Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight in Jeopardy Over Drug Testing
"A urine drug test, I'll do every day of the week. But giving blood before a fight, I will not let my fighter do," Roach said during a telephone call from his Wild Card Boxing Club on Tuesday.
"And they can't guarantee me that that won't happen the day before a fight because they want random testing. So it's my choice. So if you want to blame somebody, blame me."
Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, who is handling the fight's negotiations on behalf of Mayweather (40-0, 25 knockouts), indicated in a press release on Tuesday that the Mayweather-Paqcuiao megabout is now in jeopardy after he first learned of Pacquiao's decision to not comply with the Olympic-style drug testing from Top Rank president Todd duBoef.
"Manny does not like having to give blood before a fight. It's like having sex: Does sex bother a fighter before a fight? If it's in your head mentally, then yes, it does. And with Manny Pacquiao, it's in his head that he feels weak if he gives blood, and there's no way that I'm going to let him go into the ring with that on his mind," said Roach.
"I've done my homework, I've talked to experts," Roach added, "Urine and blood-testing are almost identical in this type of situation. Neither test can detect growth hormones and HGH and stuff like that anyway. So, I'll do all of the urine tests in the world, no problem. I'll give blood 30 days before the fight or after the fight in the dressing room, I'll give blood, but not right before the fight.
"I never thought that Floyd wanted to fight Manny Pacquiao, and now, he wants to cancel a fight because we won't take a pre-fight blood test, but we'll do any other commission test or any urine test in the world. Floyd Mayweather is not the commission, and we'll go by the local commission rules like everyone else in the world."
But an angered Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's adviser, told FanHouse on Tuesday, "Freddie Roach is full of s**t."
"They're scrambling and they're boxed in and they know it," Ellerbe added.
"It's our understanding that the [United States Anti-Doping Agency] will not be drawing blood 24 hours before the fight, so there shouldn't be a problem. They're probably saying something along the lines that Floyd Mayweather is trying to get out of the fight," said Ellerbe. "Well, if he feels that this is Floyd's way trying to get out of the fight, then all Manny Pacquiao has to do is agree to the testing."
Initially it was thought that Pacquiao had agreed, in principal, to the testing, in accordance with other stipulations for the bout, including a 50-50 financial split, eight-ounce gloves and the weight of 147 pounds, according to Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz.
"Negotiations are at an impasse because of their failure to agree to an Olympic-style, random drug-testing. And as management, we are insisting that this be done in a manner in which there is a level playing field. And the way to do that is through Olympic-style, random drug-testing," said Ellerbe.
"The premier agency to administer this is the United States Anti-Doping Agency. If it's good enough for Lance Armstrong, Lebron James, Michael Phelps, Kobe Bryant and Floyd Mayweather, then why shouldn't it be good enough for Manny Pacquiao.
"Hopefully, this is some type of misunderstanding, or Manny Pacquiao isn't aware of this. Because, surely, I can't imagine him refusing to do this and walking away from the biggest fight in the history of boxing."
The fight will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, whose Nevada State Athletic Commission licenses fighters for a period of one year, and does not require blood testing for drugs.
The NSAC, which tests urine, does require blood testing for AIDS and other blood-related diseases. Pacquiao has been cleared to fight by Las Vegas testing for a nearly dozen of his fights there, including his last six bouts and his Nov. 14,. 12th-round knockout of Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand.
"We're all for drug-testing, and we're all for boxing being a drug-free sport, but what we're not for is being harrassed into taking blood tests the day of the fight, or, even, the week of the fight. We will not succumb to that," said Koncz, from the Philippines, where he said that Pacquiao would soon be making an official statement on the matter.
"The bottom line is that Manny believes that all athletes, while they're performing, they're role-models to the public, and, especially children. They should be free of drugs," said Koncz. "If they want us to piss in a bottle 20 times a day up until two hours before the fight, we'll be happy to do it. But we're not going to take blood that close to the fight. If they want to draw blood, they can do it right after the fight."
But Roach has told FanHouse that he has "no problem" with drug-testing of Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 knockouts), a seven-division champion who has carried his power from his initial weight class at 106 pounds all the way through to 147.
"Our reaction is, 'So what?' We know Manny doesn't take any illegal drugs or anything. I'm here with Manny, and to him, it's like a joke. It's a laughing matter. It's something foolish anyway. Why would we be concerned? We know he doesn't do any of that [stuff]," Koncz told FanHouse.
The notion of steroid use by Pacquiao first surfaced back on Sept. 15, when Floyd Mayweather Sr. told The Grand Rapids Press, "I don't think that he can beat Little Floyd with steroids in him or not."
Roach and Pacquiao were then informed of Floyd Sr.'s implications for the first time by FanHouse.
"Steroids? Where in the hell did that come from?" asked Roach, referring to Pacquiao's second-round victory over Ricky Hatton, who was trained by Floyd Sr. at the time.
"You know, these guys, they had to come up with a reason why they lose," said Roach. "They lost because [Floyd Sr.] sucks as a trainer and I had the better fighter."
Pacquiao seemed equally perplexed.
"You know what? I don't even know what a steroid is," said Pacquiao. "I've never done that. Maybe all of them -- they're using the steroids, and not me."
Olympic style drug testing involves random sampling of the athlete's blood and urine prior to and after the fight. The USADA procedure includes both blood and urine so that all banned substances, some of which do not show up in urine alone, are tested for thoroughly.
In a press release on Tuesday, Schaefer said that he was contacted by Top Rank president Todd duBoef, who told him Pacquiao would not agree to have his blood taken within 30 days of the bout based on the fighter's superstition of testing so close to a fight.
"Todd told me that Pacquiao has difficulty with taking blood and doesn't want to do it so close to the fight. He, Pacquiao, would only agree to have blood drawn before the kick-off press conference and after the fight," Schaefer was quoted as saying in the release.
"It is unfortunate to hear this from Manny Pacquiao's representatives, particularly since, as of today, both parties had worked out all other issues related to this fight."