Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mayweather-Pacquiao could take place in New York

By Alexander Fugate: The world wants to see a Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao fight. As everyone who hasn’t been living in a cave knows by now, negotiations for this super fight fell apart over stringent drug testing that Mayweather wanted and Pacquiao refused. Since the Mayweather negotiations, Pacquiao, his trainer Freddie Roach, and his promoter Bob Arum have all repeatedly said they will not agree to the Olympic style drug testing that Mayweather wants all of his future opponents to undergo- UNLESS it is ordered so by the state athletic commission, of the state they would fight in.

There could be a breakthrough, as Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions announced in a recent conference call that Melvina Lathan of the New York State Athletic Commission has expressed that that commission is interested in that form of testing and is considering implementing these tests for future boxing matches in New York state. When asked about this revelation, Mr. Ellerbe responded, “…this is something that they’re considering and my interpretation from this; I think eventually all the commissions across the United States will eventually adopt it.” In the future all states may adopt similar testing, but as of now and the very near future, the New York commission is the only one considering such testing for PEDs.

If Olympic style drug testing becomes mandatory for all fights in the state of New York, then why not have Mayweather-Pacquiao in Madison Square Garden or outdoors at Yankee Stadium? After all Madison Square Garden has been home to literally thousands of boxing matches and some very memorable ones. Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Joe Louis, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, including their first fight against each other, are just a few of the many legends who have battled in Madison Square Garden.

This would allow Pacquiao to save face by not giving in to Mayweather and Mayweather would feel comfortable that his opponent is clean. It really would be a win-win, and there would be no excuse for either fighter not agreeing to it. If Mayweather refused everyone would view him as being afraid of Pacquiao, and if Pacquiao refused he would be seen as either a cheat or being scared of facing Mayweather. There have been many big fights and PPV boxing events in New York before and a fight at either Madison Square Garden or Yankee Stadium would almost certainly sell out well before fight night, regardless of how many seats are available. Hopefully, the New York State Athletic Commission is serious about this; if they are, they could bring their state many millions of dollars, through taxes, hotels, restaurants, and all the other revenue a city gains from hosting any mega-event that attracts people from all over the country. If they do adopt this form of testing for PEDs, the fight that would likely break records for revenue and PPV buys for boxing, and focus the limelight of professional sports on boxing for a positive reason (for a change), could very well take place in the not-too-distant future.

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