Four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez said that he would be willing to undergo random drug testing in order to quell speculation that he might be on steroids heading into his HBO Pay Per View-televised fourth bout with eight-division titlewinner Manny Pacquiao on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Marquez (54-6-2, 39 knockouts) sparked controversy and came under scrutiny after hooking up with controversial strength guru Angel Hernandez for his last fight against Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs), to whom Marquez lost a disputed majority decision.
Hernandez had been widely known to have a history of being involved in performance-enhancing activities, having gone by his real name, Angel Heredia, in May of 2008 when he testified in a San Francisco Court that he supplied former track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery with illegal substances.
A graduate of Texas A&M’s exercise science program, Hernandez never was convicted of any crimes, although he admitted to giving the blood-booster EPO, growth hormone and insulin to Jones in 2000 at the request of her then-coach Trevor Graham, who was on trial. Heredia also sold banned substances to Montgomery.
Hernandez was hired by Marquez in order to achieve better results than he did in his welterweight debut, a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September of 2009, and has insisted that his state-of-the-art techniques helped Marquez to gain strength and weight for Pacquiao.
During Wednesday’s national press conference, Marquez was asked by USA Today‘s Jon Saracino what he was doing “specifically in training camp with” Heredia, and also what he thought “about people suggesting that your body looks so different that you must be using steroids or some other banned substance.”
“First of all, I would like to tell you that I have never done this type of work before in 18 years,” said Marquez, through translations by his promoter, Fernando Beltran. “That’s why my body has changed. I’ve been working very hard. And, specifically, it has helped me to gain a lot more strength.”
“[Hernandez] is a professional, and he knows how many weights to put on every time I’m working out. Of course, I’m getting more strength and I’m getting stronger and everything. As for the steroids, I’m willing to give myself to any anti-doping tests. Why don’t Manny Pacquiao and I both do it? I don’t care. To shut everybody up. And, of course, my exams have always been clear.”
MARQUEZ, TRAINER SAY INCREASED STRENGTH, SPEED WILL BE FACTORS
Marquez’s trainer, Nacho Beristain, said that that his fighter “will be better than ever.” Hernandez has vowed that Marquez would be “bigger, stronger and faster,” and Marquez himself has said that he will “try to knock out” Pacquiao.
But neither Roach, nor Pacquiao is concerned about Marquez’s conditioning.
“I don’t think that it’s a factor because I don’t think that muscle makes you have a better chin,” said Roach. “The thing is that he’s put a lot more muscle on and I think he’s slower than he used to be, and we’re going to take advantage of that.”
Marquez, however, believes that strength has indeed been a factor, having remained on his feet during their November clash after having been floored by Pacquiao three times in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and dropped once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008.
“I think that it’s in my favor that Freddie Roach thinks that I’ve gotten a little bit slower because my muscles are bigger, but, obviously, I’m working perfectly on the speed and at getting stronger. They’re going to get a surprise on Dec. 8,” said Marquez, who turned 39 in August, after rebounding from the loss to Pacquiao with April’s unanimous decision over Sergei Fedchenko for the WBO’s 140-pound belt.
“What you need to notice is that in the last fight with Manny Pacquiao, that was my first time with Angel Heredia after 18 years of doing the same, the same, the same thing. This time, I’ve been accumulating everything. This time, I will do more with more speed, because November was our first time together. Now, I’ve had a lot of sessions with him, and I’m getting used to it and doing things with more speed.”
BERISTAIN, MARQUEZ PRAISE HECTOR CAMACHO
Marquez and Beristain both offered praise to the late four-time, three-division champion Hector “Macho” Camacho, who died in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this past Saturday, and whose funeral was held on Tuesday also in San Juan.
Camacho (79-6-3, 38 knockouts) was never knocked out over the course of a career that included two victories over Roberto Duran, one each over Sugar Ray Leonard, Edwin Rosario, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Howard Davis, Rafael “Bazooka” Limon, Vinny Pazienza, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, and Freddie Roach, and losses to Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez and Felix Trinidad.
“I think that Camacho was great in this sport, and I wish his family recovery very soon,” said Beristain. “He’s leaving, in the sport, for Puerto Rico, a tremendous legacy. He was a sensational fighter. “
Marquez replied with similar sentiment.
“I send my best to his family. I hope that they are able to recover, themselves, soon,” said Marquez. “Of course, Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho was a special sportsman.”
