By Rick Reeno
Michael Koncz, adviser to eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao, has exclusively confirmed to BoxingScene.com that USADA [US Anti-Doping Agency] will regulate a random drug testing protocol for the upcoming fight with Brandon Rios, scheduled to take place on November 24th [November 23rd in the United States] at the Venetian in Macau, China. Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38KOs) vs. Rios (31-1-1, 23KOs) will be carried by HBO Pay-Per-View.
Koncz indicates that his team requested the testing protocol.
"Yes, I can confirm that we requested the USADA testing. We've never had anything to hide nor do we have anything to hide now," Koncz stated exclusively to BoxingScene.com.
Pacquiao is coming off a devastating sixth round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last December. Marquez was trained by controversial strength and conditioning coach Angel "Memo" Heredia.
Because Marquez, at 39-years-old, appeared to be in the best shape of his life with a newfound muscular body, and because of the sheer brutal nature of his victory - rumors quickly spread that Marquez was potentially using performance enhancing drugs.
In fact, the rumors began to surface before the fourth Pacquiao fight even took place. Marquez was often questioned on the subject and he was very firm that his muscular was the direct result of Heredia's tough training regimen.
Rios, trained by Robert Garcia, is now working with Heredia.
Koncz indicates that Heredia's working relationship with Rios is not the reason for the involvement of USADA in this fight.
"We just want to give the fans a clean fight and avoid any type of speculation or accusations once this fight is done," Koncz said.
Random drug testing was often the sticking point in finalizing a potential mega-fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. The two sides were eventually able to agree on a testing protocol, but unfortunately the monetary split between the two fighters became an even bigger issue in making a deal.