Most folks stayed glued to their televisions after Floyd Mayweather had successfully defeated veteran knock-out artist Shane Mosley by a 12-round judges’ decision on May 1. Everyone wanted to hear “Money” Mayweather talk to the ringside reporter, not only because he’s a cocky, flamboyant trash-talker, but because they knew he was going to be asked about his next fight.
That’s the burning question on every boxing fan’s mind. Will Mayweather and fellow boxing icon Manny Pacquiao finally step in the ring together and settle the dispute over who’s really the best pound-for-pound boxer on the scene?
Mayweather answered that question last Saturday night by reminding fans how the decision isn’t only in his hands.
“If Manny Pacquiao can take a blood and urine test then we have a fight,” Mayweather told HBO’s Larry Merchant. “If not, no fight.”
Apparently, Mayweather thinks Pacquiao may have something to hide and will only fight if Olympic-style drug testing is performed.
Pacquaio initially refused such conditions, which is why the high-profiled matchup was canceled after being initially negotiated to occur in January. According to reports, Manny is very uncomfortable with drawing blood and believes it takes away from his strength. Pacquiao insists that he is clean and initially offered to take a blood test no less than 30 days before the fight and would take one immediately after the fight, but not right before the fight.
But that’s not good enough for Mayweather, who notes that the Filipino boxing sensation has completely dominated opponents in his most current fights in ways that he never did during majority of his career. At age 31, Pacquiao often appears faster and stronger than he ever was during his younger days, which has caused some to suspect possible usage of performance enhancement drugs.
“All I want is to perform on a fair, leveled playing field,” Mayweather said. “Shane Mosley had issues [with steroids] before in his past, but I respect him for taking the blood test so that he could make the fight happen with me. I really don’t see any problems in what I’m demanding. I just want to clean up the game and restore integrity to the boxing industry.”
But Mosley’s decision to take fight under Mayweather’s mandatory conditions may have influenced Pacquiao to compromise a little.
Just 48 hours after Mayweather’s fight, Manny stated from his Web site that he is now willing to take a blood test closer to fight day.
“I am willing to help the sport for the future of the sport. I do not want to see anyone cheat or cheat this sport,” Pacquiao said. “For that reason I am willing to consider taking blood [tests] as close as 14 days prior to the fight, as long as my opponent does the same, and it is not a lot of blood, just enough to test.”
But even with Manny’s compromise, it doesn’t fit into Olympic-style testing, which would be regulated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. According to USADA CEO Travis Tygart, setting cutoff deadlines is inadequate in determining if an athlete is cheating.
“If you give a blackout date, there are plenty of things you can do to cheat and get away with it,” Tygart said, as stated in a USA Today article. “It leaves the potential of using masking agents. That's why it's not allowed.”
Tygart also said the USDA tests many athletes the morning of their performance date and the blood is taken from the arm and is less than one teaspoon of about 380 teaspoons of blood circulating in the human body.
“We don't do anything that can potentially impact an athlete's performance,” he continued in the article. “It's a matter of learning about the process. There's just a lack of the knowledge about these issues.”
Manny has learned the process, but for now he still refuses the Olympic-style testing, and until either boxer softens their stance, the world will have to wait for the next “fight of the century.”