Floyd Mayweather Jr. has refused to agree to anti-doping proposals set out by upcoming opponent Manny Pacquiao, who wants either fighter to be fined $5 million for a failed drugs test as preparations continue for May 2's bout.
As reported by the Associated Press (h/t ABC News), both boxing icons have agreed to adhere to World Anti-Doping Agency rules. This means random, Olympic-styled blood and urine testing will take place before and after the fight to ensure no misuse of illegal substances.
However, with the main contract negotiated, Pacquiao's camp have pushed for the aforementioned fine to be imposed if either fighter posts a positive result. Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, recently indicated Pretty Boy's camp are unwilling to play ball, per Dan Rafael of ESPN.co.uk: "Today we were informed that Mayweather turned down the request."
It is suggested Mayweather's lawyer Jeremiah Reynolds made this official in a letter to David Moroso, Pacquiao's legal representative. As noted by Rafael, Koncz suggested the aforementioned fine wasn't imposed into the main contract because Manny's side didn't want to jeopardise arguably the biggest boxing match in the history of the sport.
Koncz provided details, per Rafael:
Why does it have to be brought up for the main contract? Everything in the main contract pertains to the co-promotion and the promoters. You can argue all day if (a penalty agreement) should be with the USADA contract or the main contract. What do you have to lose or gain in that argument? It's a simple thing—if you fail, you pay the other guy $5 million.
Pacquiao's representative continued by saying, "We have no recourse. We can't force Floyd into something. But we gave them an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and they wouldn't." Although he refused to speculate why, Koncz confirmed: "Manny was surprised (Mayweather refused)," per Rafael. "He can't figure out why they wouldn't agree to it when Floyd is always talking about cleaning up the sport of boxing."
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, labelled Koncz an "idiot," as reported by Rafael: "It's obvious he didn't read the contract. Why would he have his fighter sign something he was not happy with?" Ellerbe indicated Pacquiao should be "ashamed" to work with such a "moron," and that the story is "a lame-ass attempt to generate publicity."
Drugs testing remains a sensitive issue for this particular bout. The two fighters would have locked horns five years ago if negotiations hadn't broken down over similar issues. Pacquiao was reportedly unwilling to agree to WADA rules back then, as reported by Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole, an alleged refusal which led to a host of problems between the pair.
Not only were preparations for the initial encounter scrapped, Mayweather went on to suggest in a UStream with fans that Pacquiao pumps "power pellets" (h/t Examiner), comments which led to the Filipino fighter suing the American. An out of court settlement was agreed, per Rafael, but the situation is evidence of how one refusal can snowball into a major problem.
However, Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson and owner of Compubox Bob Canobbio suggested the upcoming clash will be more entertaining than the missed 2010 meet:
Both pugilists have reportedly undergone multiple random tests in preparation for the May 2 fight. A report on GMA News' 24 Oras show suggested Pacquiao gave a sample on Mar. 14. Koncz claimed he has now carried out two tests, per Rafael, while Ellerbe mentions unannounced officials have been seen around Mayweather's gym "three or four times."
Animosity between the two camps was always going to take place before the fight. However, there is no room for confusion when it comes to drug testing. Both boxers must be happy with the terms put in place.
Whether the new terms put forward by the Pacquiao camp are a publicity stunt or not, suggestions Floyd won't agree will get people talking. The unbeaten star has insisted on WADA guidelines for years, championing extensive anti-doping regulations in the sport in the process. If he is seen to be going against this—even in the slightest way possible by not agreeing to a hefty punishment—doubts will naturally follow his every move.
This is harsh, sure, but this kind of sub-plot can help define the fight. Bickering from both sides will only help Pacquiao as he looks to dislodge a man who is on the brink of retiring without a loss to his name.