Cue the tune in your head. Perhaps The Final Countdown, by the 80s one-hit wonders Europe.

Its put up or shut up–or maybe put off–time for Floyd Mayweather Jr. Soon we will know if well see Manny Pacquiao will be granted his wish, to climb the tallest mountain out there, Mt Money, or if he will have to embrace Plan B, whether that be Antonio Margarito, or Miguel Cotto or some other sub optimal choice.

Fight fans across the board want to see Mayweather accept the challenge, the stiffest of his career to this point, and have wasted far too much time and energy chattering about why the deal hasnt been made. Since last year, weve jabbered about it, and mostly, consensus seems to be that Mayweather isnt keen on getting together with Manny. He and his family implied and accused Manny was taking performance enhancing drugs, and he sought insurance against that by demanding a testing protocol heretofore un-seen in our sport, or any other, for that matter, besides cycling and the Olympics. The testing protocol issue seemed to have been attended to, when Pacquiao capitulated, in May, to a 14-day testing window, which hed previously balked at. Money, and who would get how much of the pie, popped up as a hurdle…which is hard for most of us to grasp, considering that each man would be guaranteed in the neighborhood of $50 to square off. At this rate, we could foresee a new hurdle popping up like that pesky Whack A Mole, another reason being given why the fight doesnt get done being offered as soon as terms were reached on the present sticking point.

Happily for all of us, Top Rank honcho Bob Arum has installed a drop dead date, and time, for Floyd Mayweather to agree to glove up with Manny Pacquiao. Friday night, at midnight, either Arum is informed that his guy Pacquiao will get what he wants, a chance to settle who is the best pound for pound fighter in the world today, mano a mano, or he is informed that Mayweather, for whatever reason(s), doesnt seek the same. Arum told USA Today that he thinks Mayweather will not accept the challenge, certainly not to fight this year. The promoter seems to be in acceptance mode, publicly at least, saying he understands that he understands that the legal issues for Floyds trainer, his Uncle Roger, could make him reluctant to fight. Roger stands accused of assaulting female fighter he trained, and will go on trial next month. Arum told USA Todays Bob Velin that he holds out hope that if the Manny-Money scrap doesnt happen this year, it could take place in May 2011. Arum has been stepping up his Plan B, which is Pacquiao vs Antonio Margarito in Mexico on Nov. 13. Margarito is currently unlicensed in the US, stemming from his punishment for attempting to use hardened hand wraps before he was to step in the ring against Shane Mosley on January 24, 2009.

There is a solid possibility that we will be staring at the clock, tic tock tic tock, on Friday…and the bell will toll midnight, and we will still be in this limbo. Because as David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press has pointed out, Team Mayweather, which means Golden Boy, his fight-to-fight promoter, and Al Haymon, and Leonard Ellerbe, has never acknowledged this imposed deadline. It will be up to Team Pacquiao, which includes advisor Michael Koncz, and Arum, and to a degree Freddie Roach, to treat this deadline as something more than a line in the sand. For the sake of the sport, I hope they do. If Floyd doesnt come to the table, and agree to terms, or at least, agree to the fight in principle, then Id like to see Manny move on.

Enough dithering. Judging by the comments section, you guys do like to read about. I guess it has to do with the thrill of the chase, the pleasure derived from anticipation. But weve all been spinning our wheels here, as the focus is aimed at Floyd, which he loves. Heres hoping that Floyd spares us further dithering, gives a thumbs up or a thumbs down, and we all move on to more concrete matters.

TSS U, please weigh in. Will Floyd accept the terms? Will he ignore the deadline? Will he string out this this filibustery negotiation session? Will we still be debating this by next summer? If Floyd is a no go, who should Manny fight?