The flap over whether Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will ever agree to some form of Olympic-style drug testing has gotten more than old by this stage.
Mayweather wants the testing, he says, to ensure a level-playing field. Pacquiao has an aversion to giving blood close to an event, because he believes it weakens him, but is willing to submit unlimited urine samples and several blood samples as part of an agreed upon schedule.
But if the goal is to prevent the use of performance-enhancing substances, the testing likely won’t matter, said a leading expert on the subject.
Victor Conte, the founder and president of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) said athletes perform better off steroids rather than on them and would simply taper in order to be clean by the time of the testing proposed in the Mayweather-Pacquiao talks.
“I still don’t think it’s effective testing,” Conte said. “When they show up a couple of weeks before to test them, they’ve been using, those who choose to do so, anabolic steroids or testosterone, for several months. Then they very consciously do taper off, because they know that they perform better off of the drugs than on the drugs.”
Rhadi Ferguson, a PhD and a strength and conditioning coach who has trained Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight Brandon Vera, represented the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. He said he was subjected to random testing administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency many times, though he was not tested in the Games.
He said it is very difficult to prove usage of Erythropoietin, or EPO, which is one of the drugs that boxer Shane Mosley admitted to using prior to his 2003 fight with Oscar De La Hoya.
Ferguson scoffed at Pacquiao’s argument that giving blood close to the event would in any way weaken him and said he felt Mayweather gained a great tactical advantage even if he ultimately concedes on the testing issue.
“The amount of blood they would take from him would be replenished by the body within one hour,” said Ferguson, a distant relative of MMA star Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson. “It’s a fallacious argument. It’s also genius by the Mayweather camp to bring up the USADA testing even if Pacquiao refuses to do the testing or Mayweather concedes not to do it. Mayweather still has won, because even if Pacquiao does win the fight, there is still a shadow cast on Pacquiao’s cleanliness, if you will.”
Though many “final” deadlines have come and gone, this could still play out for a little more than another week. The actual deadline won’t be until all the marketing plans need to be submitted and the ads for the cable and satellite guides are due. That will be sometime in the first week to 10 days of January.
With that, let’s hope right to the mailbag to get your thoughts on the issue.