First and foremost, let me just get it out of the way. Yes, I made a Milli Vanilli reference.
Now more importantly, during the season premier of "ESPN Friday Night Fights," Teddy Atlas alleged that a member of Team Pacquiao sent the Mayweather camp an e-mail asking what the penalty would be if the "Pacman" tested positive for an illegal substance. A second e-mail, allegedly, was sent asking that if he did in fact test positive if it could be swept under the rug "for the sake of boxing."
Really? Are you kidding me right now?
I hope, for Manny's sake, this is completely fabricated. Because if it isn't, this is a huge blow to one of the most prolific stories of modern day sports. Actually, it's a story that transcends sports.
A boxer crosses over to the mainstream, on average, once every generation. There was Oscar, "Iron" Mike," "Sugar" Ray and of course, the greatest, Muhammad Ali.
This generation it is Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao was named the 80th most influential person in the world for 2009, according to TIME magazine. Maybe we should squeeze in the likes of Victor Conte at 79. That might seem harsh, but when you consider the fact that Sarah Palin was actually in the 79th position, it almost seems like an upgrade, but I digress.
Personally, I've enjoyed watching the Filipino sensation ever since he scored a technical draw against Agapito Sanchez back in 2001.
I wasn't the first guy to ever witness the man fight, but I can definitely say I've watched him become a star.
On the same "ESPN Friday Night Fights" telecast, Freddie Roach told Brian Kenny that Pacquiao was 100 percent clean and that he had a hard enough time just getting Pacquiao to take vitamins.
I've met Roach on a couple of occasions, and he is one of the most stand up guys in the sport. I really don't have a reason to doubt anything that comes out of his mouth. So when he says that Pacquiao is clean I'd like to believe it...even if it is coming from a guy that makes a living off his success.
I genuinely hope what he says is true.
I hate to use a tired cliche, but boxing has suffered enough black eyes (Okay, I didn't hate it that much).
If Atlas' sources are correct, then Manny has a serious problem. Either it's that he is in fact cheating, or it's that he has incompetent handlers.
Either way, it is an issue that needs to be addressed. The e-mails point to the former being a problem.
Then again, maybe he's doing this all on his own, drug free. I can't really say for sure. I'd like to say he is. But I just don't know.
If he isn't, then every win he has since his meteoric rise to fame in 2003 against Marco Antonio Barrera comes into question.
So all I will say is that if the "Pacman" had nothing to hide, he should have taken any drug tests asked of him. He took blood tests leading up to the Ricky Hatton fight (which I understand disproves any myth that he was previously on PED's), and judging by the tattoos on his body, he isn't afraid of needles.
So, other than simply trying to prove a point that he won't be bullied, why would the pound for pound best fighter turn down the richest fight in the history of the sport? A fight that would define his legacy?
I don't know why he would. But then again I've never been handed a check for tens of millions of dollars, and I've never held a championship belt.
I guess I can speak for the every day type of guy that will never see that kind of money. And I can say, for myself, there's not a test in the world that would keep me from proving myself. But that's just me.
He's in a league of his own.
He can blame it on his handlers, vitamins or prescriptions, or even the rain (yeah, I did, please don't hold it against me).
But something isn't right here.
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