Mayweather changed his stance Saturday, moving off the hard line he had taken on using USADA as the testing agency.
"We are OK to move off USADA," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who is representing Mayweather, told ESPN.com. "What we're saying, and what is important to us, is four things -- that the tests be random, that they include blood and urine and the time frame, meaning when do you stop the tests before the fight but know they will still be effective. Three of them we have agreed on -- random, blood and urine. So now it is a matter of the two sides working out the specifics of the cutoff date to assure it will still be effective."
Arum's new stance is he'll do whatever the Nevada commission states - even if that means blood testing. The problem is that the commission is hardly prepared:
"We're very confident that urine tests by themselves cover everything that needs to be covered, but if the camps want to do additional testing through a third party they are welcome to, as long as they also adhere to commission rules," Kizer told ESPN.com. "Urine testing we could run with today. We could test their urine every day from now until March 13. But blood testing is trickier because we don't require it. If the commission wanted to change the rule it would have to be at a public meeting and, at the earliest, that would be early to mid-January. We have done some urine testing during training camps. We have those protocols in place. Blood testing is a different story.
"We'd have to put it on a commission agenda. Golden Boy or Top Rank or both could ask for blood testing and we'd look into it. Whether it would go anywhere, that's up to the commission to decide. As of now, there are no plans for a special commission meeting, nor has one been requested from either side."
I want to remain optimistic about this fight happening and am hoping all of this posturing eventually seals the deal. But what if the negotiations fail? What if the biggest fight in any combat sport in a generation is lost? Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook doesn't like what he sees:
But for the sake of argument, say this whole deal is really in serious jeopardy. Then I can offer only one thought. Boxing has built up a lot of goodwill in the last couple of years. Folks have come back to the sport, and have come to it for the first time, and business has picked up. While still a niche sport (which will always be the case), boxing has gotten itself back up near the level of where UFC is at in America, and for the biggest fights, boxing still seems to capture the general public's interest a bit more than even Dana White's machine.
But if Pacquiao-Mayweather truly falls apart, boxing pisses that goodwill away in America. If they offer farces like Pacquiao-Foreman, Pacquiao-Malignaggi or Mayweather-Matthew Hatton, a lot of people are going to see right through this crap, declare boxing corrupt again, ruled by men that don't care a lick for the sport's best interests.
And frankly, they'll probably be right. Letting this fight dissolve would be an enormous blow to boxing's present and future. There is NO suitable substitute fight, nothing that will get the watercooler talk going anywhere near this level. Mayweather-Marquez and Cotto-Pacquiao were big, big fights. Huge fights. Mayweather-Pacquiao is quite literally a combination of the buzz those two fights generated. We're talking about a fight that is potentially going to threaten the all-time PPV record and likely break the records in Vegas, too.
It can't not happen. And that's why I don't think there's a very good chance it gets called off for real.