Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told RingTV.com on Monday that he plans to pursue a bout between THE RING’s No. 2-ranked pound-for-pound, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound, Manny Pacquiao.
Negotiations for a megabout between the 32-year-old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs), who is promoted by Top Rank Inc. and whose CEO is Bob Arum, and Mayweather, who is handled by Golden Boy, have failed twice over Mayweather’s insistance on Olympic-style random drug testing.
But Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs), who turns 35 in February, announced last week that he will make the first defense of the WBC welterweight belt he won in September by stopping Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) against an opponent to be determined on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Schaefer wants that “opponent” be Pacquiao.
“I think that Floyd Mayweather has made it very clear that he wants the big fights, and that he wants the biggest possible opponent. By that, I think that everybody knows that he means that the biggest possible opponent means that you’ve got to start from the top, and that’s obviously a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight,” said Schaefer.
“But that’s assuming that Bob Arum wants to get the fight done. We’re not going to be talking about that this week. This week, of course, the focus is going to be on Pacquiao’s next fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. But after that, there will be plenty of time to talk about that match up between Mayweather and Pacquiao.”
Pacquiao, meanwhile, has Saturday night’s defense of his WBO welterweight belt at the MGM Grand against THE RING ’s No. 5-rated pound-for-pound and RING lightweight champ Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs), owner of the WBO and WBA belts.
Pacquiao has an ongoing lawsuit against Mayweather, accusing him of defamation and asserting that the fighter has continued to insinuate publicly that Pacquiao’s title-winning success over eight weight classes is the result of having used performance-enhancing drugs.
But Arum told RingTV.com that neither the lawsuit nor the drug testing would be an issue for Pacquiao to make a bout against Mayweather.
“That’s [lawsuit] not a problem,” said Arum. “That’s something that could probably get worked out as part of a negotiation.”
Prior to his past two victories over Shane Mosley and Ortiz in May of last year and in September, Mayweather required that his opponents undergo Olympic-style random drug testing of urine and blood that was conducted by United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Arum also said during a recent conference call that any past issues Pacquiao might have had with random drug testing have been laid to rest.
“There are no issues as far as Manny Pacquiao is concerned with Olympic-style drug testing,” said Arum.
“For two years, Manny Pacquiao has said that he would agree to random, Olympic-style drug testing. Manny Pacquiao has said that he would do it.”
SCHAEFER DISMISSES MAYWEATHER-ERIK MORALES RUMORS
Notions that negotiations are ongoing for Mayweather to face newly-crowned WBC junior welterweight beltwinner Erik Morales (52-7, 35 KOs) in his return bout are “absolutely not true,” said Schaefer, adding, “there is absolutely zero truth to the Mayweather-Morales thing.”
The 35-year-old Morales (52-7, 35 KOs), of Tijuana, Mex., became the first Mexican-born fighter to earn a fourth title in as many different divisions with a 10th-round knockout over previously-unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano (22-1, 17 KOs) of Mexico City on the Mayweather-Ortiz under card.
Morales has the option of making a voluntary defense before he has to entertain a challenge by southpaw Ajose Olusegun of Nigeria, said Schaefer. Morales is the last man to have beaten Pacquiao, doing so by unanimous decision in March of 2005.
Since losing to Morales, however, Pacquiao has won 14 straight fights, eight of them by knockout, including stoppages in the 10th, and, third rounds over Morales in January and November of 2006.
SCHAEFER EYES SAUL ALVAREZ-JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR.
For at least the past two months, Schaefer has been focused, in part, on the potential for an all-Mexican clash of unbeatens between 25-year-old WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KOs) and 21-year-old WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (38-0-1, 28 KOs), at one point, mentioning April as a target month.
Alvarez is promoted by Golden Boy while Chavez Jr. is handled by Top Rank Inc.
“One fight which Alvarez is interested in and which I’ve had some preliminary conversations with Bob Arum about — maybe a month and a half or so ago — is a potential fight between Alvarez and Chavez Jr.,” said Schaefer. “My intentions are to see if I can get together with Bob in the next few weeks and discuss that possibility.”
Chavez suffered a hand injury in August that forced him to pull out of a defense against Ronald Hearns that was slated for Sept. 17, but is scheduled to face Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs) on Nov. 19.
“Canelo has a fight against Cintron, and there is the Chavez Jr.-Manfredo fight,” said Schaefer. “Once those fights are out of the way, I want to see if we can get that fight done. We’ll have to see.”
WHERE DOES JAMES KIRKLAND FIT INTO THE MIX?
