LAS VEGAS, December 26 – Manny Pacquiao is ready to fight Floyd Mayweather after all, but the venue looks to be a court room rather than a boxing ring thanks to Pacquiao's Christmas gift to Mayweater – a lawsuit.
In a statement from the Phillipines that came early on Christmas morning in America, Pacquiao issued his first comments on the subject of his proposed March 13 fight with Mayweather being wiped out over blood test issues.
"Enough is enough," Pacquiao said. "I have tried to just brush it off as a mere pre-fight ploy but I think they have gone overboard.
"I say to Floyd Mayweather Jnr, don’t be a coward and face me in the ring, mano-a-mano and shut your big, pretty mouth, so we can show the world who is the true king of the ring."
The Filipino superstar dared Mayweather to climb in the ring and face him at Las Vegas as planned and revealed plans to file a defamation lawsuit against the US fighter in a few days over insinuations that Pacquiao is a dope cheat.
"I have instructed my promoter, Bob Arum, to help me out in the filing of the case as soon as possible because I have had people coming over to me now asking if I really take performance-enhancing drugs and I have cheated my way into becoming the No. 1 boxer in the world," Pacquiao said.
Mayweather insists upon US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) conducting drug tests for the fight under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) procedures, opening the fighters to random blood tests at any time and in the days before the fight.
Pacquiao does not want blood drawn at any time near the fight, especially the potential for a disruptive early morning call, and wants a private firm such as those who handle US team sports to conduct a compromise set of tests at specific times, not including the days before the fight.
Typical doping tests at a Las Vegas fight involve only urine samples, but Pacquiao was agreeable to blood tests to satisfy Mayweather, although Arum has said the issue was a ploy by Mayweather to avoid facing Pacquiao at all.
"I maintain and assure everyone that I have not used any form or kind of steroids and that my way to the top is a result of hard work and a lot of blood spilled from my past battles in the ring, not outside of it," Pacquiao said.
"I have no idea what steroids look like and my fear in God has kept me safe and victorious through all these years."
The inability to agree on dope test details has scuttled an otherwise finished deal and what could have been the biggest moneymaking fight in boxing history, bringing each man as much as 40 million dollars.
Mayweather’s father, veteran trainer Floyd Mayweather Snr, has accused "Pac-Man" of taking performance-enhancing drugs even though the Phillipines hero has never tested positive from any drug test.
Oscar de la Hoya, founding namesake of Mayweather-backers Golden Boy Promotions, wrote in a blog that Pacquiao’s reluctance to submit to random blood tests has people wondering about him, adding, "If you have nothing to hide, then do the test."
"These people – Mayweather Snr, Jnr, and Golden Boy Promotions, think it is a joke and a right to accuse someone wrongly of using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs," Pacquiao said.
"These people think they are doing the sport a great service. They are not."
While Arum has declared talks "over" and the bout finished due to the impasse, there was hope a Saturday compromise might be unwrapped, the Los Angeles Times saying arbitration was being considered to settle the issue.
"Pretty Boy Floyd, face me instead on March 13 in Las Vegas and not in some talk show forum or in press releases written for you by people who don’t even know me," Pacquiao said.
"Face me in a fight where I get to punch back. You and your cohorts have accused me of using performance-enhancing drugs. Now, I say, the burden of proof should now come from you, not me.
"To Floyd, despite all these accusations, may your Christmas be merry and I will see you in court, soon, too."
Mayweather, 40-0 with 25 knockouts, was regarded as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter before a 19-month layoff that ended last September.
Pacquiao, 50-3 with 38 knockouts, staked his claim on the pound-for-pound crown in Mayweather’s absence by knocking out England’s Ricky Hatton in the second round last May and stopping Miguel Cotto in the 12th round last month.