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article imageReports from Floyd Mayweather camp say he badly wants Pacquiao

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 16, 2015 in Sports
They've been dancing around the idea of fighting one another for five years and all manner of speculation has been offered as to why they haven't. One persistent rumor has been that Floyd Mayweather was ducking Manny Pacquiao to stay unbeaten.
Showtime exec: Mayweather wants Pacquiao
Not so, says Stephen Espinoza, an executive at Showtime, the subscription television broadcaster Mayweather is under contract to. Tim Dahlberg, who covers boxing for the Associated Press, spoke with Espinoza, who is involved in these negotiations between the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps and was part of prior negotiations that never bore fruit, and Espinoza said that Mayweather has always wanted the fight.
He's always wanted it but never so much as he does now, Espinoza said. And Espinoza, the man that brought Mayweather to Showtime in 2013, says that this time it really is go time as far as Floyd Mayweather is concerned.
"Personally I've been involved in these negotiations continuously since the very first in 2009," Espinoza said. "I can say I'm not sure there's a point where I personally observed him wanting it more than over the last few months."
With that endorsement the fight seems a lock, and that's been the word for a week or more now. From Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, to officials in Mayweather's camp and the boxer's themselves in postings on social media, the word is they will fight in 2015, and likely in the Spring or early summer, with May 2 the date most often heard.
The fight will happen at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where both fighters have spent a lot of time in the ring, and the method of drug testing has been agreed to. While some reports have said the split has also been agreed to, at 60-40 in favor of Mayweather, other reports suggest that is not so. Whatever the issues, they're not there. Yet.
Espinoza: Fight negotiations ongoing
Now Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, who managed Mayweather once, with the break-up being less than friendly, said last week that Pacquiao has agreed to all the terms being asked of him and that it is up to Mayweather to sign. But that's surely a jab at his former client because Espinoza said neither side has a contract they are satisfied with.
"We're making meaningful progress but if we were running a race we would still have a ways to go," Espinoza told Dahlberg. "Everyone is trying to get to the finish line as soon as possible."
This is certain to be the richest fight in boxing history and Espinoza, in talks with HBO about how they might televise the bout jointly (Pacquiao is with HBO) said time has not diminished the potential gate. Why? Because interest hasn't diminished in seeing the two best pound for pound fighters in boxing get into the ring together.
"Hard core fans wish it would have happened five years ago but that doesn't mean they won't watch it," he said. "There doesn't seem to be any diminution of public interest in this fight even though it has taken awhile to get to this point."
There's talk that another week will see the deal signed but Espinoza feels it'll take longer. But given the money involved, and how badly Floyd Mayweather wants to finally make it happen, expect the announcement to come anywhere from late January to mid-February.
Then the training will get underway and then one of the most anticipated bells in boxing history will finally sound.
More about Floyd mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Showtime, HBO, boxing fight mayweather pacquiao
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