(Reuters) - Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have agreed to take part in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Olympic-style testing program ahead of their May 2 mega-bout in Las Vegas, USADA said on Friday.
Drug testing had long been a major stumbling block in bringing together the biggest drawcards of their generation, but USADA confirmed both fighters have consented to rules established under the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned-substance list.
"It’s a strong statement of the importance of clean and safe competition to have these two fighters voluntarily agree to have a WADA level anti-doping program implemented for this fight," said USADA CEO Travis Tygart in a statement. "We commend them for their stand for clean sport and the message it sends to all those who want to compete clean at the highest levels of all sport."
The welterweight showdown between the undefeated Mayweather (47-0) and Pacquiao (57-5-2) is projected to be the most lucrative ever in boxing but was delayed for years over the American's demands that his Philippines' opponent submit to drug testing.
Five-division world champion Mayweather, who is known for his shrewd business acumen, had been expected to meet Pacquiao in 2010 until negotiations collapsed over his demand for random drug testing.
Mayweather has hinted at illegal methods by questioning how Pacquiao could have won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight classes.
The defense-minded Mayweather and the aggressive Pacquiao have already received education on the USADA program and have enrolled in USADA's registered testing pool by providing their whereabouts so they can be located for out-of-competition testing prior to the fight.
USADA will also perform in-competition testing after the fight.
Both fighters agreed to both blood and urine testing.
Samples collected by USADA will be sent to a WADA-accredited laboratory for analysis, including testing for human growth hormone (HGH) and erythropoietin (EPO).
USADA and the Nevada State Athletic Commission are working collaboratively and will share all relevant information about the program including all test results.
(Story refiled to restore dropped words in first para)
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Gene Cherry)