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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Column: Pacman don’t need no ’roids, he’s got dynamite!

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By Mark Lee
Northwest Asian Weekly

he Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight has now been called off. Pacquiao has also filed a defamation lawsuit against Mayweather, his father Floyd Sr., his uncle Roger, and Golden Boy Promotions for allegedly accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs.

The controversy started after Pacquiao knocked out British boxer Ricky Hatton in the second round last year. Hatton was trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr. Before the Hatton fight, several British papers reported that Floyd Sr. was going to get fired by Hatton’s camp for problems that included showing up late for training.

After Hatton was knocked out, Floyd did not try to support his fighter. Instead, he signed autographs, and during the post-fight conference, he blamed Hatton by claiming that he did not follow his instructions about keeping his hands up. He also stated that Hatton should retire.

At some point, after the Hatton fight, Floyd Sr. also claimed that Pacquiao had to be on steroids given how hard he hit Hatton.

Fast forward a few months and a fight is scheduled with Floyd Sr.’s son. The steroid issue was raised again, and after lengthy negotiations, the fight was eventually called off. The Mayweather camp wanted blood tests by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which conducts tests anytime a fight is signed to the fight date. However, the Pacquiao camp refused to provide these samples. They were only willing to allow blood to be taken from Pacquiao at least 30 days before the fight date, as well as immediately after the conclusion of the bout. Freddie Roach, on the other hand, commented that he would allow a blood sample to be taken from Pacquiao at least one week before the fight.

None of the news reports I have seen ever mentioned any solid evidence of steroid use such as witnesses who claimed they supplied steroids to Pacquiao. Floyd Sr. started the whole controversy by insulting Pacquiao and insisting that he had to be on steroids. He has a pattern of obnoxious behavior. For example, before the Hatton fight, he called Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie “the joke” Roach. Pacquiao should not have had to go out of his way to accommodate Mayweather, and it is understandable that he eventually decided to not bother doing business with someone who is disrespectful.

Pacquiao’s physique does not appear to show signs associated with steroid use such as upper body acne. He did bulk up from fighting at 106 pounds when he was 16 to his current 147-pound fighting weight at age 31.

However, people ofen fill out as they get older. Pacquiao’s strength coach, the usually reserved Alex Ariza, felt compelled to defend his fighter to the press and detailed the boxer’s 7,000-calorie diet, approved supplemental intake, and natural physique.

His power comes from the combination of a number of factors. Basically, power is a product of mass times speed. The faster you punch, the harder you hit. But you also need to coordinate your motions so that you get the maximum weight behind the punch.

Pacquiao has a lot of leg strength, which he uses to drive his upper body in transmitting power into his fists.

He has developed the ability to hit from a variety of angles, and he has excellent footwork, which puts him into a position where he can blast through his opponents guard.

There are many factors that give the “Pacman” his winning edge, and steroid use is highly unlikely.

Pacquiao does not like to get his blood drawn shortly before a fight because of his belief that it weakens him.

Some news reports made it sound like taking blood is just a pin prick. I called up a local lab testing service and was told a minimum sample takes at least 3 milliliters. The sample size can vary depending on how the blood test is conducted. In some cases, the blood sample can fill up the whole collection vial and be as much as 8 milliliters. This is quite a bit more than just a drop.

Pacquiao is now scheduled to fight Joshua Clottey, who is from Ghana. Unlike Mayweather, who is more of a tactical defensive boxer, Clottey has a reputation as an aggressive fighter. He also comes across as polite and leaves out the tiresome trash talk you hear from a lot of fighters. At 5’9”, he has a substantial size advantage over Pacquiao. But as we know, that didn’t stop Pacquiao from annihilating Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto.

The fight is scheduled for March 13, and it should an exciting one! ♦


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