Schaefer did not rule out a potential clash featuring Alvarez and once-beaten southpaw junior middleweight James Kirkland (30-1, 27 KOs), who rose from a first-round knockdown to score Saturday night’s sixth-round stoppage of Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17 KOs) in an HBO-televised slugfest from Cancun, Mexico.
The 27-year-old Kirkland was just two fights removed from his lone defeat — a first-round knockout to Nobuhiro Ishida.
Meanwhile, Angulo had never been stopped, was known for his sledgehammer fists, and was looking for his sixth straight knockout over the course of as many consecutive wins since losing by unanimous decision to Cintron in May of 2009.
“I think that for Kirkland, that was not only a victory, but it may have eliminated any and all demons that he may have had in his mind from that Ishida fight. This was a statement that James Kirkland is back at 154,” said Schaefer.
“I believe that he made it known that he’s better and stronger than ever, and that he’s ready to take on any one of the name fighters, including Saul Alvarez. So we just have to see. I have to talk to our matchmakers and see what’s going to happen next.”
Dropped 30 seconds into the fight, Kirkland floored Angulo just prior to the bell ending the first round, setting the tone for a bout that could yet earn Fight of The Year honors, if not, that for Round of The Year.
“I think that it was a terrific performance and one of the most exciting fights that I’ve ever seen, and certainly, without a doubt, one of the most exciting rounds I’ve ever seen. I mean, that first round, where Kirkland went down and then Angulo was down, that was incredible,” said Schaefer.
“Kirkland was dropped in the first round and he came up and turned things around. Of course, now, there is no reason to rush, but James Kirkland wants the big fight, and he deserves the big fight. I think that we have a pretty good track record of delivering the big fights.”
SCHAEFER TOUTS WELTERWEIGHT DOUBLE-HEADER TO HBO
Schaefer said that he was in New York on Monday to speak with HBO officials concerning a Jan. 28 welterweight double-header featuring a rematch between former southpaw WBC welterweight beltholder Ortiz and IBF counterpart Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) and former WBC/IBF junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) against former IBF junior welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi. (30-4, 6 KOs).
The 28-year-old Berto rebounded from April’s unanimous decision loss to Ortiz by dethroning Jan Zaveck (31-2, 18 KOs) as IBF titleholder by fifth-round knockout in September, stopping Zaveck for the first time in his career.
Ortiz was dropped in the second and sixth rounds by Berto, whom Ortiz floored in the first and sixth. Ortiz and Berto are ranked Nos. 3 and 4 in their division by THE RING, respectively.
The 24-year-old Alexander is the WBC’s No. 1-ranked welterweight, having lost his WBC junior welterweight title following an 11th-round technical decision loss to Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) in January.
Alexander rebounded with June’s 10-round decision win over hard-hitting RING No. 5-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse (28-2, 26 KOs).
Malignaggi, meanwhile, has won three consecutive welterweight bouts since losing by 11th-round knockout to WBA/IBF junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) in May of last year. Malignaggi, who turns 31 on Nov. 23, is coming off a one-sided 10-round unanimous decision victory Orlando Lora (28-2-1, 19 KOs) on Oct. 1.
SCHAEFER SAYS MARCOS MAIDANA-MALIGNAGGI NOT LIKELY
Although he acknowledged it to be an intriguing match up, Schaefer said that a rumored clash between Malignaggi and hard-puncing, WBA interim junior welterweight beltholder, Marcos Maidana (31-2, 28 KOs), of Argentina, is unlikely to happen in the near future.
“Marcos Maidana is used to making a certain amount of money, and there is no money out there, no date and there is currently no network for a fight like Maidana-Malignaggi right now. So at this point, then, Devon Alexander would fight somebody else, and Malignaggi would have to sit around and hope for a fight with Maidana,” said Schaefer.
“Would it be good fight and an interesting fight? Yes. It would be a puncher against a boxer, and it would be a darned good fight. So I’m not saying that fight would never happen. I’m going to be talking to the Malignaggi people today and I would just need to see if they want to wait and sit around.”
Maidana is coming off consecutive wins over Morales and Peter Petrov (29-3-2, 13 KOs) in April and September by decision and fourth-round knockout, respectively.
The victories helped Maidana to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight and current WBA/IBF beltholder Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs), during which Khan floored Maidana in the first round and survived a difficult 10th round to win in December.
“There are a lot of fights that I would like to do, but you have to see what is available from a money point of view and from the point of view of the dates with the network. You have to work within that context,” said Schaefer.
“I’m not going to be finalizing anything right there, but I’m going to be discussing the fights that I think should go on and then I have to go and talk to the fighters. There’s a lot of work involved, and we’ll see what we can put together.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photo by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Roberto Fernandez, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com