Manila - Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao said a much-anticipated fight with
unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather was "near" after he agreed to a key
demand to undergo drug testing.
The eight-division world champion said negotiations were nearly
complete after he dropped his opposition to drugs screening - and even
suggested a $5 million fine if he tests positive.
"(The fight) is near. The negotiations are nearly finished," Pacquiao
told reporters on Monday during a break from evening sessions in
parliament, where he represents one of the Southeast Asian nation's
"We agreed that this fight has to happen. We are ironing out the
kinks. He (Mayweather) said he wants the fight to push through."
Boxing fans have for years been clamouring for a showdown between
Pacquiao and Mayweather, the two "best pound-for-pound" fighters of
Pacquiao is 57-5 with two draws and 38 knockouts, while Mayweather is 47-0 with 26 knockouts.
The mega-fight could go down in history as boxing's biggest and most
lucrative, with a British newspaper reporting at the weekend that the
pair had agreed to a $250 million deal.
However time is running out for fans to see them fight in peak form, with Pacquiao aged 36 and Mayweather 37.
In a brief television interview on Sunday, Mayweather denied a deal
had been signed but said he was "hopeful" the fight with Pacquiao would
In his comments on Monday, Pacquiao declined to say how much the deal
would be worth and gave few other details. However he said a rematch
clause in the contract was unlikely.
Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, last month ignited buzz over the fight
occurring in Las Vegas in May when he said negotiations in the
contracts had been "narrowed down to extraordinarily small points".
Among the many factors that have prevented the two from getting into
the ring in the past was a demand by Mayweather for a bigger share of
the fight's revenues.
Mayweather had also demanded strict Olympic-style drug screening that
would require blood tests 30 days before the fight, instead of a few
Without giving specifics of the current requirements by Mayweather about the drug testing, Pacquiao said that he had agreed.
"We agreed to their demand. In fact, I suggested a $5 million fine if I test positive for drugs," he said.
Another issue that needed to be resolved was the fighters' contracts
with rival television pay-per-view networks in the US. Mayweather is
contracted to Showtime while Pacquiao has a deal with HBO.
But there is a precedent. The last time Showtime and HBO made such a deal was for a Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis matchup in 2002.
A chance meeting between the two fighters during a January 29 Miami
Heat-Milwaukee Bucks NBA game, where the two were seen exchanging phone
numbers, raised hopes the blockbuster fight would happen.
A few days after that basketball court face-off, Mayweather posted a
photo on his Instagram account of himself in a huddle with Pacquiao.
"I set up this meeting with Manny Pacquiao to get this fight done," the flamboyant fighter wrote in the caption.
Pacquiao has turned up his taunts to Mayweather since beating American Chris Algieri in November last year.
It was his third straight win via unanimous decision after two
consecutive defeats in 2012, the first a controversial split decision
against American Timothy Bradley and the second a crushing knockout by
Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez.
"The ball will drop at midnight to usher in 2015. @FloydMayweather,
let's not drop the ball on each other next year #LetsMakeFistory,"
Pacquiao said in a Twitter post on New Year's Eve.
"@FloydMayweather Don't be a boxing humbug. Let's give the fans the
fight they want. They waited long enough," he said in another post.