Leading Off

Will Floyd Mayweather draw another line for Manny Pacquiao to cross?

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. poses for a photograph with a fan during the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. poses for a photograph with a fan during the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York. AP

Will Mayweather fight or draw another line?

After years of tough talk and speculation, could this finally be the week that the boxing world will announce its long-awaited megafight of the millennium between undefeated Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao for the title of world’s greatest aging boxer?

With nobody left to fight on the playground at the School of Hard Knocks, it’s about time.

And it appears we can thank Pacquiao for finally stepping up and making this happen – if it does happen.

For years, Mayweather drew lines in the sand that Pacquiao would not step across.

First, Mayweather demanded Olympic-style blood tests that Pacquiao refused to take.

Then Mayweather insisted on taking a bigger share of the loot from gate receipts and what unquestionably would be a record-breaking pay-per-view audience.

While Pacquiao balked for years – and lost a considerable amount of his negotiating leverage after losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Márquez – Mayweather boasted loudly that Pacquiao was afraid to fight the best.

Until now.

It’s been reported that Pacquiao has stepped across both lines, agreeing to be tested for performance-enhancing drugs 30 days in advance of the targeted May 2 bout – reportedly in Las Vegas or AT&T Stadium in Dallas – and is willing to take 40 percent of the estimated $200 million-plus pie to Mayweather’s 60 percent.

That’s a lot of pie, no matter how you slice it.

But now that Pacquiao is seemingly toe-to-toe with the greatest boxer of this generation, what will Mayweather do? Will he also agree to the fight, risking his reputation as the pound-for-pound best and his 47-0 record, or take one step back and draw another line in the sand?

– Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


What to watch

College basketball, North Carolina at Duke, 6 p.m., ESPN: The Blue Devils have won seven of the past 10 games against their rivals, but never count out the Tar Heels.


On this date

2001: Dale Earnhardt, the greatest stock car racer of his era, is killed in a crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500 as he tries to protect Michael Waltrip’s victory.

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