By Robert Morales
Promoter Bob Arum certainly has not given up on a fight between his Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. But that fight would lose a lot of luster off its shine if Mayweather were to lose to Victor Ortiz on Saturday or Pacquiao were to lose to Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12.
It was therefore no surprise to hear Arum handicap Saturday's fight minutes before he played host to a news conference last week in Beverly Hills promoting Pacquiao-Marquez III slated for MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"I think Ortiz is a good, young fighter," Arum said. "But he's really inexperienced and in fighting Floyd he's fighting a guy who really knows boxing. So I don't give Ortiz much of a chance to beat Mayweather.
"I mean, he's going to try. But I just don't give him a chance."
Arum makes sense. And that's exactly what he wants if and when he sits down again to try and successfully negotiate a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather - common sense.
"As far as a Mayweather fight with Pacquiao, we've wanted to do it for well over a year - almost two years," Arum said.
"They have to come to the table after November. If they come to the table, that's our first choice. But we're not going to chase them."
Arum was just getting warmed up.
"They keep raising this issue about blood and urine testing and that really gets me angry because we have now said it's no longer an issue," he said. "We will exceed to these tests. But again, it can't be done in a stupid, childish way.
"It has to be done under the jurisdiction of an athletic commission because the athletic commission has to supervise and the reports have to go to the athletic commission because otherwise you've got this testing group that's functioning outside of the regulatory scheme of boxing and that's not going to work.
"And Mayweather can't be stupid. He or his people have to realize that this has to be structured."
Arum said the United States Anti Doping Agency can still be used, but in conjunction with the given athletic commission.
"What's happening now in the Ortiz fight is idiotic, idiotic," Arum said. "They're supposedly testing and so forth. Who are they reporting to? Nobody knows. None of it makes any sense. And once you try and bring some sense into it, then the demigods take over and it's, 'Oh, you're hiding this,' and, 'You're hiding that.'
"No, but you gotta do things in an organized way."
Schaefer, Kizer Chime In
Richard Schaefer is CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Ortiz. Golden Boy also has helped Mayweather promote his past several fights. Schaefer was read some of Arum's aforementioned quotes over the telephone. He had little to say.
"The reports from USADA are being furnished to the athletic commission, that's all I really can say," Schaefer said of the Olympic-style blood and urine testing taking place for Mayweather-Ortiz at the behest of Mayweather.
That's not entirely accurate, according to a conversation we had with Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
"They are not sending any of the results," he said of USADA. "But they said, 'If we get any positives, we'll let you know ASAP.' If there was a positive, I think they would all know about it."
Kizer did say that after the Mayweather and Shane Mosley fight in May 2010 - in which there was Olympic-style testing agreed to by the sides - USADA furnished the athletic commission with results of every test taken for that fight a week or two after it was over.
Interestingly, Kizer noted that with all its talk about being able to randomly test right up to the fight, USADA did not take any blood for the last two weeks for that one; urine tests ran into the week of the fight.
Back to Saturday's fight, Kizer said he had "no idea when the last blood test was or the last urine test was by USADA (for Mayweather-Ortiz), but ours was about a month ago."
Kizer said that surprise test of Ortiz and Mayweather by the commission came back with clean results.
First Things First
Kizer said Nevada's five commissioners have the ability to accommodate special testing requested by promoters for a given fight; it would be paid for by the promoters. Schaefer briefly addressed that.
"I had some discussion with Bob (Arum) when I had lunch with him a few weeks ago," Schaefer said. "And I think when the time is right, what we need to do is get together and see what can be worked out.
"But my only real focus right now is on the Mayweather-Ortiz fight. ... I'm not really thinking about anything else, knowing when the time comes it will be properly addressed."
Oh, What a Relief it Was
So there was Marquez last week, sitting on the dais in a ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hotel. A reporter asked the question: Did you think that perhaps you were never going to get this third fight with Pacquiao?
It wasn't what Marquez said in response, it was the expression on his face.
"Yes, I think that third fight was not going to happen for me," said Marquez, 38, who fought Pacquiao to a draw in 2004 and lost a split-decision to Pacquiao in 2008. "But I feel happy because I want this fight. Everybody knows I want this fight."
Marquez acknowledged that Pacquiao has changed for the better since their first two fights.
"He's working with the right hand," Marquez said. "In the past he was working more with the left hand. Right now, he uses two hands."
Arum said Marquez has also improved.
"The fact that Manny has improved and is now a two-handed fighter and moves and his movement, his defense, is better. That's clear, Manny is a better fighter now than when he fought Marquez," Arum said. "But Marquez is a better fighter now than when he fought Manny.
"What Marquez is doing now that he wasn't doing before is - it's OK to be a counterpuncher and you can throw a guy off being a counterpuncher - but now he's a counterpuncher with real power and that's why he's knocking guys out for the first time."
Marquez is 53-5-1 with 39 knockouts. As a lightweight, he's 5-0 with four knockouts.
Two of those stoppages were of Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis - both in the ninth round.
"When he was a featherweight, he never knocked guys out like this," Arum said. "But now he's sitting down, so he's able to knock out a Katsidis or a Diaz. That makes him a lot more dangerous because his punches are resonating a lot more than they did before."
Ortiz Hating on Reporters
What is up with Ortiz? The guy showed incredible courage to overcome a very rough childhood, yet he can't get past some negative press he experienced when he walked away in his fight against Marcos Maidana in June 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
That much was evident during a recent conference call when Ortiz was asked about his alleged difficulties making the 140-pound weight limit; Saturday will be his second fight at welterweight (147).
"I never had trouble making 140," Ortiz said. "The media, for some reason, took it out of proportion; completely mixed it around in the media. And of course, they wrote what they thought if they were me and them in my shoes, would be like.
"So whatever they felt they needed to put out in the media, they did. And, of course, the media is always very negative because they sit around all day long, day in and day out, feeling sorry for themselves. It's none of my fault. I mean, I'm sorry, that you don't have a life, like really."
One would think a reporter was responsible for Ortiz not wanting to continue during the sixth round against Maidana, who won by TKO.
Donaire To Perhaps Fight in Manila
Arum was asked if the possibility exists for a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout to be held in Manila - sort of a Thrilla in Manila II.
"No, not really," Arum said. "But it's a possibility we're going there sometime next year. There is a new arena that's going to open in Manila in a place called the Mall of Asia in a very convenient location in Manila.
"It will seat 16,000 and we're reserving that. One of the initial events there will be a boxing championship with Nonito Donaire."
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, and BoxingScene.com