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Still just waiting for a sign

MICHAEL GEBELEIN
Sports Writer

Every time I see a headline with Floyd Mayweather’s name in it, an uncontrollable wave of happiness rolls over me, especially if the headline isn’t related to his various legal troubles. I always figure I’ll turn on the television one day, and the news will have broken that a deal has finally been reached that will pit Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao.
I saw Mayweather call out Pacquiao on Twitter last week. Even though there are plenty of business negotiations that have to be worked out before the fight can be set in stone, it felt like things were headed in the right direction.
Maybe it wasn’t quite as intimidating as showing up at his training gym, but there’s been no doubt over the past two years that it isn’t Mayweather who is dragging his feet.
A couple of days ago I was checking the various sports news websites that I frequent, and the first thing I saw was a report that Pacquiao’s next opponent will not be Mayweather.
Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, was quoted in Sports Illustrated stating that his fighter’s opponent would likely be one of four fighters, two of whom, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao has already beaten in the past.
I’ve read speculation that boxing fans are going to lose interest in Pacquiao-Mayweather if it doesn’t happen soon. But, in reality, people who love boxing are going to be waiting patiently for this fight even if both fighters retire before it happens.
Mayweather and Pacquiao with both have long gone into the old folks’ home and we’ll still be wondering whether maybe this year is the year it will happen.
But what could turn people off is the relentless interference of outside forces in postponing or otherwise delaying the fight. It was alright when the two were bickering over drug testing and splitting up the take. Those seem like perfectly rational things for athletes to argue about.
Arum tempered any speculation about the fight occurring in early May, which is what Mayweather called for in his tweets, by saying that it has to wait because Top Rank, Arum’s promotion firm, is constructing a new venue in Las Vegas that won’t be ready until June 9.
That’s eight days after Mayweather is scheduled to report to jail to begin an 87-day sentence that was the result of domestic violence charges.
Arum also made some vague argument that pushing the fight back several weeks would result in all parties involved making significantly more money.
Something about that argument stinks. I don’t know the ins and outs of setting up a major fight, but it doesn’t seem like one casino or another makes a huge difference.
Sure, you have to deal with a different mafia family, but in essence they’re all the same.
I still won’t give up hope that 2012 will be the year of what could be the greatest fight in the history of boxing.
Michael Gebelein is a sports writer with the Lincoln Times-News.

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