The latest chapter in the will-they-or-won't-they saga surrounding the proposed megabout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is swaying far toward the side that says they won't.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told SI.com that the two sides are at an "impasse" and are unlikely to resolve their conflict before the Arum-imposed Thursday deadline.
The issues stem from a disagreement over drug testing. Mayweather wants Olympic-style blood testing, while Pacquiao is unwilling to be randomly tested in days close to the fight. Pacquiao's side said he would agree to be blood tested after the fight, but not in the days leading up to it. Arum said that Pacquiao would be OK with being blood tested three times: in January, 30 days before the fight and then immediately after the fight.
"Floyd, to me, is a coward and he’s always been a coward," Arum told the Grand Rapids Press. "Not a physical coward, but a coward because he’s afraid to face somebody who could beat him. And believe me, Manny Pacquiao could beat him. So he’ll go his way, we’ll go our way, and that’ll be fine."
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, stressed that the testing is desired solely so that the fighters are on a level playing field.
"It's important [to Mayweather] that we have these blood tests," Schaefer told SI.com. "HGH [human growth hormone] cannot be detected in urine tests. New types of EPO are only detectable by blood tests. This is not about embarrassing anybody or Mayweather trying to get out of this fight. If Mayweather wanted out, there were plenty of other chances for him to do it. This is about being fair."
Whether the whole ordeal is simply for promotion or whether the fight really is in serious jeopardy, the boxing world waits with bated breath.