Just in time for Boxing Day, the Floyd Mayweather, Jr.-Manny Pacquiao drug test scandal is putting old-fashioned punch ’em out fighting temporarily in the limelight.
‘Tis the season to give the gift of joy and happiness to controversy lovers everywhere.
With Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Ultimate Fighting stealing whatever glory boxing still has, the classic sport has returned to its fail-safe strategy of attracting attention through pre-fight hype.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. & Co. suspect that opponent Manny Pacquaio may be using illegal substances to enhance his performance. Founded or not, in an effort to ensure a “fair fight”, Mayweather and friends are requesting that Manny (because typing Pacquaio is annoying, there really needs to be a consonant somewhere toward the end of that name) undergo strict Olympic-style drug testing. Mayweather has graciously volunteered to undergo the same urine and blood tests, because it would completely absolve his argument if he didn’t agree to do so.
Manny, who has yet to fail a drug test, refuses to comply with Mayweather’s demands. Bob Arum, Manny’s promoter, is retaliating with more excuses than a drunk teenager late for curfew. Arum is calling the stunt “crazy”, claiming that it is a head game aimed at interrupting Manny’s training and preparation for the fight.
Not only is boxing reliant on pre-fight stunts to induce interest, but fighters often rely on head games for motivation. As far as disturbing training, Manny will certainly have to pee many times before the fight, leaving blood testing the prominent issue in this case.
Manny claims to have no problem with the tests, except that he does not want to give blood so near to the March 13th scheduled fight date. However, if losing blood is an issue, he may want to reconsider his career as a professional boxer. If becoming weakened by the loss of blood is an issue, it doesn’t matter because Mayweather will have undergone the same handicap.
The concern may very well be that Manny is squeamish about needles. That’s right. A professional concussion giver/receiver who makes a living getting/giving beat downs may be afraid of a needle. If this is true, he should have his dignity, masculinity and boxing credibility revoked. He may as well be afraid of violence, blood and crowds. It makes absolutely no sense… even less sense than the general public having interest in what holes Tiger Woods puts his balls in off the course.
Manny has tattoos, which has been used to further criticize his aversion to needles. However, being pricked is completely different from a stab-and-suck. Blood is important, especially if it has all those performance-enhancing drugs in there.
Manny has denied the allegations of illegal substance use/abuse/experimentation. All of his drugs tests have been conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and have cleared him of steroid use. As the fight with Mayweather is scheduled to be in Las Vegas, Manny prefers to abide by the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s rules and standards. It’s difficult to imagine that Nevada’s system wouldn’t be professional and free from corruption, but Mayweather would rather use a more advanced system.
In today’s dirty sports world of lying, cheating and psycho-body sculpting, the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent. By not agreeing to the drug tests, Manny is viewed as having something to hide. But Manny’s representative Bob Arum has his own conspiracy theory. Arum believes that the drug test request gives Mayweather an out if he doesn’t want the fight. This makes even less sense than a tough-guy boxer fluttering like a butterfly due to being afraid to be stung by a needle. That sentence may not have worked, but the needlepoint is that Mayweather does not get out of the fight unless Manny declines the drug testing. If Arum doesn’t want Mayweather to back down, he should push Manny to get tested to keep the fight on.
Shouldn’t Manny be using this “harassment” to fuel his fighting fire? There are some possible good situations for Manny. Perhaps he agrees and it turns out Mayweather isn’t clean, or, more dramatically, has HIV or something. If they both are clean and Manny wins, he gets to gloat like no other, possibly prompting another big payday rematch where both fighters can agree to give it another go, but this time with the aid from all the drugs they can get their hands on.
Both fighters can make a fortune if they continue to push this issue (which is likely just a calculated non-issue brain child of a PR firm to promote the event), and use the hype to their advantage as the greats before them have so not very eloquently done before. The opportunities from such publicity are vast, and that’s what boxing is really about: hype and the cash comes from it.