By Robert Morales
Hall of Fame fighter Carlos Palomino once was introduced to Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, where Pacquiao trains under the guidance of Freddie Roach.
"I like Manny," Palomino said Wednesday to BoxingScene.com. "I met him when he first got here at the Wild Card. Nice kid, very respectful. But you have to look at things and be realistic."
To Palomino, it is not realistic for Pacquiao to walk away from so much money just because he doesn't want to adhere to Floyd Mayweather's request for Olympic-style drug testing that involves not only urine, but blood samples.
"I understand why they are asking questions, and they should," Palomino said of Team Mayweather, which Tuesday declared the fight with Pacquiao - tentatively slated for March 13 - would not take place unless Pacquiao agrees to the testing. "If this guy has nothing to hide, why not do it? You are going to give up 30 to 40 million dollars because you don't want to test? I think there is a problem there."
Pacquiao's camp claims Pacquiao is superstitious about having blood taken so close to a fight, and that the tattooed fighter doesn't like needles.
"I mean, come on, he can't take a blood test because of, what is it, religious beliefs?" said Palomino, who was then told of the aforementioned reasons. "Give me a break. Then Freddie Roach says, 'I'm not going to let my fighter take a blood test the day before the fight.' Why? What is it going to do? They are not going to take two pints. Then he (Roach) says Mayweather is looking for a back door out. Where there's smoke, there's fire."
Palomino was asked point-blank if what Pacquiao has accomplished in seven weight classes should be cause for concern regarding performance-enhancing substances.
"I've asked that question myself," he said. "When I'm watching him, man, just unbelievable. How could a guy be at 106 at one point and now be here? ... I can see they are saying something is going on here, 'We need to know if he is doing anything.' I understand."
Hopkins working on fight with Green
Bernard Hopkins was at the mall Wednesday in Philadelphia, shopping for Christmas presents like so many of us are. He said he is hopeful that Australian cruiserweight Danny Green - who Dec. 2 knocked out Roy Jones Jr. in the first round in Australia - will accept his offer for a 60-40 split. If Green does, the two will get it on in 2010.
Hopkins said as it turns out he and Green have a mutual friend who was involved in the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City and who is now involved in the gaming industry in Sydney, Australia, where Green beat Jones.
"The connection came by accident, but it makes things go smooth," Hopkins said to BoxingScene. "I have talked to Danny Green and we have started to get our pieces together. Gary Shaw (who represents Green) has to talk to Richard Schaefer (of Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Hopkins). But the deal has to be right. I'm not Roy Jones Jr. I don't need Danny Green to signify where I'm at."
Hopkins, who will be 45 on Jan. 15, said he would gladly fight fight Green in Australia or in the States.
"We are dealing with two markets because HBO wants to be in the business of when we fight and if we fight," Hopkins said. "Also the Australian market is obviously chomping at the bit. Right now we are just crossing the 'T's and dotting the 'I's, waiting to see if that 60-40 is enticing enough for Danny Green."
Hopkins doesn't see why it wouldn't be.
"When was the last time a boxing writer had to sit down and talk to a fighter who is less than 20 days from being 45, and to have people not want to take 2 to 3 million dollars to fight a 45-year-old?" Hopkins said. "I would be chomping at the bit if I was in my mid-30s or late 30s to fight a guy who is 44 years old, or 45, and could make a million dollars."
Hopkins won a unanimous decision over Enrique Ornelas on Dec. 2. Through no fault of his own, Hopkins had not fought in nearly 14 months even though he was coming off a sensational one-sided victory over Kelly Pavlik in October 2008.
"Sugar" Shane Mosley was up at his training camp in snowy Big Bear Lake, Calif., on Tuesday. He's there preparing for his Jan. 30 welterweight title fight against Andre Berto at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
It's a nice fight, but doesn't contain the money or hoopla a fight with either Mayweather or Pacquiao would have. But it's what Mosley has in front of him.
Mosley-Berto was formally announced on Nov. 14, the same day Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto in the 12th round. For months Mosley had been saying he would love to fight either Mayweather or Pacquiao, but it was all for naught because the feeling in the industry was that Pacquiao and Mayweather were on a collision course and there was no way either was going to sign to fight anyone but the other.
Now, of course, that fight may not happen because of Mayweather's demand that Pacquiao undergo Olympic-style drug testing from the beginning of the new year through the fight.
Still, it must have seemed strange for Mosley to be calling out both fighters, only to have his promotional company - Golden Boy - immediately take on Mayweather's side of the negotiations for the Pacquiao fight. Mayweather has only enlisted Golden Boy's help; he does not have a contract with the Oscar De La Hoya-owned company.
"Yeah, it's a weird thing," Mosley said to BoxingScene. "I don't really understand it. But some things you just can't understand. And, hopefully, it will come to light in the end what's going on. But I just don't understand what's going on."
