TORONTO (Reuters) - WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will put his title on the line against Ghanaian Joshua Clottey in March after talks for a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. fizzled out this week, the Filipino’s promoter said on Friday.
The planned fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr. broke down when negotiations between the two sides hit a snag over the American’s demand for a rigorous dope testing procedure.
Pacquiao’s new opponent beat Zab Judah of the United States for the IBF Welterweight title in August 2008 and lost a split decision to Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto last June.
“This is a better fight,” Bob Arum of Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “(Clottey’s) a real strong, aggressive and hard punching African from Ghana and he poses a real test for Manny.”
Arum said a location for the fight would be decided on Monday.
News of the Pacquiao-Clottey bout pours cold water over talk that a match with Mayweather, which was expected to be one of boxing’s biggest revenue-producing fights, could be salvaged in time for March.
Mayweather Jr. had issued a statement on Thursday that said he still wanted to fight Pacquiao, but Arum said any possible fight between the two sides would have to wait.
“There’s always later in the year and there’s next year, it’s up to Mayweather. But if he starts this nonsense again with testing or anything then let him take a walk,” said Arum.
“We are not going to get into a debate with him ever again on stuff that we know nothing about and that only regulators really can understand.”
Mayweather’s camp had called for random blood and urine sampling prior to and after the proposed fight with Pacquiao in March.
Pacquiao agreed to have blood taken for testing before the initial media conference and immediately after the fight but would not agree to have blood drawn within 30 days of the bout.
The commission that would have overseen the fight in Las Vegas only requires urine testing.
“We have commissions who regulate this sport, if (Mayweather Jr.) wants any special testing he should address it to the commission that will have jurisdiction over the fight,” said Arum.
Writing by Frank Pingue; Editing by Nick Mulvenney