Sunday, June 13

Pacquiao firm on doping test


Filipino remains steadfast on 30-day blood test limit as promoters try to save fight

LAS VEGAS, Nevada: Manny Pacquiao remained steadfast on his demand not to be blood tested within 30 days of fighting Floyd Mayweather in a website statement Saturday while rival promoters tried to save the fight.The Filipino hero was set to meet unbeaten US star Mayweather on March 13 in Las Vegas but the only remaining roadblock, a doping test format, threatens to kill a long-awaited showdown that could be the richest fight in boxing history.

“I’m still willing to Fight Floyd Mayweather. I never said the fight was off or I do not want to fight him,” Pacquiao said in a blog posting on his official website.

“I’ll fight anyone at anytime and my record and past fights prove that. I have never and will never dodge anyone.”

Mayweather wanted US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) protocols, including random blood tests at any point before the March 13 fight, which was a deal-breaker to Pacquiao, who said such tests too near the bout would weaken him.

“The truth is taking blood out of my body does not seem natural to me and mentally I feel it will weaken me if blood is taken from me just days before the fight,” Pacquiao said. “That does not make sense to me, why anyone would do that.”

Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive, told ESPN Saturday that he had backed off USADA rules but would insist upon testing within 30 days of the fight as representatives of rival promoters negotiated terms Saturday.

“We know that 30 days before is not effective. At 30 days, we might as well not even do it,” Schaefer said. “It is a matter of the two sides working out the specifics of the cut off date to assure it will still be effective.”

Pacquiao, who like Mayweather has never failed a doping test, outlined his requirements for blood tests Saturday and left no room for compromise, however.

“Pac-Man” said he would give a blood sample at the fight launch news conference tentatively set for January 6, another 30 days before the fight and a third after the fight in his dressing room, plus random urine tests anytime.

“If Floyd Mayweather Jnr does not accept these terms, then my promoter will find me another fight for March 13,” Pacquiao said.

Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, has already said he had given up on the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight and was interested in having the Philippines star face Paul Malignaggi on March 13.

“We’re not going to pander to this petty bull.. about how many days before the fight they can test and so forth,” Arum said. “I will not let this kid get pushed around.”

Urine doping tests, which both camps have agreed upon, are typical in Vegas fights under Nevada State Athletic Association rules. Blood tests are uncommon but Mayweather says he is uncertain of a fair fight without them.

“These accusations  of me using any performance enhancing supplements are totally unwarranted and unjustified,” Pacquiao said. “I would never Cheat God, I would never cheat myself and I would never cheat my country and my fans.

“I would always like to be known for my honour and my integrity. I’ll always be known for my courage and my willingness to face any man at anytime.”

Schaefer called the shifting positions in talks frustrating and challenged Pacquiao’s desire to face Mayweather.

“I don’t know how to explain it other than maybe Pacquiao doesn’t want the Mayweather fight,” Schaefer said.

Pacquiao made his position equally clear in his posting.

“If Floyd Mayweather Jnr truly ever wanted to fight me and he is not really scared, he would accept these terms I am willing to give him as they are above and beyond what the (Nevada) commission demands,” Pacquiao said.

“I hope Floyd is not really, really a coward and will fight me and give the fans what they want to see. I am not afraid to fight Floyd anywhere any time.” — AFP