Mosley didn't necessarily blame Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer for not getting him a fight with Mayweather or Pacquiao.
"Maybe Manny Pacquiao and those guys didn't want to do the fight with me or maybe HBO just wanted to make Mayweather and Pacquiao rather than myself versus Pacquiao," he said. "They felt that would have been a better fight. Other than that, I'm not sure what's going on with that."
Interestingly, Mosley said that his fighter contract with Golden Boy has run out, and that the only standing paper he has with Golden Boy is that of his partnership with the company. He was asked if he would consider fighting for another promoter.
"Not really because, I mean, what's another promoter going to do unless I go with Bob Arum?" he said. "I have to go with the promoter who can give me the fight I want."
Arum promotes Pacquiao.
That said, Mosley said he is not thinking along those lines at this juncture.
"No, not really," he said. "I haven't given any thought to any of that. If some people at Golden Boy aren't working toward making fights, I have to put on my promoter's hat and try to make these fights myself."
Mosley said he is hopeful that once Pacquiao-Mayweather is over - if it is indeed contested - he will get the winner. He realizes that it's all about demand, and that if fans and writers call for it, networks such as HBO will listen.
Mosley is 38, but he said is goal is to "put boxing on my shoulders for the next four years. I want to continue to fight the fighters who want to fight and take on all comers until I can't fight anymore."
Mosley thinks a lot of himself as a fighter. As well he should. He is a certain Hall of Famer and is coming off perhaps his best victory 11 months ago when he stopped Antonio Margarito in the ninth round.
"I'm the world champion, I'm the best welterweight in the world," he said. "I can't chase anybody around. They don't want to fight, retire, get out of my division and go somewhere else."
Asked if he would be willing to fight Paul Williams if Williams came back down to 147, Mosley answered in adamant tones.
"Anybody at 147, I don't care who you are," he said. "It could be Paul Williams, it could be this one, it could be that one. Land at 147, and it could happen. I'm not even choosing my fights anymore. That is how confident I am that I am the best."
Schaefer's Two Cents
Schaefer said that, first of all, Mosley is still under a fighter contract with Golden Boy.
"Shane is mistaken," said Schaefer, who said he would not get into specifics.
That out of the way, Schaefer suggested he has taken good care of Mosley. He agreed it's a shame that Mosley will end up being off for a year after Margarito, and that Mosley certainly was deserving of a fight with either Pacquiao or Mayweather.
"We pushed hard for a big fight," Schaefer said.
Schaefer said Mosley could have fought before Berto, but that Mosley wanted to wait and see if something would materialize with either of the other two. When it didn't, Schaefer said he went about securing a three-fight deal for Mosley with HBO for 2010. Two of those fights - the first with Berto - are slated for regular HBO. The other would be on its pay-per-view arm.
Schaefer also brought up a conversation he said he had with Mosley and De La Hoya back in 2007, before De La Hoya fought Mayweather in May of that year.
"Shane and me and Oscar were sitting here in my office talking about the Mayweather fight," Schaefer said Tuesday from his Golden Boy offices in Los Angeles. "Shane said he didn't really want to do the fight right then, that he wanted to take a cross-country trip with his family. Oscar said, 'You have first choice.' "
Schaefer said Mosley had made up his mind and that De La Hoya then took the fight with Mayweather instead.
"It's not like within the last couple of years that fight wasn't there," Schaefer said. "It was there. Do I think that eventually one of these fights are going to happen? Yes, I do. Shane is an unbelievable fighter and, for me, if Shane sits and doesn't fight, then we don't make any money. We have a percentage deal. I wouuld like Shane to fight every month."
Schaefer was chuckling slightly after that last remark, but he wasn't laughing when he said that as far as he is concerned, there are no problems with Golden Boy and Mosley.
"There are no issues," Schaefer said. "If someone doesn't want to belong with Golden Boy, or as a partner, then they move on."
Khan Testing The Waters
Roach recently told this reporter that his fighter, England's Amir Khan, was coming to the West Coast to talk with Golden Boy and Top Rank Inc. to see which company he wants fight for.
"He wants to fight here in America," Roach said to BoxingScene. "Golden Boy has the inside track."
Schaefer on Tuesday was asked about his discussions with Khan. Although he said nothing is imminent, he sounded excited about the prospect of Khan fighting for Golden Boy.
"I think Amir Khan is talking to a lot of people," Schaefer said. "I know he is talking to Top Rank, to us and to Lou DiBella. And he continues to have conversations with Frank Warren and I think he's assessing what his future will hold.
"His team around him is helping in trying to come up with the right promoter and the right situation and I don't think there is a promoter in the world who is not interested in signing Amir Khan. He is a young, exciting fighter and he has tremendous talent and a big following in the UK. With his exciting style, he figures to have a following in the U.S. as well."
Khan (22-1, 16 KOs), just 23, holds one of the four super lightweight belts.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram and BoxingScene.com.