Manny Pacquiao is all smiles at the final bell after dominating a 12-round… (Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images )
Reporting from Arlington, Texas — What Manny Pacquiao most effectively accomplished in his one-sided punching-bag treatment of Joshua Clottey is that he has kept the intrigue of a future showdown with unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. as topic No. 1 in the boxing world.
There remain troubling signals fired by important people around that possible mega-event, however, that cast uncertainties about whether the bout will happen.
Mayweather isn't taking questions about Pacquiao, making that clear at a recent Los Angeles news conference in which his people even veered him from Filipino reporters. Questions about why Mayweather's call to exceed Nevada State Athletic Commission drug-testing standards needed to be intensified for this fight went mostly unanswered beyond Mayweather's dubious stance that he is the face of the sport and that boxing needs to be cleaned up.
Valid point, suspect timing.
Saturday, Pacquiao out-punched Clottey by better than a 3-1 advantage and won every round but one on two judges' scorecards to defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title in front of 50,994 at Cowboys Stadium.
His promoter, Bob Arum, then turned to what's next for his boxer and told reporters he was still kicking himself for agreeing to make an alternate, Olympic-style drug-testing plan part of negotiations with Mayweather.
A compromise — even through mediation — was never reached, and the super-fight planned for Saturday was scrapped.
"The only way a fight can be made with Mayweather is if he signs the contract, terms are already agreed upon, and lets extraneous issues be handled by the boxing commission who has the authority to handle those issues," Arum said. "Stupid Bob Arum made like [former British prime minister] Neville Chamberlain did with Hitler and negotiated something I never should have."
Pacquiao made it clear in the ring and at the post-fight news conference that, ‘I want to fight Floyd Mayweather. The people want to see that fight. It's up to him. For me, there's no problem, but I don't think he's ready to fight me."
Asked what compromise could help resolve the stalemate, Pacquiao told HBO that if Pomona's Shane Mosley upsets Mayweather (40-0) on May 1 in Las Vegas, then it would remove Mayweather from his perch as one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
"And then I'll fight Mosley," Pacquiao.
It's not that easy, of course. Mayweather negotiated a rematch clause that would force Mosley to fight him again if he's victorious.
Pacquiao's cut-to-the-chase trainer Freddie Roach added, "Floyd, let the commission do its job and get in the ring and fight us."
To which Mayweather promoter Richard Schaefer said, "There we go again. All this is disrespectful to Sugar Shane Mosley, who has an incredible fight with Mayweather coming up.
‘The best course of action is to stop talking about Mayweather. [Team Pacquiao] says it wants the fight, but then they say there's this, then and that for it to happen. Maybe there'll be a time a fight with Mayweather … and Pacquiao will be discussed, but that time is not now."
Roach said he's confident of a victory in a would-be match, of course, and Clottey said he'd like stablemate Pacquiao over Mayweather too.
"I'm very strong, but this guy [Pacquiao] is so very, very fast," Clottey said. "Manny Pacquiao will give anyone he fights a lot of problems, a lot."
The possibility of landing Mayweather is viewed as so remote within some at Arum's Top Rank promotional company, though, they say the 2010 plan for Pacquiao goes like this:
Let him get through the process of running for a congressional seat in the Philippines (elections are May 20), inspect the Mayweather-Mosley outcome, and see whether Mayweather's team initiates any contact or shows an interest in softening its drug-testing demands.
Another wild card in this process could be the involvement of HBO, which stands to benefit in a lucrative way if network powers can play a role in resolving the conflict.
For now, Pacquiao is said to have three options for a fight in November: a third match against Juan Manuel Marquez (they had a 2003 draw and 2008 narrow decision won by Pacquiao), Tijuana's former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito or the unbeaten lightweight champion from Mexico, Edwin Valero.
"It's up to my promoter," Pacquiao said.
Arum said he was "blown away by the presentation" of Jerry Jones' mammoth stadium, and wouldn't hesitate to bring Pacquiao back in November.
"Boxing should never be the same again after [Saturday] night, we took this sport to a new level," Arum said.
Margarito will return May 8 from his license revocation caused by nearly boxing last year with hand wraps containing plaster. Arum said he'd like Margarito to then headline a June card at Cowboys Stadium that will be heavy on Latino fighters.