Getting Manny Pacquiao to agree to Olympic-style dope testing is like tapping blood from a stone.
The great Filiipino boxer has relaxed his stance and is now prepared to give blood up to 14 days before a super-bout against Floyd Mayweather.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Mayweather rejects this offer.
Pacquiao must understand that there are no half-measures when it comes to anti-doping. Having blood taken WILL NOT weaken him before a fight. All he needs to do is ask some of the Philippines athletes who competed at the Beijing Olympics.
Don’t get me wrong – I really hope the fight comes off, but I believe Pacquiao needs to accept the dope testing requirements in their entirety.
It’s the same for Olympic stars Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, and you don’t hear them complaining!
Come on, Pacman, you’re the only man who can come close to ending Mayweather’s unbeaten record.
So the Manny Pacquiao v Floyd Mayweather jnr bout is off.
The stumbling block has been Mayweather’s insistence to adhere to the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s methods of testing. Usada is one of many national anti-doping agencies who are members of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), who lead the fight against drugs in sport.
Wada requires that athletes submit urine and blood samples before and after their events – and the tests can be conducted randomly. The blood can reveal use of certain performance-enhancing drugs not detectable in urine samples. Furthermore, blood samples allow for testers to create what they call a biological passport for all athletes, thereby allowing them to detect illegal drug use with more ease.
The blood samples and also be stored for several years and retested with new methods in the future, which could allow them to find a substance that may be currently undetectable.
Every Olympic athlete must give their consent to submit both urine and blood samples if they want to compete at the Games (as well as many other international and national events). The 15 athletes who represented the Philippines at the 2008 Beijing Olympics would have been subjected to the same rules (Philippines is also a member of Wada, by the way). As a matter of interest, Pacquiao was the flagbearer for the team, although he didn’t compete there and therefore wouldn’t have undergone any of the tests.
The importance of random testing is that it allows testers to get to the athletes out of competition, which is when drug cheats are more likely to be using illegal substances. There is no reason why Pacquiao should be exempt from the rule of random testing.
Pacman, the only boxer to have won world titles at seven weights, has complained that submitting a blood sample before the fight would weaken him.
One has to assume that Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt would have given blood samples before some of his record-breaking feats of the past two years. He certainly didn’t complain about being weakened. The same is true of many other world sporting heroes, including Michael Phelps and Roger Federer. Admittedly, Lance Armstrong had a little whinge about the timing of the testing during last year’s Tour de France, but he got on with the job.
As it happens, I spoke to an anti-doping doctor before the Beijing Olympics asking him if taking blood would weaken an athlete, and he replied that it wouldn’t because the sample was too small (a few millilitres, apparently).
And if Pacman is going to be weakened by giving the blood sample, then so too will Mayweather!
I have also seen reports stating that Pacquiao is superstitious about giving blood too close before a fight. Tough luck – these are the rules to combat drug cheating, and it’s far more important to fight dopers than it is to uphold one boxer’s personal belief.
I can’t see any logical reason for Pacman’s refusal to use Usada, except that professional boxing is one sport that is not a signatory to Wada (apart from countries signing up, sporting federations are also individual members of Wada). If the various organisations that litter professional boxing were all signatories, Pacman wouldn’t have a choice.
Wada demands a two-year ban for testing positive for steroids, but boxers like James Toney and Roy Jones jnr have escaped with relative wrist-slaps for steroid infringements. So far, no professional boxer I know of has ever been suspended for two years for such an offence.
Quite honestly, I applaud Mayweather for demanding Usada supervision (because it’s time for professional boxing to enter the 21st century), and I blame Pacquiao for scuppering the fight.
The sad thing is that I believe Pacquiao would have won the fight.
This is potentially the biggest bout of all time and boxing fans deserve it. Pacquiao should not have the right to wreck it.
Strictly speaking this isn’t sport, but this tale is about the super-human feat of staying alive.
According to Peter McAllister in his book “Manthropolgy”, any Neanderthal woman would have beaten Arnold Schwarzenegger at arm-wrestling. Click here to read the full story.
Fascinating stuff. Imagine seeing boxers, at their peaks, like George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano – let alone Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather – getting blown away by your average caveman!!!
Presumably our physical decline has coincided with an intellectual growth, although I know some people, especially politicians and sports administrators, who make me think otherwise.
Call me sexist, label me old-fashioned, but I have no desire to watch women hitting each other at the Olympics in 2012.
With a little bit of luck I will be in London to cover the Games, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that I will not go near the boxing venue for one good reason – the sport lacks the lustre it once did.
I was in Beijing last year, and I had not a single reason to go watch the men’s boxing. Well, I did consider going to watch South Africa’s only entrant, Jackson Chauke, but he was fighting at the same time as Ryk Neethling was swimming in the 100m freestyle heats.
Chauke v Neethling … who’s likely to make the headlines? It wasn’t much of a contest, I’m afraid. The irony is that if I thought Neethling would qualify, I probably would have gone to the boxing, where Chauke was convincingly beaten, having landed one scoring punch the whole fight.
However, I had suspected that Neethling wouldn’t qualify, in which case that would be his last race and his incredible Games career would be over – and his failure in 2008 would be a much bigger story. And as it happened, Neethling didn’t qualify.
But my point is that there was not a single boxer – not an American, Cuban nor East European – who could attract me to go to the boxing simply as a boxing fan. There was no Cassius Clay, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Teofilo Stevenson or Felix Savon. At the 2000 Sydney Games I went to the boxing just to watch Savon; at the 2008 Games I made an effort to watch Usain Bolt run the 100m, 200m and 4x100m finals.
Part of the problem is that officials have taken the blood and guts out of amateur boxing, and another is that unpaid pugilism is not attracting the great sportsmen it once did, because they know they can earn more money playing gridiron, rugby, baseball, etc than they probably will when they turn professional.
Olympic boxing has lost its glitter, and I doubt female fighters will bring it back.