COMMENTARY | Even before the negative drug test results were made public for Juan Manuel Marquez's sixth round knockout of Manny Pacquiao last Saturday in Las Vegas, promoter Bob Arum was walking the fine line between accusation and mock-concern, talking about the need for random blood testing for the next Pacquiao-Marquez clash.
Speaking to the media during the press conference for the upcoming Nonito Donaire-Jorge Arce clash in Houston, the aged promoter addressed the possibility of a fifth encounter between Pacquiao and Marquez. According to Ronnie Nathanielsz of Boxingscene, Arum would make it clear that while he can't tell who is using performance enhancing drugs or not, he would "insist" on pre-fight random blood testing for any sort of return match between the two future hall of famers.
Although neither fighter has ever tested positive for a banned substance under commission testing and, as mentioned earlier, both fighters again tested clean after Saturday's bout, Arum somehow feels testing will now be necessary.
Since testing was never an issue in any of their previous bouts, the implication, of course, is that there is something suspect about Marquez's knockout win. That implication comes as an extension of Freddie Roach's pre-fight statement: "If (Marquez's body) is natural, I will kiss his ass."
Marquez's work with controversial strength and conditioning coach, Angel "Memo" Hernandez and a noticeable change in physique brought on the rumors and speculations of PEDs use, but no random pre-fight testing was stipulated for the bout and, so, the only real screening was done by the Nevada State Athletic Commission-- a testing protocol widely-regarded as outdated and fairly easy to beat by those with the right kind of doping experience.
Still, Marquez has never tested positive for a banned substance and had never even been accused of using anything other than legal supplements and a heavy dosage of hard work and technical training. Arum's sudden concern over possible PEDs use comes off as a complete about-face from all previous stances regarding pre-fight random blood testing.
Ironically, Arum's outrage over forced pre-fight PEDs testing was a key factor in killing initial fight negotiations between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in early 2010.
During those failed talks, Arum raged against the idea that his fighter, Pacquiao, would be forced to undergo extra testing despite never having tested positive for any banned substances over the course of his career. The refusal to compromise on random blood testing for the bout would eventually lead to Arum and Team Pacquiao walking away from the table and never really looking back.
Now, less than two years later, Arum is proudly proposing the same pre-fight stipulation.
Remember, though, this is the same man who publicly wanted to push for a full investigation into the scoring behind Pacquiao's split decision loss to Timothy Bradley in June, but gladly accepted the putrid scoring that had Brandon Rios winning a split decision over Richard Abril just two months earlier.
For the record, Marquez insists that he has always been a clean fighter and has publicly stated that he'd be happy to undergo random pre-fight testing for any future bout.
"If I continue fighting, I'd like to do Olympic-style anti-doping tests with my opponent," Marquez told Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times. "There was so much about people say(ing) these things about me. I don't like to use substances. I didn't. I trained hard."
Hypocrisy and mind-rattling double standards are commonplace in boxing, but this one is especially jarring.
The outrage over being accused or even suspected of using illegal substances has been replaced by the rush to accuse another fighter of using illegal substances. Go figure.
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.
Lance Pugmire, Juan Manuel Marquez promises he's clean, wants Olympic testing, Los Angeles Times
Ronnie Nathanielsz, Arum on Board With Testing For Pacquiao-Marquez 5, Boxingscene