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Mayweather, Pacquiao camps argue drug-testing points

Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants Manny Pacquiao to submit to Olympic-style drug testing that would include a blood sample being taken within days of their tentatively scheduled March 13 bout.

"It is our responsibility to subject ourselves to sportsmanship at the highest level," Mayweather said in a statement released by his promoter Tuesday. 

Pacquiao has expressed reluctance to agree to a blood draw any time within 30 days of the world welterweight title fight, which will be staged at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, officials told The Times Tuesday.

So, with the drug-testing plan in limbo, Team Mayweather is claiming the verbally agreed deal by the fighters is "now in jeopardy."

"I don’t want to speculate or make any accusations, but as management for Floyd, we’re insisting this Olympic-style, random testing take place to assure it’s a level field before the biggest fight in history," Mayweather’s advisor Leonard Ellerbe told The Times. "We’re definitely at an impasse."

Pacquiao and Mayweather have previously sumitted to, and passed, urine tests for performance-enhancing and street drugs supervised by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. An independent body would conduct the blood test.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said he is insistent that his fighter not be tested within 24 hours of the fight. Roach also casted Mayweather’s push for blood testing as a ploy to avoid accepting the bout against the back-to-back fighter of the year who has battered world champions Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto in sucessive bouts.

"I knew Floyd wanted a way out of the fight and now he’s found one," Roach said.

Mayweather advisor Ellerbe answered, "Freddie Roach is full of [it], they’re scrambling, and he knows that. Floyd doesn’t have a problem with it, so Manny Pacquiao sure shouldn’t have a problem with it."

Roach said his concern has nothing to do with hiding anything.

"Giving blood right before the fight could be like having sex right before the fight," Roach said. "It’s 100% mental. If it’s in your head that it weakens you, then it will weaken you."

Roach extended an olive branch to the riff, saying he would allow Pacquiao to give a blood sample one week before the fight, but no closer than three days before the first bell.

Ellerbe said, "It’s our understanding [the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] won’t be drawing the blood within 24 hours of the fight, so there shouldn’t be a problem. If Freddie thinks Floyd is running from him, all they have to do is agree to the testing."

"I just hope Manny has not been properly briefed on this, because, of course, one would assume that he’d find it acceptable to be subject to the same testing that Lance Armstrong, Kobe Bryant and Floyd Mayweather agree to," Mayweather promoter Richard Schaefer said. "If he decides to walk away from this fight because of a blood test, then draw your own conclusions."

--Lance Pugmire

 
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