LAS VEGAS -- Promoter Bob Arum yesterday delivered what he said would be his last proposal to salvage the mega- fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., which has been on life support over a blood testing dispute.
Under Arum's proposal, the Nevada Athletic Commission would have the final say in how much testing there would be for the fight and when it would take place.
Preparations for the March 13 fight would go forward and there would be three blood tests -- none within 30 days of the fight -- unless the commission decided otherwise at a mid-January meeting.
"We will go along with what the Nevada commission decides. We will give them a blank cheque," Arum said.
Arum said Pacquiao's side would go no further than the proposal, and that he will begin negotiations today with Paul Malignaggi for the March 13 date.
The position is tougher than earlier statements by those in Pacquiao's camp that there could be a compromise on blood testing if it is not done by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and in the final days before the fight.
It leaves the fate of the fight in jeopardy since there would likely be little appetite by Nevada regulators to go beyond the urine tests now required by state law.
All other issues were earlier resolved, but the nasty dispute over attempts by Mayweather's camp to introduce stringent blood testing to pro boxing for the first time make it increasingly unlikely it will happen.
Mayweather's representatives backed off their insistence on using the USADA over the weekend, but continued to insist on random blood and urine tests with a cutoff date mutually agreeable to both sides.
Pacquiao's camp seemed willing to agree to that up until the last few days, when the conversation turned from testing to slander lawsuits against those alleging that Pacquiao used performance-enhancing drugs to move up in weight to win titles in seven different weight classes.
"It's all either a smokscreen because Mayweather doesn't want to do the fight or an attempt by (Mayweather promoter) Richard Schaefer to smear Manny Pacquiao," Arum said. "We will deal with that legally."
If the fight is not held March 13, there is still a chance it could happen in September after the two have other fights.
Tim Dahlberg is a New York-based columnist for The Associated Press