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Saturday, February 27, 2010

No steroid testing for Pacquiao-Clottey fight

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By Wallace Matthews / Newsday (MCT)

Manny Pacquiao’s last fight fell apart over steroid testing.

For his next fight, it won’t even be an issue.

Pacquiao, whose negotiations for a projected $100-million megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. collapsed in January when he balked at Mayweather’s demands for random, Olympic-style blood testing, will not be tested at all before or after his March 13 welterweight title fight against Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

According to a spokeswoman for the Texas Combative Sports Program, the state agency that regulates boxing matches, Texas does not test boxers for steroids unless there is probable cause. "As of this date," the spokeswoman said, "the executive director, William Kuntz, finds he has no good cause to order it."

Kuntz was not available for comment, but Clottey, who lost a split decision to Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in his last fight in June, said he would not request Pacquiao be tested before this fight.

"I don’t want to do that because I respect him so much," Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs) said on a conference call on Thursday. "I don’t think Manny Pacquiao would do that. But if he does, then he’s cheating the sport."

Clottey’s opinion was echoed by his manager, Vinny Scolpino, who said, "We’ll comply by the commission’s rules. If they want to implement further testing, let ’em implement it and we’ll follow it. If Manny is a super-champion, we all hope he’s doing the right thing."

After Pacquiao’s convincing 12th-round TKO of Cotto in November, Mayweather’s camp accused Pacquiao, a former 106-pounder who now fights as a welterweight, of using steroids and demanded he submit to random blood-testing the week of the fight.

Pacquiao, who has never failed a postfight steroid test, refused and for now, what might have been the most lucrative prize fight of all time was put on hold while Pacquiao faces Clottey next month and Mayweather takes on Shane Mosley on May 1.

"Is (Pacquiao-Clottey) a consolation prize? Well, in a way," promoter Bob Arum said. "The fight everyone wanted to see didn’t happen for one reason or another, but who the hell knows? Maybe Joshua beats Manny and Mosley beats Mayweather and then we’re doing a Clottey-Mosley fight. So what? Life goes on. That’s what makes boxing interesting."

Arum said he expects a near-sellout for the fight in an 80,000-seat stadium that will be configured to seat 45,000. "If you believe, as I do, that boxing is a big-time sport, that it isn’t a niche sport or a dying sport, then putting your event in a stadium like this or Yankee Stadium or the new Meadowlands Stadium is a great way to prove it," he said. "It’ll be a great night of boxing. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders will be all over the place, there’ll be fireworks, and a terrific main event."

And no steroid testing to spoil the fun.


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