The delicate negotiations and long wait for a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight will move Wednesday to discussions between premium cable giants Showtime and HBO, which are scheduled to sort out a joint broadcast of the super-fight.
Boxing officials with connections to both fighters told The Times on Tuesday that both boxers have expressed agreement over terms of the purse split.
The officials talked under the condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the sensitive talks, which have collapsed in previous attempts dating to 2010.
The television part of the deal is not necessarily a slam dunk. There’s a fierce rivalry there too, with production controls, promotional shows and budgets to sort out.
There was a dual HBO-Showtime broadcast in 2002 for heavyweights Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, but HBO’s Lewis was the favorite -- he won by knockout -- and HBO produced the broadcast.
This time, Showtime has Mayweather (47-0), who will probably be favored in the bout and is drawing the heavier purse.
One official said, “Nothing’s done until it’s all done,” but acknowledged that if the pay-per-view deal is settled for what should become the most lucrative fight in boxing history, attorneys will draft contracts.
While Pacquiao leaves most of his negotiating to promoter Bob Arum, Mayweather is more hands-on, working alongside manager Al Haymon.
As The Times reported last week, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has been selected as the venue and a drug-testing plan, which a source said would be presided over by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, has been approved by both sides.
Although there’s a strong mutual push to make the fight, distrust between the parties remains.
On Tuesday, for instance, the Pacquiao camp expressed reservations that Mayweather would sign to fight and the Mayweather camp speculated that Arum might be more intent on making a Miguel Cotto-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fight on May 2 -- Cinco de Mayo weekend.
Both worries were shot down by the opposite side.
Mayweather will definitely be represented as the “A” fighter in the promotion, gaining a purse split in the 60-40 advantage, but he has made concessions to get the fight that’s expected to settle the debate over who’s the best fighter of his generation.
And Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach told The Times on Tuesday that he’s received assurances from Arum that the potential Mayweather-Pacquiao and Cotto-Alvarez fights will be comfortably separated on the calendar to allow Roach to train both Pacquiao and Cotto.
Roach said he’s under the impression May 2 is the date for Mayweather-Pacquiao, a Mayweather-imposed condition of the deal.
In September, Alvarez promoter Oscar De La Hoya told The Times he would move off May 2 if Mayweather-Pacquiao was made.
That seemed an unlikely proposition.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire