With time ticking away, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is losing hope of convincing undefeated boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. to sign the contract and make his highly anticipated mega-bout with Manny Pacquiao to happen later this year.
"We have heard nothing from (Floyd)," Arum said as the self-imposed deadline set by Top Rank for the flamboyant welterweight to agree to the scheduled November 13 fight ends this weekend.
"But hey, it's not the end of the world," added the 78-year old veteran promoter as quoted by USA Today. "If it doesn't happen this year, hopefully it will happen next year."
Like the rest of the world, which has been craving to see two of the world's top pound-for-pound fighters clash inside the ring, Arum himself said he'll be disappointed if all the talks that took place between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions – which represented Mayweather – won't materialize.
But then again, he said he won't take it against Floyd Jr. and the rest of the Mayweathers if and when the bout considered by many as the biggest in boxing history won't push through.
"I'm trying to rationalize it, and if it's because he may be reluctant to fight now because of the problems his uncle (and trainer Roger Mayweather) has, then I understand it," Arum said.
Roger Mayweather, Floyd Jr's long-time trainer, is going to trial by August following a battery charge involving a female boxer he once handled.
But Arum has a back up plan in case the Pacquiao-Mayweather match doesn't materialize.
While the Top Rank big boss is open to a Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto II for the Puerto Rican’s World Boxing Association (WBA) light-middleweight crown, Arum is actually leaning more on a showdown with former two-time world champion Antonio Margarito of Mexico.
Arum is intrigued at the prospect of staging the fight in Monterrey, Mexico, believing it will draw a lot of interest since it would be the first time Pacquiao would be fighting in a country most of its warriors the seven world division champion had been beaten in the past.
"They'll go absolutely nuts for this," said Arum, well aware that Pacquiao has been dubbed the 'Mexican Assassin,' after beating the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Jorge Solis, Hector Velasquez and Oscar Larios.
"They have a new arena in Monterrey. The governor wants it, the city wants it, and Manny is not reluctant to fight a Mexican in Mexico."
For being caught wearing an illegal substance in his hand wraps, Margarito was suspended and has not been issued a license to fight for a year in any US state. The ban, however, doesn't cover Mexico.
Margarito is also considered a top contender for the WBC light middleweight crown vacated by Sergio Martinez, now the new middleweight champion.
If ever the fight gets a green light, Arum didn't discount the possibility of having the WBC 154-pound belt at stake, giving Pacquiao a shot at extending his record of winning an eighth world title in eight different weight divisions.
_________________2009-2010 MVP JAMES "THE MAN WITH A MILLION MOVES" YAP