Less than a year ago Golden Boy scuttled a fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. Now they are publicly stating that Marquez is the only fight that makes sense. Is Golden Boy's Politics destroying boxing?
In the not so recent past leading up to a failed match pitting Shane Mosley against Zab Judah, Golden Boy Promotions refused to allow the USADA to be involved in the testing for a scheduled Judah-Mosley bout under the premise that the test ran by the state of Nevada were good enough, time tested, and scientifically substantial, yet conveniently they have changed their tune after Floyd Mayweather Jr. chose them to act as impromptu promotional company in setting up a mega fight with WBO welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao. In the instance referenced above, Shane Mosley had been fingered in the BALCO controversy involving Performance Enhancing Drugs by Victor Conte, President and Founder of BALCO. Shane Mosley was especially suspicious during that time for a few reasons, the first being his public affiliation with BALCO and most importantly, his taped admission that he knowingly took performing enhancing drugs (EPO). Shane would later campaign that he unknowingly was injected, but any YouTube search would reveal video where he admitted that he was aware of what was happening.
Zab Judah asking for testing that was never before required may have been uncalled for according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s’ recent ruling that urine analysis is safer and just as efficient, but it would certainly be understandable given the circumstances that Zab Judah would be suspicious. What is interesting about the accusations that later surrounded Pacquiao were the clear points in which a litmus test failed. For instance, Pacquiao had no public or otherwise known affiliations with developers of PEDs, nor were any known users or advocates within his entourage. The second point that made such an accusation interesting is that the accusations came from Floyd Mayweather Senior after Ricky Hatton was savagely beaten at the hands of Pacquiao within a seemingly easy match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The match was one sided and left Mayweather publicly humiliated after guaranteeing a victory and voicing zero concern of PED usage leading up to the match. The second loudest voice was Paulie Malignaggi who was interviewed in the lead up to a Pacquiao/Cotto match, where not only did he voice zero concern over Pacquiao, but he complimented him, and said that the Filipino fighter would not be able to withstand Cotto’s punishing blows, which had battered Mallinaggi personally over 12 vicious rounds. It was only after Pacquiao defeated Cotto that Malignaggi spoke up. It is interesting to note that the loudest voices were those who were publicly embarrassed. Very reminiscent of elementary school, but provocative nonetheless.
With that said, Golden Boy Promotions voiced that any match up with Pacquiao against any of their fighters would require USADA Olympic style testing, in spite of the fact that Oscar De La Hoya (founder of Golden Boy) had publicly stated several times after his defeat to the Filipino Pugilist, that Pacquiao did not hit hard enough to hurt anybody. In an interview performed with Oscar in November of 2009, only two months before Golden Boy would demand blood test of Pacquiao based in large part of his freakish strength, Oscar said ““Pacquiao doesn’t hit hard enough to knock anyone out in the welterweight division. I’m basing that on my fight against Pacquiao. I could’ve stood there and put my face in front of him and he couldn’t have hurt me.”
Pacquiao, without so much as a shady acquaintance, being asked to submit to testing seemed a bit odd coming from a promotional company that owned a percentage of his contract, publicly stated that he was not heavy handed, and already previously and publicly voiced their belief that NSAC traditional testing was substantial. Nonetheless, the mega fight the public had hoped for was off and Pacquiao was left looking for another dance partner. Top Rank, Pacquiao's Promotional Company, then asked Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy for a fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Golden Boy then demanded the unconventional blood testing again and also requested a 50-50 split of the fight purse. Juan Manuel Marquez aside from his fight with Mayweather has not participated in a single blockbuster in the past two years, Pacquiao had participated in three, and it seemed obvious at this point that asking for a 50% split was the equivalent of just saying “NO.”
Fast forward a few more months to where yet another round of negotiations has turned up fruitless in efforts to match Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather. Less than 48 hours after Pacquiao had publicly agreed to blood testing, Mayweather publicly announced his retirement, causing the boxing public to rejoice and mourn within a few days time. Then as a breath of fresh air, Oscar De La Hoya speaking in a taped interview expressed excitement that the negotiations between Mayweather and Pacquiao were very close to being complete, only to retract days later that he knew of any such negotiations, adding even more to public anxiety. In spite of such a bizarre sequence of events, HBO acted as a mediator to help salvage the mega match. These negotiations always seem to be overly dramatic and confusing, but this one had the strangest twist of them all. After Pacquiao allowed for Drug Testing by the USADA, Mayweather’s side contended that no negotiations had even taken place, in spite of HBO’s Ross Greenberg publicly stating that negotiations had taken place and that he had acted as a negotiator. After sticking to their claims of zero negotiations, Mayweather senior then voiced in an interview that negotiations (that have never happened) failed due to Pacquiao’s refusal to take Olympic style blood tests, which to very public knowledge, had already been agreed upon.
So, Pacquiao ends up looking for another fight, yet again. I could not help but become frustrated the other night when Oscar De La Hoya held a press conference stating that Juan Manual Marquez should be Pacquiao’s next opponent, and that Arum should do the right thing and let them fight. Although I agree Arum should stop suppressing the growth of boxing by matching so much in house, it is interesting that Golden boy has changed its stance more times than The Heritage Café and Restaurant of Manila changes it’s buffet selection. And although the Heritage buffet always leaves a great taste in my mouth, Golden Boy's systematic destruction of the most relevant matches in the sport has left a terrible taste in the mouths of millions of fan worldwide, and has ultimately helped them close the curtains on their relevancy in the sport of boxing.
Tell us that NSAC testing is fine, tell us a year later it is not. Tell us that Manny is not a power puncher, request testing based upon his strength two months later. Tell us that negotiations are very close to being complete for Mayweather to fight Pacquiao, tell us that negotiations never took place. Tell us that Juan will not fight Pacquiao, tell us that Pacquiao must stop dodging Juan. Keep talking, keep telling, and we’ll keep walking.