Dunces nixing Mayweather-Pacquiao
Fights to decide the best boxer in the world happen hardly ever, so only a dunce or, as is often the case in boxing, a confederacy of them, could nix Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao.
Alas, and it's all as crushingly predictable as the ill-fitting cardigan you'll be whisking back to Marks and Sparks on Boxing Day, the dunces are trying their damndest. As if the sport's reputation, already lower than a snake's spit bucket, could fall any further.
As it stands the dunces appear to be in Floyd Mayweather Jr's camp. For weeks now, Floyd's father has been claiming, and not on the QT either, that Pacquiao's astronomical rise through the weight divisions has been fuelled by steroids.
Pacquiao, who started out as a light-flyweight, stopped Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto to claim the WBO welterweight crown in November
And now Mayweather's camp have brought negotiations grinding to a halt by insisting Philippine legend Pacquiao be subjected to random drug testing in the lead-up to the fight, which had been scheduled for 13 March, probably in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, a five-division world champion (or seven, depending on your point of view) who started out as a light-flyweight, had agreed to have blood taken for testing before the initial media conference and after the fight but would not agree to having blood drawn within 30 days of the bout.
His trainer Freddie Roach said: "When Manny gives blood it takes him three or four days to recover from it. I am not going to have my fighter going into a fight feeling weak and not sure of himself.
"We have passed every test ever given to us. We go by the commission rules, since when does the fighter make up the rules?"
For the record, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which has overseen 10 of his last 14 fights, insists Pacquiao is as clean as the tears of a saint.
Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum, who announced the fight's cancellation on Wednesday, has accused Mayweather of "sabotage", while Roach says the unbeaten American, himself a world champion at five different weights, "is afraid of getting his ass kicked".
While many will see Mayweather as the villain (and doesn't he love it that way), others will no doubt be wondering how a tough guy like Pacquiao can be scared of needles. After all, he's done a fair bit of blood-letting in the ring in his time.
But while Pacquiao's refusal certainly suggests he has something to hide - which, and I can't stress this enough, isn't the same as saying he's hiding something - Mayweather knows boxing's doping laws, however out of step they may be with the rest of modern sport, and you can understand why Pacquiao would not wish to jump through hoops of the American's making.
The negotiations, which most thought would be as labyrinthine as Versailles, had actually been surprisingly wrinkle-free, with both fighters set to split in the region of $100m and the bout expected to generate an estimated $200m, making it the richest fight in history.
Mayweather, who revels in the moniker 'Money', obviously has enough of it already. Still, Pacquiao's scalp would have been great for his legacy, and the hope was that being one half of 'the saviour of boxing' would have been sweet, soothing balm for his colossal ego.
In 1987, during the build-up to Marvin Hagler-Sugar Ray Leonard, perhaps the last great fight of boxing's last golden era, Arum was already making negative sounds about the future.
"Right now I see boxing going into a slump," said Arum. "There are not that many good fights out there and very few marketable fighters."
This was boxing's big chance to emerge from the slump. If the dunces can't sort this mess out, many will think the sport is not worth forgiving.