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Silence and a hint for possible Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

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Boxer Manny Pacquiao watches the game between the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami

Promoter Bob Arum was uncharacteristically silent Tuesday, amid indications that the next few days will determine whether Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao share a ring together May 2.

Arum repeatedly declined to comment about the possible megafight during an appearance at a media day for Chinese boxer Zou Shiming at trainer Freddie Roach’s gym in Hollywood.

"I know nothing," said Arum, who is Pacquiao’s promoter.

The chairman of casino operator MGM Grand, though, at the same time dropped a tantalizing hint about the possible fight during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s fourth-quarter earnings.

"We hope it’s a big, big fight," James Murren said. "If it is the fight we hope it is, then it is the biggest fight."

Arum’s silence on negotiations he has publicly talked about several times came two days after Mayweather denied in a brief courtside interview at the NBA All-Star game that the fight was a done deal. Mayweather said neither he nor Pacquiao had signed contracts for the bout, which would be the richest ever.

"It’s just been speculation and rumors but hopefully we can make the fight happen," Mayweather said on TNT.

Arum told The Associated Press earlier this month that the major financial points of the fight had been agreed to, including a reported 60-40 split of the purse in Mayweather’s favor. Based on the fight doing a record $200 million or more in revenue, Mayweather’s payday could be at least $120 million.

Parallel talks between competing networks Showtime and HBO have also reportedly settled most major points, including who the announcers will be. Mayweather is contracted to fight for Showtime, while Pacquiao fights on HBO.

And both sides have agreed to the bout taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where Mayweather has fought exclusively for years.

People close to the talks who spoke on condition they not be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly say they expect a resolution one way or another sometime this week. Both fighters would need at least eight weeks to train if the fight happens, or other opponents selected for different fights if it doesn’t.

But while speculation swirls widely in boxing circles that the fight will be made, only one thing seems certain: The fight, if it happens, won’t become official until Mayweather announces it himself.

And so far Mayweather has shown no urgency — at least in public — to do just that.

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