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Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have both been ordered to take immediate drug tests by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
NAC chairman Pat Lundvall issued the demand on Monday in line with the commission's random testing policy, which conforms to the World Anti Doping Agency's guidelines.
Even though the proposed March 13 fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao has not yet been finalized, as both men are licensed fighters in Nevada they are subject to random tests.
However, the tests will only sample urine, and despite the commission's actions, a resolution to the argument over blood testing which is threatening the staging of the fight is no nearer.
Lundvall ordered NAC executive director Keith Kizer to inform Mayweather and Pacquiao that they would be tested by an independent testing company, LabCorp. Mayweather will provide a sample in Las Vegas and Pacquiao will go to an approved laboratory in the Philippines.
This move by the commission seems designed to show it is committed to a drug testing policy, following the flurry of publicity surrounding performance enhancing drugs in the negotiations over the fight.
At a board meeting Monday, Lundvall and Kizer revealed there had been no requests for blood testing for the proposed superfight submitted through their organization as yet.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum made a "final offer" on Sunday, claiming he and Pacquiao would abide by whatever system the NAC deemed appropriate, and that Mayweather and Golden Boy should do the same. Pacquiao has previously rejected Mayweather's demands for random blood tests at any time leading up to the fight.
Lundvall insisted that differing medical opinion and information on the efficacy of various testing systems, made it difficult to ascertain which was the optimum program to use. However, she claimed she was confident the method employed by NAC was effective in catching cheats.
However, the commission's stance now makes it even less likely Golden Boy and Mayweather would agree to let the commission make the final decision on testing, as stipulated by Arum.
The likely next step is that Arum will go ahead with preliminary negotiations for a replacement fight for Pacquiao with Paulie Malignaggi, and wait to see if the Mayweather camp softens its stance.
The superfight is not yet dead, but ground needs to be given on both sides. With the egos and issues involved, that could be a slow process.
- Manny Pacquiao