Drug test spat could jeopardize Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

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Drug test spat could jeopardize Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

LOS ANGELES - A dispute over doping test rules for the planned showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather has jeopardized the long-awaited welterweight showdown, promoters claimed Tuesday.

It’s uncertain, however, whether the testing issue is simply an over-hyped negotiating ploy aimed at Pacquiao or truly a deal-breaker that could scuttle a fight with the potential to be the biggest boxing moneymaker of all time.

Mayweather has insisted upon stricter World Anti-Doping Agency test procedures for the fight rather than the usual methods, a change that would mandate blood tests for banned substances as well as urine analysis.

Mayweather’s father, veteran trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr, has accused Pacquiao of taking performance-enhancing substances, and Mayweather all-but accused the Filipino hero of being a dope cheat in a statement.

“I have already agreed to the testing and it is a shame that he is not willing to do the same,” Mayweather said. “It leaves me with great doubt as to the level of fairness I would be facing in the ring that night.”

Richard Schaefer, top executive of Mayweather-backer Golden Boy Promotions, said Tuesday that Todd duBoef, president of Pacquiao backers Top Rank, told him Pacquiao would not agree to have blood drawn within 30 days of the fight.

Schaefer said duBoef told him “Pac-Man” was superstitious about having blood taken so near a fight, instead seeking it done before a planned news conference in early January to launch a fight that had been expected on March 13.

“Todd told me that Pacquiao has difficulty with taking blood and doesn’t want to do it so close to the fight,” Schaefer said. “Pacquiao would only agree to have blood drawn before the kick-off press conference and after the fight.”

That would not comply with Mayweather’s desires.

“I understand Pacquiao not liking having his blood taken because frankly I don’t know anyone who really does,” Mayweather said. “But in a fight of this magnitude, I think it is our responsibility to subject ourselves to sportsmanship at the highest level.

But the Los Angeles Times and ESPN reported Tuesday that a deal is set for the March 13 fight at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas. Schaefer said all other aspects of the fight have been agreed to by both camps.

“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,” Schaefer said.

Such test procedures have not been required of pro boxers, however, and Pacquiao has never failed a drug test, leaving Mayweather critics to wonder if excuses in case of a defeat, or a way out of the fight, were being prepared.

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