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Mayweather jailed but still center of attention

They will be in opposite corners Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden. But when it comes to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley can stand together, because neither fighter expects to be staring across the ring at Mayweather anytime soon.

Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight champion, has been trying for more than three years to make the fight. The latest attempt this spring saw Pacquiao offering a 45-45 split, with the other 10 percent of the purse going to the winner. Mayweather rejected the proposal and offered Pacquiao a flat $40 million, which he rejected.

“If you are a fighter, would you fight if I give you $40 million and nothing to share in the pay per view?” Pacquiao asked rhetorically. “I would not fight for that. He will be laughing behind my back if I did that.

“It’s not a proper negotiation if you’re a businessman.”

Bradley, the WBO junior welterweight champ, said the businessman in Mayweather wouldn’t consider fighting him – even if he were to beat Pacquiao on Saturday and be far more marketable.

“He’d say I’m a new fish on the scene,” Bradley said Wednesday as he and Pacquiao held their final news conference at the MGM Grand. “He’ll say, ‘You’ve still got a lot to prove, Bradley.’ You know how it goes. Mayweather isn’t going to fight me.”

Mayweather, the WBA junior middleweight champion, beat Miguel Cotto on May 5 to win his seventh world title. The 35-year-old is serving an 87-day sentence for domestic battery at the Clark County Detention Center.

MGM Resorts has plans to construct a 40,000-seat stadium behind the Luxor and Mandalay Bay for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. But it wouldn’t be built unless both sides agreed to a two-fight deal.

Right now, they can’t agree to one fight. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, showed a copy of a contract drawn up in December 2009 that Mayweather reportedly approved that called for a 50-50 split of all revenue from the fight. At the time, it also called for random Olympic-style drug testing up to the night of the fight.

Pacquiao initially resisted the drug-testing clause and then agreed to it provided the testing ceased 14 days before the fight. Mayweather rejected that condition.

“Every time Manny agrees to Mayweather’s terms, he changes the deal,” Arum said. “Mayweather agreed to the 50-50 split. Now he doesn’t want 50-50. As long as there’s parity (financially), Manny will fight Mayweather. But it takes two to make a fight. … All (Mayweather) keeps yelling about is, ‘Take the test.’ The drug testing is no longer a sticking point. Manny has agreed to the drug testing.

“We could sign the contract tomorrow if he lived up to the terms of the 2009 agreement. It’s their document.”

Bradley (28-0, one no contest, 12 knockouts) said he believes Mayweather won’t fight Pacquiao.

“Every time they try to make the fight, it never happens,” Bradley said. “There’s always an excuse. They’re never going to fight, period. Floyd is going to have to give or Manny’s going to have to give. They’re going to have to meet in the middle, and I don’t think they’re capable of doing that.”

Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) said he is aware of Mayweather’s incarceration. But he’s not sure he’ll pay him a visit while in Las Vegas this week.

“I’m concentrating on Saturday’s fight,” Pacquiao said. “But I’d be open to visiting him. It’s hard to say right now. Whatever God’s will is. I will continue to pray for him.”

■ NOTES – Pacquiao is a minus-480 betting favorite at the MGM Resorts sports books, with Bradley at plus-360. … Friday’s weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden begins at 3 p.m. and is open to the public. Doors will open at 1. … As of Wednesday afternoon, the fight had not sold out.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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