Hypocrisy, thy name is Manny.
The truth will probably never surface, but the evidence is compelling. It seems Manny Pacquiao’s stance on performance-enhancing drug testing has changed quite a bit since he refused to cooperate with Floyd Mayweather’s requests in 2010, potentially squashing any chance of ever seeing the two fighters square off.
At the time, Pacquiao refused to have his blood drawn for testing (as a stipulation for a fight with Mayweather), and the pound-for-pound kingpin refused to fight him as a result. Mayweather continues to demand the same from all his potential challengers, and it seems Pac-Man has decided to take a page out of his book.
According to Lem Satterfield of the Ring, Pacquiao wants random drug testing for his upcoming bout against Brandon Rios—the same random testing he refused when faced with a fight against Mayweather. He quotes Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz, as saying:
The fact is that Manny has requested random drug testing for this fight. We still haven't decided which entity we'll use. It's going to be either USADA or [VADA.] It will be one of the two. We still haven't decided. We're still discussing it, but the bottom line is that there will be mandatory drug testing.
That Pacquiao has requested mandatory drug testing isn’t all that surprising considering the widespread acceptance of the practice in modern professional boxing. He’s looking to the future and protecting his best interests after coming off two unsuccessful fights in the last 11 months.
But Pac-Man’s sudden acceptance of the practice raises some serious questions about his motives for refusing mandatory testing in 2010. Has he had a change of heart, or was he looking for an excuse to avoid fighting Mayweather?
Given the two-step the pair has participated in since that time, there’s a good chance it was the latter.
Time and again, Pacquiao and Mayweather have found themselves on a collision course for a superfight, only to see one (or both) balk at the opportunity. Blame has been appointed to both fighters, but Mayweather is starting to look a lot more like the innocent party in the charade.
Granted, Pacquiao has every right to change his stance on PED testing—and he should, considering the merits of the practice.
But why now? And why was it such a big issue when Mayweather was willing to climb in the ring with Pac-Man?
At the very least, Pacquiao’s request for drug testing is hypocritical. Given the tremendous amount of posturing that has led to a whole lot of nothing, it looks more like Pacquiao used his stance on testing as another excuse to duck Mayweather and avoid a fight he could easily lose.
Mayweather has just five fights remaining before his contract with Showtime/CBS is completed and he walks away from professional boxing. If Pacquiao refuses to step forward to fight the undefeated welterweight in that span—especially after demanding random drug testing from Rios—the blame won’t be on Mayweather’s shoulders.