The long wait for Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao isn’t over yet, but words long absent from the anticipated super-fight have been spoken.
“We’re making progress,” a boxing authority involved in the talks told the Los Angeles Times on Friday.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because no one in the Mayweather-Pacquiao talks is authorized to discuss them publicly.
Boxing’s top two pound-for-pound fighters have failed to make a deal for more than five years, but after Mayweather (47-0) dominated Marcos Maidana in September, he was more encouraging than ever about the bout, and Pacquiao said the mega-bout “has to happen” after knocking down previously unbeaten Chris Algieri six times in November.
While a final agreement has not been struck on the purse split, the official said the sides made noticeable progress on the subject in Thursday negotiations.
Mayweather sought a split at least 60-40 in his favor, and Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) expressed a willingness to meet that.
The parties have already agreed to stage the fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and they’ve also agreed on a drug-testing plan. A date remains unsettled. It’s believed the bout is being targeted for May or June.
“The calendar is a factor,” the official said of the urgency to finalize the deal soon, estimating it could get done in seven to 10 days.
A disagreement over drug testing ruined attempts to make the fight in 2010, when a full term sheet had already been finalized.
Then, Maywewather wanted the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to conduct full testing, including blood screens, and Pacquiao declined.
The specifics of the drug-testing deal this time were not revealed.
As the sides continue to work on the purse split, premium cable networks Showtime and HBO also need to work out the details of televising the bout. Mayweather is under contract to Showtime for two more fights, and Pacquiao has an HBO deal.
It’s believed the networks are pursuing a plan to televise the bout jointly, as was done with the 2002 heavyweight title fight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.
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