Megafight parties mum on talks

Representatives for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. abided by a mediator’s gag order Tuesday after meeting for nine hours in a desperate attempt to rescue the lucrative March 13 welterweight megafight in Las Vegas.

It was not immediately clear if the meeting before retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein brought the sides closer on their primary disagreement — random blood testing — or if talks would continue today.

“I can’t say a word,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said after the marathon session in Santa Monica, Calif. “We’re under a strict gag order.”

Top Rank is representing Pacquiao in negotiations, and Golden Boy Promotions represents Mayweather.

“We have nothing to say at this time,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said. “The judge asked us to not make any statements, and we’re abiding by his request.”

The sides agreed to meet with Weinstein in hopes of breaking an impasse over blood testing during the boxers’ preparation for the bout. Pacquiao’s refusal to accept Mayweather’s demand for random blood testing had thrown the bout into jeopardy.

Mayweather reportedly has backed off his insistence that Pacquiao comply with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency protocol that calls for blood testing anytime, including fight night. However, Mayweather remains adamant that Pacquiao submit to some sort of random testing.

Pacquiao has agreed to unlimited urine tests and is willing to take blood tests at the start of the promotional campaign for the fight, again 30 days before the fight and immediately after the fight at the MGM Grand Garden. To Mayweather’s side, that’s not random testing.

Last week, Pacquiao sued Mayweather, his father, his uncle and Golden Boy for defamation after Team Mayweather alluded on several occasions that Pacquiao has used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Mayweather has denied claiming Pacquiao used steroids. It is not known if the suit was an issue during the negotiations with Weinstein.

Tuesday’s meeting was the latest step in a wild, contentious attempt to reach an agreement for the highly anticipated fight. The fact that Top Rank has held off announcing a Pacquiao-Yuri Foreman fight for March 20 and Golden Boy hasn’t announced a Mayweather-Paulie Malignaggi fight for March 13 bodes well for the prospect of a megafight.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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