By Michael Woods
Never before has boxing had so much in common. Hurdles, here, there and everywhere...
The main hurdle to making the November 13 Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather has seemingly been traversed, as the Congressman from Sarangani province said, hard and fast, that he is open to undergoing random drug testing--via analysis of blood and/or urine--14 days before the fight.
This is according to the Manilla Bulletin, which quoted Pacquaio as saying, “As long as they’re not getting a large amount of blood, I am willing to give out blood as close to two weeks before the fight.”
TSS you'll notice has chosen to use the word "seemingly," since it'll be up to Team Mayweather, led by Al Haymon and Floyd Mayweather, with Richard Schaefer acting as emissary, along with Leonard Ellerbe, during negotiations with Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, to sign on the testing protocol. In the previous stage of negotiations, held in December and January, Team Mayweather was holding to the stance that they want Pacquiao to be amenable to a blood test as close to two days before any bout. Pacquiao had countered that he feels excessively weakened when blood is taken from him. He said he felt drained when a large quantity was taken for testing before his March 2005 clash with Erik Morales, a UD12 loss. Was the weakness in his head? Or is it a matter of superstition? That explanation for the 2005 loss didn't loom large in the US five years ago, though it did draw press in the Phillipines, and only truly emerged as an issue during the first failed rounds of talks. Pacquiao fans embrace, by and large, his stance on blood loss, while doubters see his fear of blood loss as a masking agent for another motivation to refuse bloodwork too close to a fight. The blood matter can only be asked and answered by Manny and seems destined to be one of those unanswerable deals, where backers and doubters can find no common ground.
Right before the last negotiations dissolved, Team Mayweather said they'd be OK with a drug test 14 days before the fight. Crucially, the Mayweather crew said, the test did not have to be a blood test. Pacquiao wanted to shut the blood testing window at 24 days out from the tussle, though he agreed to have his urine tested, with no limitations. (Though Floyd fans point to the fact that there isn't a fully reliable urine test to detect HGH...) Ten days difference in testing dates seemingly were THE reason why a $100 million clash wasn't going down. Those were the terms in early January; have the goalposts been moved since then? Hard to tell, since this round of dealmaking has been held outside the glare of us keyboard tappers. Top Rank reps were in New York on Wednesday, TR reps said they were not at liberty to disclose the location of Top Rank chief Bob Arum. Might he be holed up somewhere with Schaefer, finalizing terms for a Nov. 13 mega-clash? One could easily surmise that...