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Point of Law: Pacquiao-Mayweather Fight Still in Drug Testing Dispute

  • By G.Monty Manibog
MontyManibog The use of performance-enhancing drugs in athletic competition is, of course, a criminal offense but also brings about disciplinary sanctions against the erring athletes by their sports associations. Editor’s note: Former Monterey Park mayor, Monty Mannibog, is a contributory columnist offering legal tips and perspectives in high profile legal cases and events. In the World Olympics, the committee has in place a process to test athletes for performance enhancing drugs AFTER they win medals: If a medalist tested positive, he/she loses the medals won, as happened to runner Ben Johnson of Canada when he won and lost the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, which I personally witnessed while serving as head coach of the Philippines Olympic Wrestling team.  Of course, laws were also broken and criminal sanctions may follow.

There are no laws requiring drug testing in professional boxing, but according to Dr. Joe Noriega of Montebello, California, a World Boxing Hall of Famer and commissioner of the World Boxing Hall of Fame (also supervisory commissioner of the World Boxing Association), there are internal regulations that allow for urine testing.  However, should there be reason to believe that a boxer used performance-enhancing drugs blood tests would be performed and there would be both criminal and disciplinary taken within the WBA.  He further advises that there may be some urine testing but no requirements for blood testing without special reason.

The much anticipated title fight between Philippine boxing sensation, Manny (“Pacman”) Pacquiao, the “world’s greatest fighter, pound for pound” and multiple WBA superwelterweight world champion, Floyd Mayweather, failed to materialize earlier this year because of a drug test dispute between both camps.  It appeared that Mayweather wanted a blood test shortly before the fight but Pacquiao opted for an after the fight test because, he claims, giving up blood before the  match would weaken him.

A Pacquiao-Mayweather match is still in the works (assuming Mayweather dispatches top ranked Shane Moseley this summer).  But both camps will most likely settle their differences, not by law nor by WBA rules, but by their own pragmatic approach to the stalemate, clearly bearing in mind that such a match is predicted to take in the largest gate receipts ever (including closed circuit TV worldwide) and earn for each fighter a fortune unmatched in the history of boxing.

Obviously, money still prevails as the major considerations in most transactions.  My bet is on the “Pacman” but because of the caliber and record of both fighters, there’s no strong confidence of the outcome either way.

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