PACMAN-MAYWEATHER  MEDIATION:  MUM'S  THE WORD,  FOR  NOW

MANILA, JANUARY 7, 2010
(MALAYA) Judge Daniel Weinstein enforces ‘gag’ order after 9-hour mediation talks.

REPRESENTATIVES of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. met for nine long hours on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) but failed to agree on a common ground, especially the drug-testing issue that has been the thorn in the negotiations for the proposed March 13 megafight.

Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, said all parties involved in the meeting, held in Santa Monica, California, were told to make no public comments by the mediator, retired federal judge Daniel Weinsten.

Aside from Arum and Todd duBoef of Top Rank, also present in the meeting, according to ESPN.Com, were Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer, Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather manager Al Haymons and the legal teams of both camps.

Boxingtalk.com said Arum was in good spirits when it contacted him several times throughout the day, but confirmed the mediation has yet to produce anything tangible.

Both Arum and Mayweather’s representatives agreed to the mediation in their bid to resolve the dispute over the methods and frequency of drug testing for the bout, set to be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Both boxers have agreed to extensive urine testing to be conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but Mayweather also demanded random blood testing. Pacquiao only wanted three blood tests, two before the fight and one after.

Pacquiao filed a lawsuit last week, alleging Mayweather and his backers have defamed him by accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs.

It was not immediately clear if the mediation talks will continue on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) but observers said the length of Tuesday’s meeting indicated the two sides wanted the talks to continue. Otherwise, both sides would have walked out.

Except for drug testing, both camps have settled every significant detail of the fight, with both fighters standing to make more than $25 million in a fight that is likely to be the richest in boxing history.

"Mediation is still ongoing," one of Top Rank’s lawyers told ESPN.Com.

Reached through his cell phone, Arum said he had no comment because Weinstein’s gag order, according to ESPN.Com, adding DuBoef said the same thing in an e-mail. Schaefer did not respond to a message.

Weinstein mediated a June 2007 settlement when Top Rank and Golden Boy were embroiled in lawsuits, including a battle over promotional rights to Pacquiao. Under that agreement, the lawsuits were dropped and Top Rank retained Pacquiao’s promotional rights, with Golden Boy receiving a percentage of Top Rank’s profits from his bouts.

If the mediation fails, Arum is ready to match Pacquiao with junior middleweight titlist Yuri Foreman, whom he also promotes, on March 20 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, giving the Filipino icon a chance to land a record eighth weight crown.

Mayweather could still fight on March 13 at the MGM Grand, possibly against junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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