COMMENTARY | In a lot of ways, the era of serious PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) talk in boxing began in late 2009 when a proposed mega-bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather completely fell apart over the issue.
Mayweather's demand for blood testing above and beyond the standard commission tests and Pacquiao's refusal to submit to random testing killed all possibility of ever making the fight and would become the talk of the sport for the next several years. Even to this day, more than three years removed from the beginning of the fiasco, a heated debate will break out whenever the topic of Mayweather-Pacquiao comes up. With enough public bad blood to fill every spit bucket from General Santos City to Las Vegas, The Floyd, Manny, and PEDs debacle has easily been the biggest boxing story of the new millennium.
And while the dust has mostly settled on this well-traveled controversy, someone will invariably come along to once again add some kinetic energy to the storm.
This time, four-division world champ and all-around Mexican tough guy, Jorge "El Travieso" Arce, has spoken up about Pacquiao and where he thinks the eight-division world champ really gets his mojo:
"Pacquiao is getting something, that's for sure," Arce told Boxingscene.com. "He never [comes up] positive [during drug tests], so it is logical that he is using something that is legal or not detectable in his urine. Because I remember when Pacquiao did not want to fight [Floyd] Mayweather, because [Mayweather] said that he wanted to have doping tests [involved in their fight] and Manny refused to have them. Pacman is coming from [the] flyweight [division] and walks around at welterweight. I am convinced that Manny is getting something, but it is not detectable. I've seen him overwhelm [fighters] who are much bigger than him."
Ironically, the 33-year-old Arce has also tasted the nasty side of PEDs allegations with his recent decision to hire controversial strength and conditioning coach Angel "Memo" Heredia Hernandez, a convicted supplier of performance enhancing drugs to high-profile athletes.
Arce's allegations add to a growing list of fighters and trainers who have also made such statements regarding the Filipino icon's rise in weight and brutal dominance over elite, world class fighters.
And while Pacquiao's fairly tepid and tame recent performances have worked to negate those unproven allegations, past showings certainly raised suspicions in the minds of some critics. Those who saw the former flyweight champion win four high-profile bouts in four different divisions (super featherweight-welterweight) over a span of fourteen months in 2008-2009 will loudly cry foul despite having no concrete proof of any wrongdoing.
Contrary to what Pacquiao's massive legion of loyal fans would like to believe, Mayweather's allegations against Pacquiao were not pulled out of thin air. Whether right or wrong, factually correct or totally bogus, Mayweather was merely giving public voice to the buzz that was already circulating among fight fans and close observers of the sport. Since then, prominent figures such as Paulie Malignaggi and Jorge Arce have also affirmed their belief that something had been peculiar about Manny Pacquiao's rise to superstar welterweight status from lower-weight glory.
Of course, Manny has never failed a state commission PEDs test and likely never will. But, given the utter uselessness of the outdated commission testing, that is hardly absolute proof of a fighter's clean hands anymore.
In today's atmosphere of PEDs speculation and willful ignorance on the part of the commissions, everybody can be considered a doping suspect-- whether there is basis for accusation or not. And with a bigger name, the target also seems to get bigger.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Miguel Rivera, Arce Believes Pacquiao Has Used Performance Enhancers, Boxingscene