MARQUEZ IS ‘HAPPY’ WITH OFFICIALS FOR FOURTH FIGHT
Referee Kenny Bayless was chosen to work the ring for Pacquiao-Marquez IV, while the judges will be Adelaide Byrd of Las Vegas, Steve Weisfeld of New Jersey and John Keane of England.
During a recent interview, Marquez said of his last loss to Pacquiao, “once again the three judges took away my victory. And there is nothing I can do about them,” adding, “It seems that Manny has only one opponent every time we fight — me — while I have four: Manny and the three judges.”
Asked if he thought the judges would be inclined to compensate Pacquiao for his loss to Bradley, however, Marquez softened his stance on Tuesday.
“I’m not thinking about the judges. I’m just happy with the selection of the judges going into this fight. I’m thinking of the fight, and not of the judges,” said Marquez.
“The only thing is that I expect is that the judges do a very good job and a clean job and that they qualify everything that happens in the ring. So I’m not concerned about the judges now. I’m concentrating on the fight.”
HBO TO REPLAY THE PACQUIAO-MARQUEZ TRILOGY
HBO Sports will present the exclusive replay of the first three fights between Pacquiao and Marquez, starting on Friday with Pacquiao-Marquez I on HBO2 at 12:15 a.m.
HBO Signature will replay Pacquiao vs. Marquez II on Dec. 1 at 10:00 p.m., followed immediately by Pacquiao vs. Marquez III at 10:55 p.m. In addition, HBO2 replays all three fights back-to-back starting at 10:45 a.m. on Dec. 1. All times are ET/PT.
TOR HAMER MEETS VYACHESLAV GLAZKOV ON TOMASZ ADAMEK-STEVE CUNNINGHAM CARD
Heavyweights Tor Hamer (19-1, 12 KOs), of New York, and Vyacheslav Glazkov (13-0, 9 KOs), of the Ukraine, will meet in a Dec. 22 co-feature beneath the main event between former titleholders Tomasz Adamek (47-2, 29 KOs) and Steve Cunningham (25-4, 12 KOs) as part of a special afternoon edition of NBC’s Fight Night boxing series.
The broadcast begins at 4PM ET, from the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA.
NONITO DONAIRE’S YEAR-ROUND DRUG TESTING CONTINUES
RING junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire continued his commitment to year-round, random drug testing that is being conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) with another surprise test on Tuesday.
Soon after the procedure was completed in in San Marcos, Calif., Donaire his fans of the results with a photo taken by his wife, Rachel, on his Twitter account. Donaire’s procedure officially began with his first test in August.
Donaire has an HBO-televised, Dec. 15 defense against four-division titlewinner Jorge Arce set for the Toyota Center in Houston, with a matchup between WBA 122-pound beltholder Guillermo Rigondeaux and Thailand’s former titleholder Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym being slated for the undercard.
BILLY DIB-MAURICIO MUNOZ BID WON BY 50 CENTS’ SMS PROMOTIONS
Attorney Leon Margules, acting on behalf of rapper 50 Cent (aka, Curtis Jackson) and his SMS Promotions company, offered the minimum amount of $50,000 as the lone bidder for the right to promote a defense by Australian IBF featherweight beltholder Billy Dib and Argentinia’s Mauricio Munoz, Margules confirmed on Tuesday.
Jackson, who has 90 days to put o the fight, also has super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell, former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa, Australian IBF featherweight and featherweight contender Celestino Caballero in his stable.
Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) will fight on the Pacquiao-Marquez IV undercard against southpaw Filipino Michael Farenas (34-3-4, 26 KOs), as will southpaw featherweight Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KOs) opposite Patrick Hyland (27-0, 12 KOs), and IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez (32-3, 13 KOs) against left-hander Mercito Gesta (26-0, 14 KOs).
The card will also feature the debut of Mexican-American amateur sensation Jose Ramirez, who is considered to be among the premiere prospects in the 2012 Olympic Games in London despite being eliminated following his first-round victory.
Ramirez, 20, went 145-11 as an amateur, winning 11 national titles. As a lightweight, Ramirez, of Avenal, Calif., surpassed Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley to become USA Boxing’s all-time record-holder.
Photo by Rafael Soto, Top Rank
Photo by Chris Robinson
Photo by Rafael Soto, Top Rank
Photos courtesy of HBO
‘Photo courtesy of Rachel Donaire
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]