Is the highly anticipated mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in jeopardy? According to their camps, it very well could be.
According to a press release from Mayweather's camp, Pac-Man's promoter Golden Boy Promotions informed them that the Filipino fighter is refusing to comply with Olympic style drug testing 30 days before the fight, because of superstition.
Mayweather's management has requested that the tests be done to ensure fair play and sportsmanship by both fighters. Manny isn't budging. Golden Boy Promotions Richard Schaefer was contacted by Top Rank President Todd duBoef Tuesday, who informed him that Pacquiao would not agree to have his blood taken within 30-days of the bout based his own beliefs.
"Todd told me that Pacquiao has difficulty with taking blood and doesn't want to do it so close to the fight," said Schaefer. "He, Pacquiao, would only agree to have blood drawn before the kick-off press conference and after the fight."
Olympic style drug testing involves random sampling of the athlete's blood and urine prior to and after the fight. The USADA procedure includes both blood and urine sampling so that all banned substances, some of which do not show up in urine alone, are tested for thoroughly.
Mayweather's camp says they're surprised by Manny's refusal.
"It is unfortunate to hear this from Manny Pacquiao's representatives, particularly since, as of today, both parties had worked out all other issues related to this fight," said Schaefer. "Team Mayweather is certainly surprised that an elite athlete like Manny Pacquiao would refuse drug testing procedures, which Floyd has already agreed to and have been agreed to by many other top athletes such as Lance Armstrong, and Olympians Michael Phelps, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant."
After hearing the news, Mayweather says Pacquiao may have to explain himself immediately or be faced with accusations from the media and the public regarding his own status as a clean and drug free athlete.
"I understand Pacquiao not liking having his blood taken, because frankly, I don't know anyone who really does," said Mayweather. "But in a fight of this magnitude, I think it is our responsibility to subject ourselves to sportsmanship at the highest level. I have already agreed to the testing and it is a shame that he is not willing to do the same.
"It leaves me with great doubt as to the level of fairness I would be facing in the ring that night," he continued. "I hope that this is either some miscommunication or that Manny will change his mind and step up and allow these tests, which were good enough for all these other great athletes, to be performed by USADA."
At press time, Pacquiao had yet to comment on the situation.
Update: BoxingTalk.com recently completed an interview with Top Rank President Bob Arum, who said that Manny Pacquiao would have no problem taking the Olympic style drug test Floyd Mayweather is requesting, immediately following the bout. A full-length interview with the site is coming soon.