Pacquiao Agrees to Fight Mayweather on March 13th

A May 2010 bout between Floyd Mayweather, left, and Manny Pacquiao likely would be the richest ever.
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NEW YORK (AP) - Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have
signed off on the major issues in the negotiation for a megafight on March 13, and contracts could be signed in the next few days, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum met with Pacquiao in his native Philippines on Friday and the charismatic champion agreed to terms with only minor changes, said the person, who requested anonymity because the sides agreed not to speak publicly during negotiations.

Arum planned to return to the United States on Sunday and present the amended terms to Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer, the person said. Schaefer is negotiating on behalf of Mayweather and his promotional company.

An announcement could come Tuesday, which would coincide with Arum's 78th birthday.

No site has been determined, but Top Rank plans to send a survey team to Dallas next week to examine the new, $1.2 billion Cowboys
Stadium, the person said. Team owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday
that the Cowboys "are still desirous of looking at what we can do."

The other possibilities are the New Orleans Superdome and venues in Las Vegas, including the MGM Grand and a temporary outdoor stadium on the Strip.

The fight would be at 147 pounds for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title, which he won in November with an impressive 12th-round stoppage of Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas.

Michael Koncz, who is advising Pacquiao, said Friday that the contracts need "fine tuning" but declined to elaborate. Koncz added that Pacquiao is "very comfortable" with March 13, even though it is only four months after his last fight.

"Manny has some additional requirements, requests, which Arum didn't think was a problem," Koncz said. "The requests of Manny were so realistic that Arum doesn't feel it's a problem and it's pretty much a done deal."

The bout could be the richest ever, assuming projections are accurate. Pacquiao's fight against Cotto sold 1.25 million pay-per-views, while Mayweather's comeback victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in September did 1.05 million.

The richest fight ever was in May 2007, when Mayweather's split-decision win over Oscar De La Hoya generated 2.4 million buys for $120 million in pay-per-view revenue.

The potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight certainly would generate
widespread international appeal, pitting the flamboyant Mayweather
against the man who most believe replaced him on the mythical mantle as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Pacquiao has won an unprecedented seven titles in seven weight divisions, although his popularity has grown far beyond the sport. He was featured on the cover of the Asian version of Time magazine, is wrapping up filming of an action movie called "Wapakman," and submitted his candidacy for the 2010 elections on Tuesday.

"The difference between Floyd and others I have fought is that Floyd makes a lot of trash talk that should not be imitated by young people," Pacquiao told GMA television, when asked about the potential matchup.

Pacquiao's political ambitions are the reason the fight was moved up to mid-March. He plans to start campaigning in April in his second attempt at a congressional seat.

"March 13 is OK," Pacquiao told GMA.

"Nobody knows his body better than Manny," Koncz said. "If Manny feels that that's plenty of time to rest and recover, then you know, he has to do what he feels is right."

Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach would again hold the start of camp in the Philippines, even though Pacquiao is such a national hero that hundreds of people trail him on morning runs and crowd around gym windows to watch him spar. Roach expressed concern about the distraction before Pacquiao demolished Cotto in the most impressive display of his career.

The Filipino champion has said he would spend about 12 weeks in camp, rather than the eight weeks he normally takes to prepare for a fight. That would mean Pacquiao would begin working out in about three weeks.