Do either party really want it?
Finding completely accurate and honest pay per view figures on either fighter is never easy, and representatives from both camps have cast aspersions over the figures released by the other. Regardless, Pacquiao and Mayweather remain the biggest draws in the sport at the moment, achieving in chronological order, reported pay per view sales of:
Mayweather vs Cotto 1.5 million
Pacquiao vs. Marquez III 1.25 million
Mayweather vs. Ortiz 1.25 million
Pacquiao vs. Mosley 1.2 million
Mayweather vs. Mosley 1.4 million
With sales like this, against decent but usually relatively easy competition, there is presently little incentive for either to want to fight the other.
Should they ever fight the pay per view figures achieved might well eclipse the all time record of 2.4 million set by Mayweather against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Immediately after this though, the selling power of the loser would be dramatically diminished.
Despite whatever else they might say to the media, neither seems really that keen on risking one big payday followed by much reduced income against numerous easy pay days for the forseeable future.Neither is the kind of fighter who fights purely for the enjoyment of it anymore. Both look to the bottom line before signing up for any fight and both know their days at the top are numbered. And even if the fighters themselves were keen on risking it all, their respective promoters still certainly aren't.
Because both fighters are now so used to being the top of the bill and having things their own way, finding common ground in terms of the conditions of a fight have also proved to be difficult.
During previous negotiations Mayweather was alleged to have demanded greater than 50% of the purse split. Being the slightly bigger seller some saw this as a reasonably request.
Not surprisingly, Pacquiao, his representatives and fans didn't see things the same way. Since both are huge stars and would make more against each other than either could alone, they argued that the purse split should be completely equal, regardless of which is the bigger seller against other competition.
Pacquiao claims that Mayweather's demand for more than 50% of the purse came about only during the second round of negotiations. He was quoted at a recent press event in the build up to his fight against Tim Bradley as saying:
"The only thing preventing a fight between Floyd Mayweather and me is Floyd Mayweather. He no longer wants to split the pay-per-view revenue with me equally, something he agreed to in our first negotiation."
Mayweather meanwhile continues to talk about the other big issue to the fight being made, namely random drug testing.
The Drug Testing Issue
The major sticking point in past negotiations between Mayweather and Pacquiao has always been the drug testing protocol that both fighters would adhere to before the fight.
Mayweather and several of his relatives have flat out accused Pacquiao of being on some kind of performance enhancing drugs in the past and as a result have demanded a regime of random blood and urine testing prior to the fight.
Initially Pacquiao refused, and in response launched a defamation suit against Floyd, his father Floyd Sr. and uncle Roger Mayweather.
Pacquiao's reason for refusing the random testing chiefly being that he claims having blood drawn too close to the fight would weaken him which he says he experienced in a previous loss to Erik Morales.
In the intervening years since the first round of failed negotiations, Pacquiao has seemingly given up some ground on his previous stance, although now claims that Mayweather's altered purse demands make this a moot point anyway.
Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum has recently said to the press that Pacquiao would now agree to undergo fully random drug testing as demanded by Mayweather. Whether this is enough to entice Mayweather into another bout of prolonged and likely fruitless negotiations is unclear.
Supporters of either side have painted both as the real villains of the piece although a completely clear and unbiased picture of the situations remains as ever difficult to come by. At this stage it seems both fighters have more or less given up on ever fighting each other. Which of the two history will remember as having stopped the fight from happening will remain to be seen.
Oddly enough one side effect of the whole debate seems to have been that several other fighters of a similar mind to Mayweather regarding testing have started demanding random drug testing programs of their own for opponents. With several high-profile fighters having recently tested positive for performance enhancers including Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson, the random testing movement seems likely to spread.