It's hardly a surprise, but both Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao passed their post-fight drug scans administered by the Nevada Athletic Commission after their fight Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Marquez won the fourth fight between the two via sixth-round knockout.
According to executive director Keith Kizer, Marquez and Pacquiao were tested for performance enhancing drugs, masking agents and drugs of abuse and results came back negative.
Both men have faced allegations of PED usage. Prior to the fourth Pacquiao fight, Marquez's more muscular physique and his relationship with admitted steroids distributor Angel Guillermo "Memo" Heredia attracted attention.
Marquez vehemently denied using any type of performance-enhancing drug.
As far as people thinking I am taking steroids? I would take the test. Let them take my blood. I don't care. [I would do it] just to shut everybody up. Of course my fight tests have always been clean. I don't know how those rumors get started.
Pacquiao, too, has been a target. He filed a defamation suit against arch rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2009 after Mayweather made allegations against him. They settled the suit in September, though terms of the settlement are confidential.
The problem is that until there is some sort of regular drug testing regimen in boxing, all fighters are going to be suspicious. Nevada did not test either Marquez or Pacquiao until the day of the fight, making it impossible to detect the usage of certain substances such as EPO. EPO is a hormone that increases the blood's ability to carry oxygen. All traces of it leave the body within 24 hours.
Larry Bowers, the chief scientist of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said in an affadavit in the Lance Armstrong case that the lack of a positive test is not proof that one did not dope.
The major boxing promoters have to begin -- and soon -- a serious, long-term effort to eradicate performance-enhancing drugs from the sport. This is not baseball, where the use of PEDs only put sacred records at stake. In a fight, the use of PEDs dramatically increases the risk of serious injury or death.
Promoters can no longer ignore the dangers of PEDs, clean drug tests or not. There are too many ways for one who wants to cheat to beat the system. Only long-term, random testing will help decrease cheating.