By Jake Donovan
Those who are content with the level of drug testing among state commissions can rest easy – Juan Manuel Marquez’ sixth round knockout of Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas will remain intact.
Both fighters tested negative for all banned substances, according to a report from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“Steroid and drug test results came back negative for all prohibited substances for (Pacquiao and Marquez),” NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer said in an e-mail statement in regards to perhaps the most anticipated post-fight drug test results in recent memory.
Rumors swirled of suspicious activity in the camp of Marquez, mainly due to his increased muscle mass and continued relationship with strength and conditioning coach Angel Hernandez.
Hernandez is formerly known as Angel ‘Memo’ Heredia, an admitted former doping dealer-turned-federal witness. The strength and conditioning coach has since vowed to clean up his act, hence the name change in hopes of a fresh start.
Marquez has remained with the former chemist, with his physique showing marked improvement since their union. The first signs of improved conditioning came last November, prior to his third encounter with Pacquiao. The fight came at a catchweight of 144 lb. Marquez had been down that road before, fattening up for a similarly scheduled limit for a Sept. ’09 showdown against a comebacking Floyd Mayweather, Jr., losing virtually every round in a humiliating defeat.
Marquez was pure muscle for his bout with Pacquiao last year, fighting well enough to have most believe that the fight should have went his way. Pacquiao instead escaped with a disputed majority decision.
Both fighters vowed knockout this time and did their best to deliver. Each scored a knockdown – Marquez dropping Pacquiao for the first time in the four-fight series in round three, Pacquiao forcing Marquez to touch his glove to the canvas in round five – and a fierce pace suggested the judges would not play a factor in this fight.
Pacquiao appeared on his way to battering Marquez into submission before getting caught with a right hand that put him down face-first on the canvas, ending the fight at 2:59 of round six.
The loss was Pacquiao’s second straight in falling to 54-5-2 (38KO), and figured to be the final nail in the coffin for any dream of a pound-for-pound showdown with Mayweather. The two sides spent most of the past three years finding reasons to not meet in the ring, with demands of stricter drug testing policies serving at the top of the list.
Talks have already begun for a possible fifth showdown between Marquez (55-6-1, 40KO) and Pacquiao for sometime late in 2013. Both sides are reportedly on board for random drug testing to take place beyond the normal state commission requirements.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox