Tensions rise as Pacquiao camp ups ante over drugs
LOS ANGELES—Tensions appeared to be rising around the long-awaited welterweight world title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., with the fighters’ camps reportedly at odds over a proposed doping penalty.
Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that he was “a little puzzled and dismayed” that Mayweather wouldn’t agree to the $5-million penalty Pacquiao had proposed should either fighter test positive for a banned drug.
Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe, however, told the newspaper that the drug testing protocol for the May 2 fight in Las Vegas had been “rigorously negotiated” by Pacquiao promoters Top Rank.
In comments to ESPN.com, Ellerbe called Koncz an “idiot.” “If this moron didn’t convey his fighter’s wishes when the negotiation was going on that’s their problem,” Ellerbe said. “This is a lame-ass attempt to generate publicity.” Drug testing was an issue in attempts to put a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight together in late 2009 and early 2010.
Mayweather wanted random Olympic-style blood and urine testing, but Pacquiao objected to some of the protocols and the deal disintegrated.
Long and winding road Mayweather later accused the Filipino ring icon of using performance-enhancing drugs, a charge which Pacquiao denied.
Pacquiao sued Mayweather over the accusation and the two settled out of court.
Drug-testing differences have been just part of the long and winding road to the May 2 matchup between the two fighters widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighters of their generation.
The bout has required rival telecasters Showtime and HBO to work together to produce a fight considered a lock to break all records for pay-per-view viewers and revenue.
Pacquiao, a two-term congressman from Sarangani province, is 57-5 with two draws and 38 knockouts while Mayweather is 47-0 with 26 knockouts.
Last week, the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) said both fighters had agreed to undergo Olympic-style random drug testing prior to the bout.
Mayweather has submitted to Usada testing for all of his bouts since 2010.
Both fighters must provide Usada with their whereabouts and make themselves available for blood and urine tests for drugs including human growth hormone and the blood-boosting erythropoietin.
Pacquiao first suggested the reciprocal fine for a failed drug test as extra insurance that a doping issue wouldn’t scupper the fight that fans worldwide have clamored for.
But Ellerbe charged the arrangement was an attempt to “put a $5 million price tag if Manny tested positive.”
“It will cost Manny a lot more than some $5 million if he comes up positive,” Ellerbe said. AFP
For more updates on Pacquiao-Mayweather “Fight of the Century,” visit The Pacquiao Files.
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