Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has made the smart decision and agreed to accept random Olympic-style drug testing during the preparation for his November fight with Brandon Rios, according to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports:
Pacquiao's deal with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association ensures that he will be randomly tested for performance enhancing drug usage prior to his Nov. 23 (Nov. 24 in China) welterweight bout with Brandon Rios at Cotai Arena in Macau, China. It is not known if Rios has signed the paperwork yet, but he has agreed to do so.
VADA's Dr. Margaret Goodman confirmed to Yahoo! Sports on Monday that she had received payment for the testing for Pacquiao and Rios, but said she hadn't received the signed contracts from the fighters. Top Rank now has Pacquiao's signed contract and is going to forward that to VADA.
This is a huge step in the right direction for Pacquiao as he and his public relations team slowly begin building him back up as a megastar. There is no questioning how popular Pac-Man is internationally, but after two losses in a row (including a devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez), many fans and experts feel the end of the road is near.
If Pacquiao beats the bigger Rios decisively and he does it clean, it would start the fighter’s re-ascension back to the top of the sport and back into contention for a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather.
It was during the negotiations between Pacquiao’s side and Mayweather’s that there were accusations of performance-enhancing drug usage, and per Ken Ritter of the Associated Press, that was the reason Pac-Man filed a defamation suit against Money and his team that was settled in 2012.
There were questions about Pacquiao's stance on drug testing, but he has agreed to the random testing against Rios and had come out publicly to say he was open to the testing during the time when a superfight with Mayweather was still the hottest topic in boxing.
Mayweather has no real reason to accept a potential fight with Pac-Man anymore, because he is clearly the superior fighter with the more impressive record, but Pacuaio’s willingness to take the drug tests that Money originally requested proves this fight is not dead yet.
As much as Mayweather may not want this fight, Pac-Man has done everything in his power to portray himself as the good guy in this battle through the media. Accepting this Olympic-style testing puts the pressure on Money to respond.
Drug testing has been viewed as the main issue that kept these two juggernauts from fighting when this was the biggest bout anyone could have dreamed up, and by Pacquiao accepting these conditions, he makes himself look like the one trying top give the fans what they want once again.
If the testing is no longer an issue, boxing fans want their superfight. Pacquiao has left the undefeated champion with no excuses, and now the pressure is on Mayweather to make this bout happen.
Taking the tests against Rios will be the smartest move of Pac-Man's career.