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Tests for a Mayweather fight generally begin around the time of the kick-off press tour heralding Floyd’s annual ring appearance. Floyd and his opponent agree to keep USADA advised as to their whereabouts and submit to an unlimited number of unannounced blood and urine tests. Other details (such as what drugs are being tested for, how samples are analyzed and what happens in the event of a positive test) are murky.
Mayweather and his promoter (Golden Boy Promotions) have gone to great lengths to propagate the notion that they’re in the forefront of PED testing to “clean up” boxing. In return, they’ve reaped a public relations bonanza. But some members of Team Mayweather haven’t been content to simply disseminate a positive message with regard to Floyd’s conduct. They’ve chosen instead to brand Pacquiao (Mayweather’s chief rival) as a PED user.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. declared, “[Pacquiao] can’t beat Clottey without that sh*t in him. He couldn’t beat De la Hoya without that sh*t. He couldn’t beat Ricky Hatton without that sh*t. And he couldn’t beat Cotto without that sh*t. I don’t even think he could beat that kid from Chicago [David Diaz] without that sh*t. He wouldn’t be able to beat any of those guys without enhancement drugs.”
Not to be outdone, Roger Mayweather proclaimed, “This mother**ker don’t want to take the test. That’s why the fight [Mayweather vs. Pacquiao] didn’t happen. He got that sh*t in him. That’s why he didn’t want to take the test.”
References to Pacquiao’s alleged PED use by the other defendants in the defamation action were more subtle. But their message was similar.
The court case moved slowly as litigation often does. Last year, the claims against Schaefer and De la Hoya were dismissed with the consent of Pacquiao’s attorneys after Richard and Oscar apologized and stated that they had never meant to suggest that Manny was using performance-enhancing drugs.
The Mayweathers continued to fight the complaint. Floyd’s conduct in failing to appear for a scheduled deposition on several occasions displeased the court and infuriated Pacquiao’s attorneys. The case looked like it would be a long battle of attrition. Then things changed dramatically.
Under standard sports drug-testing protocols, when blood or urine is taken from an athlete, it’s divided into an “A” and “B” sample. The “A” sample is tested first. If it tests negative, end of story. If the “A” sample tests positive, the athlete then has the right to demand that the “B” sample be tested. If the “B” sample tests negative, the athlete is presumed to be clean. But if the “B” sample also tests positive, the first positive finding is confirmed and the athlete has a problem.
On May 20, 2012, a rumor filtered through the drug-testing community that Mayweather had tested positive on three occasions for an illegal performance-enhancing drug.
More specifically, it was rumored that Mayweather’s “A” sample had tested positive on three occasions and, after each positive test, USADA had found exceptional circumstances in the form of inadvertent use and gave Floyd a waiver. This waiver, according to the rumor, negated the need for a test of Floyd’s “B” sample. And because the “B” sample was never tested, a loophole in USADA’s contract with Mayweather and Golden Boy allowed the testing to proceed without the positive “A” sample results being reported to Mayweather’s opponent or the Nevada State Athletic Commission (which had jurisdiction over the fights).
In late-May, Pacquiao’s attorneys heard the rumor. On June 4, 2012, they served document demands and subpoenas on Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy and USADA calling for the production of all documents that related to PED testing of Mayweather for the Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto fights.
The documents were not produced. There was a delay in the proceedings while Floyd spent nine weeks in the Clark County Detention Center after pleading guilty to charges of domestic violence and harassment. Upon his release from jail on August 2nd, settlement talks heated up.
On September 25, 2012, a stipulation of settlement ending the defamation case was filed with the court. The parties agreed that the terms of settlement would be kept confidential. Prior to the agreement being signed, two sources with detailed knowledge of the proceedings told this writer that Mayweather’s initial monetary settlement offer was “substantially more” than Pacquiao’s attorneys had expected it would be and an agreement in principle was reached soon afterward.
As part of the settlement, the Mayweathers and Mayweather Promotions issued a statement that read: “Floyd Mayweather Jr., Floyd Mayweather Sr., Roger Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions wish to make it clear that they never intended to claim that Manny Pacquiao has used or is using any performance-enhancing drugs nor are they aware of any evidence that Manny Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs. Manny Pacquiao is a great champion and no one should construe any of our prior remarks as claiming that Manny Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs.”
I don’t know if Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs or not.
I do know that, if Mayweather’s “A” sample tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug on one or more occasions and he was given a waiver by USADA that concealed this fact from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, his opponent and the public, we have an ingredient that could contribute to the making of a scandal.
Any analysis of PED use and boxing should start with the acknowledgement that chemistry is now part of sports.
We know certain things about the use of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs: