Tuesday night, Golden Boy Promotions sent out a press release stating that the Manny Pacquiao–Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight was in jeopardy due to the fact that Pacquiao was not willing to comply with certain areas of the Olympic-style drug testing.
According to the statement, Pacquiao doesn't want to have his blood taken too close to the fight (30 days) due to superstitions.The release makes it seem as if this is a big sticking point and the fight could be ruined because of it.
In the release, Mayweather said:
"I understand Pacquiao not liking having his blood taken, because frankly I don't know anyone who really does. But in a fight of this magnitude, I think it is our responsibility to subject ourselves to sportsmanship at the highest level. I have already agreed to the testing and it is a shame that he is not willing to do the same. It leaves me with great doubt as to the level of fairness I would be facing in the ring that night. I hope that this is either some miscommunication or that Manny will change his mind and step up and allow these tests, which were good enough for all these other great athletes, to be performed by USADA."
Let's not get out of hand here. Don't forget, this is a release from the Mayweather camp and Golden Boy Promotions, not the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I believe this is simply one fighter trying to push another fighter around, and the other not giving in. The fight before the fight has already begun!
Not one to be pushed around, Bob Arum has fired back, going as far as saying the fight is off and that "the plug is pulled."
"Mayweather proves that he’s a coward and he’s looking for a way out of the fight," Arum said. "The Nevada commission has been doing drug testing for the last 40 years. To appease Mayweather, we agreed they could do urine analysis any time they wanted. But Manny doesn’t want them to draw his blood when he’s in training because it weakens him."
Arum turned the blame completely around, saying the testing was only a way for Mayweather to find a way out of the fight.
"All they’re doing is harassing Pacquiao," Arum said. "I’m not going to allow it to happen. We’re willing to do urine analysis at random, even though we don’t have to do it under Nevada rules.
"I know deep down Mayweather doesn’t want the fight. He can take a walk."
Some will say that Pacquiao should have no problem taking the drug test if he is clean. Some will say that Mayweather is just making excuses to get out of the fight. Both sides could be right, but I think it is even simpler than that: The camps are starting in with the head games.
Muhammad Ali was a pro at trying to throw a fighter off his game before he ever got in the ring. According to Teddy Atlas' book, George Foreman had Atlas so nervous after one of the press conferences with Michael Moorer that Atlas immediately went to his hotel room and threw up.
Freddie Roach is no rookie when it comes to the pre-fight games, either. Did Miguel Cotto losing two pounds for his fight with Pacquiao really need to happen, especially after Pacquiao had already fought Oscar De La Hoya at the welterweight limit? No, of course not. Pacman was going to beat Cotto no matter what weight he hit, but Roach wanted to make sure his camp won the game before the game. In the lead-up to his fight with De La Hoya, Mayweather put in as much effort outside the ring getting under Oscar's skin as he did in the ring getting under Oscar's jab.
I find it hard to believe that this is something that will end the fight. When I read the press release last night, I could hear the theme from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly in my head — you know, the one that is used for every stare-down since that movie was released. This is an old-fashioned shootout between the baddest cowboys in the land. Neither fighter wants to give into the other's demands, neither guy wants to give the other an inch.
I'm OK with that. Hopefully they fight with the same ferocity that they negotiate. I'm sure that they will come to some sort of understanding and find a happy medium. There is too much money on the table to just walk away. Let's be honest — the color of this fight isn't red like the press release would like you to believe. It's green.
Admit it, you know you were surprised at how smoothly everything went up until now. There is no way the two best fighters in the world were both going to give into each other's demands so easily. They are fighters after all.
One last thing to think about before you throw your hands up in frustration: I can't help but think about all the reports that the fight was going to get pushed back to a later date. Is this whole scenario just a very high-profile way of moving the date? That strategy would be a very easy way to have the all the sports outlets talking Pacquiao-Mayweather again.
I have no worries about this fight eventually taking place, and I don't think you should either. So while they try and figure out what the solution is, let's drink some eggnog and battle back and forth about the possible nerves of Mayweather, the possible cleanliness of Pacquiao and, of course, the outcome of the actual fight, which will happen.