By Jun Bautista
Manny Pacquiao has proven himself on the ring many times already that a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. - although it would certainly add more laurels to his cap, not to mention money to his already bulging pockets, if he were to win and there's a big chance that he just might - is not really something to crave for, especially so in the face of the harassment, denigration and character assassination he is now taking from the Mayweather camp.
Some people are wondering why Pacquiao would not want a miniscule amount of blood taken from him close to the scheduled fight on March 13 if he is not taking any steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. In fact this is the line being drumbeaten by Golden Boy Promotion's Oscar Dela Hoya in his blog. The easy answer is that Pacquiao need not give in to each and every demand by Mayweather, especially so if Pacquiao has complied with and passed with flying colors each and every testing requirement of the Nevada Athletic Commission in (NAC) determining if boxers are clean before being issued their licenses.
Nevertheless, despite his unquestioned record since turning pro - that is until Mayweather decided to blemish it with baseless accusations - Pacquiao is willing to submit to blood tests on three occasions, viz: in January when the supposed match will be announced, earlier than 30 days before the fight, and in the locker room immediately after the fight. As observed by one sports writer, what could not be detected by a blood test done immediately after the fight that a test done before it would reveal if indeed Pacquiao were using steroids? Mayweather's refusal to this condition, as a compromise to his unreasonable demand, would only show that his only intention is to harass and subject Pacquiao to humiliation.
It is true that urine tests alone cannot detect some performance enhancing drugs, such as human growth hormone (HGH) injections, but then the testing protocols of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) being proposed by Mayweather are not the tests being administered for boxers by the NAC. Lest I be mistaken, the NAC also administers blood testing and Pacquiao has always submitted to such tests before in securing and renewing his license. If the NAC's testing protocols are being challenged as insufficient or unreliable in determining whether a boxer is clean, is the Mayweather camp then saying that a whole line of other boxers who have shone on the ring, Dela Hoya included, also have questionable successes?
There is no question that Manny Pacquiao has already achieved sterling success as a boxer. He is the reigning pound for pound boxer in the world, ranking number one in many boxing magazines, including the prestigious Ring Magazine; he has been featured several times in Time magazine, among them are when he was included among the top 100 persons of the year and when he was featured on the cover of its Asia edition. He is now considered as a boxing all-time-great by boxing's respectable commentators and analysts and is even being compared with the likes of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, among others.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr., on the other hand, has not had such recognition. It is true that he remains undefeated, but that only speaks of the selectiveness of his bouts. Unlike Pacquiao, Mayweather has been known to pick only fighters that he can take. And unlike Pacquiao, he fights dull matches and preys only on his opponents' unguarded moments. In other words he plays it safe. Pacquiao, on the other hand, has taken on seemingly tough fighters for his built, size and weight. He has ventured into the unimaginable by competing in matches that boxing analysts thought were ridiculous and lopsided against Pacquiao, only to find themselves proven devastatingly wrong as each and every fight turned out completely the opposite with Pacquiao demolishing his opponents. Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao charges even when his opponent is on the guard and ready for him, prevailing in the end as a true testament to his mettle and skills.
So what has Pacquiao to prove more? Nothing. He has done boxing a great service. He has revived a dying sport, when fans have moved on to the more violent mixed martial arts genre. As the recognized and reigning best pound for pound fighter and the welterweight champion, it is not up to him to give in to unreasonable and unnecessary demands. If Mayweather really wants to face Pacquiao, he should do it in accordance with the prevailing rules of professional boxing. In fact, if there is anyone who should dictate terms, it is Pacquiao and not the other way around.