Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still pushing for a mega-fight with Manny Pacquiao, but key people around Pacquiao said Friday the Filipino star fighter's focus has shifted to a replacement foe, Joshua Clottey.
"If you concede to whatever Mayweather wants, that's giving him an edge," Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach said Friday. "We're bigger than Mayweather. We don't need him. We don't work for him.
"So, the way I feel now, we'll go fight Clottey, then we'll fight the winner of [Shane] Mosley and [Andre] Berto."
Welterweight Clottey (35-3) lost a close 2009 fight to Miguel Cotto, who was subsequently defeated by Pacquiao via a 12th-round technical knockout in November.
"It'll be a tough fight, not an easy fight, but better than some of the other names that were being thrown around," Roach said.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum went so far as saying he expects both fighters to verbally approve contracts sent to them in the Philippines and Africa, respectively. Arum will also tour Dallas Cowboys Stadium today, saying he expects to put Pacquiao-Clottey there March 13.
Behind the scenes, however, there is still movement in the Pacquiao and Mayweather camps to try to bridge the dividing line in their negotiations over when pre-fight random blood tests for performance-enhancing drugs should stop.
Pacquiao agreed to a blood test 24 days before a Mayweather bout planned for March 13 in Las Vegas, and another sample immediately after the bout. Mayweather wants the final blood test to come 14 days before the fight. "Isn't that reasonable?" asked Mayweather promoter, Richard Schaefer.
So there is a push to pitch Mayweather's blood test plan to Pacquiao once more before he arrives back in the U.S. to begin training Monday at Roach's Hollywood gym. Roach also said, "Mayweather can still say he's OK with the 24 days, and the fight's back on, right?"
That's not the case, according to Arum. "We have moved on," he said.
Schaefer is urging Mayweather-Pacquiao talks to continue, admitting a deal needs to be struck soon because of training schedules.
Arum's response: "He wants talks to continue. Who is he going to be talking to?"