The case for Manny Pacquiao

By Luke Orem – I have noticed a decent amount of people still siding with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the issue of random drug testing being a part of this fight. Let’s look at it from a different perspective than “Floyd asked many to take a drug test and he refused.” That is where some of the fans are shutting their brains off and placing the blame. There is much more to this story than a guy being scared of needles and trying to hide steroid abuse.

Some have said that giving a couple of tablespoons before a fight is irrelevant, they say the doctors all agree that it will not affect an athlete, and there is no reason to fear it. Now in 2005 Manny Pacquiao went on television and gave an interview claiming that giving blood prior to his first fight with Erik Morales caused him to lose power and he wasn’t able to deliver shots like he hoped.. All of us have bad experiences, and we all search for the causes and excuses and try to avoid them. Our brains develop patterns. If you get in a car crash and you were talking on your cell phone when it happened, I am positive you would be the last person caught using a cell phone in a car again. We all know Manny did not handle his loss to Morales well and Manny probably needs an excuse to make sure that doesn’t happen again. So when Manny Pacquiao says in 2009 that he doesn’t want to give blood right before the fight, we have to assume he feels strongly that there is a good reason for it. I think anyone who is walking around dehydrated and starving is not going to be first in line at a blood bank for obvious reasons.

Another major point is that Manny has a ridiculous penalty of $10,000,000 per pound weighed over the contracted agreement. Is this a fair negotiation when you’re refusing to random blood testing? I think this clause is the direct result of Floyd Mayweather coming in at 146 against Marquez, a much smaller fighter than himself, during their fight in September. This penalty only affects Floyd if he comes in over the limit. There is no weight checking police being brought in, there is no diet Floyd must have approved, and there is no one checking in on him to keep him honest. I think it is perfectly acceptable to charge as much as you want from a boxer who breaks a contract. Keep this point in mind for later when I offer what I think is a good compromise for this entire situation.

Now, many people think that Manny should just accept the drug testing standards and fight for his projected $40,000,000. This isn’t a compromise, this is a concession. We know Manny has offered multiple alternatives to the proposed USADA drug testing, such as 3 scheduled blood draws, or the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s request for blood whenever they deem necessary. People argue that the NSAC doesn’t draw blood as they don’t think it is necessary, but if they aren’t going to do it now, then we can’t plan on any fights in the future requiring it. This is not an attempt to fix a broken drug policy in the sport of boxing. This is an attempt to make sure Manny stays clean for the fight. I think Floyd is accusing Manny without accusing him. He is implying he doesn’t feel what Manny Pacquiao has done in boxing can be achieved naturally, and he wants proof that he did. This is why there is a lawsuit pending and why the fight is at a stalemate. Manny Pacquiao is a national hero and does not want his name linked to steroids and does not want to be accused of cheating to reach his status. I think it’s fair to say that Manny has a good point in being offended by the drug testing and I think he has a right to be concerned about the manner in which Floyd is trying to implement it. Shane Mosley was asked to take random blood tests in preparations for a fight with Zab Judah and Richard Schaefer, the same man who proposed this testing, told them that “Shane is not a cheater and doesn’t deserve to be treated like one.” That, coupled with the dislike of giving blood leading up to the fight, is why Manny seems to be honest in his desire to keep his blood in his body.

I believe the solution for all of this lies in the very penalty which most people think is so ridiculous. I would think if the Mayweather camp could drop the 24/7 random testing until the minute before the fight, and negotiate some sort of time table and cut-off date with random tests, it would be perfectly reasonable to insert a stipulation in the contract that if in any test that Manny or Floyd are found to have steroids or illegal substances in their system, the penalty would be half of their purse, if the other fighter would agree to still fight. I think it is unfair to say that Mayweather is any less capable of taking an enhancing drug just because his camp is the one requesting the blood testing. We should treat the advantage of steroids as the same advantage from coming into a fight and not making weight. If we could see a reasonable compromise for this entire situation, I think every fan could rejoice and get ready for the first mega fight of this magnitude since Hearns/Leonard.