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Last ditch efforts to save fight

LAS VEGAS, January 5 – Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather jnr will go to mediation in a bid to salvage their March 13 mega-fight.Representatives of the two fighters will meet Tuesday with a California mediator in an effort to reach agreement on blood testing issues that have threatened to scupper the highly anticipated bout.

The mediator, retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein, was used by promoters for both fighters three years ago to resolve a dispute over promotional rights to Pacquiao.

Lee Samuels, a spokesman for Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, confirmed that Arum will be in Santa Monica, California, for the talks.

Pacquiao has been angered by the Mayweather camp’s insistence on doping control blood tests in the buildup to their welterweight showdown – a demand that has the March 13 fight in doubt.

Mayweather has said the blood tests, which could detect substances not found by urine tests, are vital to ensure a fair fight, although blood tests are not routinely used in boxing.

Pacquiao filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Las Vegas last week alleging that Mayweather and others defamed him by falsely saying he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

Spokesmen for both sides, however, said the lawsuit wouldn’t necessarily stop the fight from going ahead.

Pacquiao, who has supplanted Mayweather in the estimation of many as boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter, has earned titles in seven weight classes.

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Their fight could bring each as much as 40 million dollars. It had appeared to be virtually set after squabbles were settled over issues including the division of the purse and the type of gloves to be used, but the drug-test issue has proved a sticking point.

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