By Ivan G. Goldman
It turns out that Floyd Mayweather was given a secret, massive injection of chemicals the day before his May 2 super-fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Such shots break generally accepted anti-doping rules because they can mask the presence of other chemicals in the athlete’s system, including performance-enhancing drugs.
Mayweather’s silent fixer/advisor Al Haymon, the Godfather of boxing, saw to it that the U.S. Anti Doping Agency was paid an extremely generous $150,000 for handling blood and urine testing for the fight. That’s approximately ten times the amount it would normally get. Mayweather’s own company handled the promotion and hired the testing agency for both fighters.
USADA is privately operated, and Haymon is one of its best customers.
USADA retroactively said that what Mayweather did was okay, but it kept it quiet. It didn’t inform the Nevada commission for three weeks. Nor did it inform Team Pacquiao. The commission wasn’t even told whether USADA was on site to test the ingredients.
All this information can be gleaned from the massive, quite thorough investigative piece by Thomas Hauser that just appeared in SB Nation and was written about on this site by Sean Crose. Almost every year without fail Hauser wins first prize in the investigative category from the Boxing Writers Association of America, and it looks like he’s done it again in 2015.
USADA says everything’s on the up and up, and it objects to Hauser’s article, but its denials are mostly general in nature. It more or less says he doesn’t know what he’s writing about, but it has a hard time pinpointing inaccuracies. It also says it follows standard practices set by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which prohibits such injections.
Meanwhile Pacquiao, who, alas, failed to pay USADA $150,000, didn’t get much help when he requested a pain-relieving injection for an injured right shoulder that his team had somehow forgot to tell the state commission about. The team did inform USADA though, and USADA chose not to share that information with the state commission, which refused the injection. Now Pacquiao says he got screwed even worse than he thought, and he’s demanding a rematch.
The shot or shots from two separate mixes that were administered to Floyd equaled about 16 percent of the blood normally present in an average adult male. His team said the mixes contained saline and vitamins to help him overcome the dehydration he endured to make the 147-pound weight limit. Fighters are supposed to rehydrate by consuming water and nutritionally helpful substances the old-fashioned way, by swallowing.
USADA is a nonprofit entity, which means it pays no federal income tax. However, that doesn’t mean it works for free. Nonprofit status doesn’t prevent an organization from paying its executives generous salaries and expenses and granting other nice perks.
Hauser cited other USADA inconsistencies regarding its handling of Erik Morales, who tested positive prior to his 2012 match with Danny Garcia. The match proceeded anyway. If you want to know why, I suggest you read Hauser’s article because the answer requires lots and lots of snore-mongering details.
VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency headed by Dr. Margaret Goodman, is generally considered more thorough than USADA. Goodman, who used to be a ring physician for the Nevada commission, is one of the foremost PEDs experts in the world and squeaky clean. Mayweather and Haymon prefer USADA, which numbers the U.S. Olympic Committee among its clients.
Of course there’s lots of irony in all this. Mayweather once had to settle out of court with Pacquiao after he accused the Philippines congressman of indulging in secret chemistry and couldn’t back it up with any evidence. It’s hard to write about specifics because you can be sued for repeating a libel. Mayweather also issued a denial saying he didn’t say the things we heard him say.
Boxing articles should be about boxing, not chemicals.
I disagree with fans clamoring for a rematch. A crummy fight shouldn’t be repeated, especially after the first fight demanded a record $100 for high-def pay-per-view and both teams profited mightily from the carefully calculated scalping of tickets for seats in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The two fighters and their teams were hugely overpaid.
If they want to do it again that’s fine, but only if they agree they’ve lost all pay-per-view privileges.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available now from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.