LAS VEGAS -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. ranting about Manny Pacquiao, and particularly what he believes is Pacquiao's unusual climb up boxing weight classes, is nothing new.
But on Tuesday in front of a small group of reporters in the VIP check-in area at the MGM Grand, Mayweather put on quite a memorable show. He ended one of the most intriguing interviews he ever gave by concluding with a 15-minute tirade in which he said his health was too important to fight someone on performance-enhancing drugs.
He was giving the interview ostensibly to promote his pay-per-view bout Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden against Miguel Cotto for the World Boxing Association super welterweight championship. Mayweather, though, spoke much more about Pacquiao than he did about Cotto, even though he was never asked about Pacquiao until after he brought up Pacquiao himself.
Mayweather and Pacquiao are the top two fighters in the Yahoo! Sports rankings and are the two most popular men in the sport. They've negotiated, unsuccessfully, to fight each other since late 2009. Most experts believe the bout would break the pay-per-view sales record, which Mayweather holds at 2.5 million with Oscar De La Hoya.
When a reporter asked Mayweather if he was convinced Pacquiao was using PEDs, the unbeaten fighter, said it is "basic common sense."
When my career is over, anything can happen and my health is more important than anything. I'm not saying nobody is, or nobody is not doing it. But my health is more important than anything. Guess what? When my career is over, if I'm hurt, or something is going on, because something has happened in a fight, I can't come to you and say, 'Yo, I need you to pay my rent for this month. I need you to pay my bills for this month. I need you to pay my car note. I need you to put my kids through school.'
So, my health is more important. So, you're an American, right? I'm an American. I was in the Olympics. I represented the red, white and blue. You know what the American writers should say? 'Well, why is this guy from another country coming over here and making money [and] taking it back to his country?' Once again, I'm feeding American citizens every day. All I ask is, give a little blood, give a little urine. That's a crime?
Mayweather also pointed to what he said was Pacquiao's head growth as evidence of PED usage. He said Pacquiao's head had "probably grown" from a 7 1/4 to an 8. Head growth is a side effect of anabolic steroid abuse.
Arum said Wednesday that he believes he's figured what set Mayweather off: A cognac commercial Pacquiao did that has been appearing regularly during NBA playoff telecasts.
"What has really triggered this, I think is that Floyd is a basketball junkie and he's watching all these playoff games," Arum told Yahoo! Sports. "What does he see when he's watching those games, over and over? Manny's Hennessy commercial. It's a piece that shows Manny chasing his dreams, from when he was a kid to the present."
Arum said Mayweather's comments about Pacquiao's hat size was the clue he needed to come up with this idea: An actor who resembles Pacquiao was hired to play a young Pacquiao in the commercial, while the scenes involving the current Pacquiao were played by Pacquiao himself.
"There is this actor who sort of looks like Manny, but you can't really tell and they shoot it in a way that makes you think it's a younger Manny, and he's in a gym working out," Arum said. "Then it segues to a scene where it is Manny. So when Mayweather is talking about the size of the head, that's got to be where he gets it. He's seeing this commercial over and over and over in just about every NBA game that's on television and we know he loves to watch basketball. He's a basketball junkie. And yeah, there are two different-sized heads, but one's an actor's and the other's is Manny's."
Still, Arum said Pacquiao's rants make no sense since Pacquiao has agreed to accept the random blood and urine testing that Mayweather demands of all opponents now. In a Feb. 17 interview with Yahoo! Sports in his suite at the MGM Grand, Pacquiao said he would take the test without restriction, as Mayweather had requested.
I told him, 'OK, 50-50 [with the money] and I'll agree to everything else.' I told him I would agree to all of the other things he was demanding. Everything. Even the blood testing he wanted, I would do it. But it had to be 50-50.
Arum said Mayweather's stance about protecting his health makes no sense since Pacquiao has agreed to the testing. When pushed, Arum said he agreed that no one would want to fight someone who was boosted by PED usage, but he said it's a moot point since Pacquiao has unequivocally agreed to all of the testing.
"Manny Pacquiao is not using now and has not ever used steroids," Arum said. "But for now, forget about whether [Mayweather] has proof about what he's saying. It doesn't matter because for two years, Manny has said he'd agreed to the testing. Manny is saying that, not me. You've talked to him. He's told you himself. So if Manny has agreed to the testing, how is Floyd going to be disadvantaged when they'll be checking the blood and urine of both guys?"