De La Hoya Blog: Pacquiao-Mayweather impasse
Oscar De La Hoya gives his take on Manny Pacquiao’s refusal to take Olympic-style random blood tests, which is threatening to scuttle a pending fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on March 13. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, has said that the fighter is willing to take blood tests three months before the fight, 30 days before the fight and after the fight but not random tests. Pacquiao doesn’t want to be tested close to fight because, he says, it weakens him. The sides appear to be considering a compromise that would involve a cutoff date for testing – maybe 3-5 days before the fight – to solve the impasse. De La Hoya has fought two fighters found to have taken performance enhancing drugs – Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas. He also fought Pacquiao.
First of all, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency agreed that they won’t take blood from the fighters 48 hours before the fight as some people seem to think. They’re going to take only a few tablespoons through random testing in the three months leading up to the fight.
If Pacquiao, the toughest guy on the planet, is afraid of needles and having a few tablespoons of blood drawn from his system, then something is wrong. The guy has tattoos everywhere; he’s tattooed from top to bottom. You’re telling me he’s afraid of needles?
And the idea that urine tests can detect HGH [Human Growth Hormone] is wrong. I talked to Travis Tygart, CEO of the USADA. He testified before Congress that anyone who says HGH can be detected by a urine test is mistaken. It can only be detected by a blood test.
So you have to do the blood work. If Pacquiao doesn’t want to do this and risk a possible $40 million payday because he’s afraid of needles or believes he’ll be weakened by blood tests, then that raises question marks.
Now I have to wonder about him. I’m saying to myself, “Wow. Those Mosley punches, those Vargas punches and those Pacquiao punches all felt the same.” I’m not saying yes or no [about whether Pacquiao might be taking performance-enhancing drugs]; I’m just saying that now people have to wonder: “Why doesn’t he want to do this? Why is it such a big deal.”
A lot of eyebrows have been raised. This is not good at all.
I believe Mayweather wants to do the right thing, to get tested properly. He’s not doing it to harass Pacquiao; that’s garbage. I would say to Pacquiao: “Do the test. Do it because it’s only a couple of tablespoons. Needles don’t hurt. Just look away when they put the needle in your arm.” He’ll probably lose more blood in the fight than the blood being drawn for the test.
And do it because we as a sport are in a unique situation. We can paint ourselves as the cleanest sport by doing this test. Why don’t you want to do it?
C’mon. It’s only a little bit of blood. If you have nothing to hide, then do the test.