23, Viloria will defend his IBF 108-pound title against Colombia’s Carlos Tamara and Nietes will stake his WBO 105-pound crown against Mexico’s Ivan Meneses at the Cuneta Astrodome. Morales will challenge WBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel of Mexico on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas and Marvin Sonsona is likely to take on Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for the vacant WBO superbantamweight crown in San Juan in March. Pacquiao will be back in the ring, maybe against Floyd Mayweather Jr. or WBA superwelterweight king Yuri Foreman, in March. Eden Sonsona, Melindo, Francisco, Donaire, Casimero and Banal are close to sealing title shots in what promises to be another successful chapter in Philippine boxing history next year.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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