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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No prefight drug testing in Texas for Pacquiao vs Clottey

The well-chronicled argument between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. over drug testing was so heated and divisive it caused the two boxers to walk away from a guarantee of $25 million each.

Mayweather's camp implied there was something unnatural about Pacquiao's steady move up in weight in recent years, with an increased dominance in the ring. Pacquiao grew so defensive about the comments that he sued members of the Mayweather camp for defamation.

Now, less than two weeks before Pacquiao fights Joshua Clottey in a welterweight title bout March 13 at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the executive director of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has ruled there is no "good cause" to institute any prefight drug screening for either boxer before their bout.

The Texas executive director, William Kuntz, can still change his mind "at any time," and order drug screening procedures for Pacquiao and Clottey that the fighters would pay for, according to department spokeswoman Susan Stanford. Pacquiao is guaranteed at least $12 million for the bout, his promoter has said.

Nevertheless, the absence of drug testing in Texas is in sharp contrast to the tests required for Mayweather's May 1 fight against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. That bout will be subject to Olympic-style drug testing procedures to be supervised by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

That stringent protocol will be done beyond the typical urine screening for performance-enhancing and street drugs required by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Not only is USADA set to preside over random testing, including the newer blood screening for human growth hormone, Mayweather will have the option to request additional tests of Mosley as long as he gives a sample of his own at or near the same time, Mayweather's advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, and fight promoter, Richard Schaefer, said.

Mosley has admitted that in the days before his 2003 victory against Oscar De La Hoya, he used performance-enhancing drugs. They were sent to him by BALCO founder Victor Conte, who also supplied steroids to Olympic sprinter Marion Jones, baseball slugger Jason Giambi and the personal trainer of all-time home run leader Barry Bonds. Mosley has insisted he thought the substances he took from Conte were legal vitamins.

"We're leading the way on this" in the drug testing for the Mayweather-Mosley fight, Schaefer told The Times.

The disparity in how the Pacquiao and Mayweather fights are being scrutinized is an unfortunate fact of life in boxing, says Timothy Lueckenhoff, president of the Assn. of Boxing Commissions, the national body that advises state commissions.

"Testing [is] an excellent idea, but the cost of [it is] somewhat cost-prohibitive," Lueckenhoff said. "If steroid testing is to be done as well as testing for illegal [street] drugs, it must be done across the board. When we talk about requiring all fights to be subject to this, we are just adding more cost to a struggling profession, especially regarding club show events.

"All drug testing is good and needed, but the cost is a huge factor right now."

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