By Ivan G. Goldman
If Manny Pacquiao looks really good against Timothy Bradley on June 9 the Pacquiao-haters will say it’s because he’s doing steroids. If he doesn’t, they’ll say it’s because he’s no longer doing them.
That’s the way it is in the sport these days. Performance-enhancing drugs aren’t just poisoning the sport. They’re also bringing to the surface poisons that were already there. And as the boxing world buzzes over recent back-to-back discoveries of PEDs use by Lamont Peterson and Andre Berto, it’s reinvigorated the scandal-mongering Pacquiao-haters.
When Floyd Mayweather didn’t want to fight Pacquiao he claimed, without any evidence, that the man was on PEDs. When Pacquiao agreed to the tests, Mayweather walked away from the table, but though it made no sense, he still proclaimed Pacquiao was on PEDs. And he still found folks who believed him.
When people take sides on this they tend to see what they want to see. Bob Arum, for example, who promotes Pacquiao, denounced Mayweather’s charges with great indignation. But when Arum’s fighter Antonio Margarito was caught with loads in his hand wraps — a far worse crime — Arum claimed everyone was picking on poor Antonio because he was a “Mexican kid.” Besides, that plaster of Paris, according to another Arum tale, was merely hand lotion. If it paid Arum more handsomely to believe Pacquiao was on PEDs, he’d shed his present beliefs like a snake skin.
For a while the Golden Boy people who promote Mayweather thought it would pay them to go along with Mayweather’s crazy charges, but then they got served by Pacquiao’s legal team and it paid them to disbelieve Mayweather, so they issued an apology. Instead of looking at which belief pays better, they might try looking at the facts. As New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.
All this comes at a time when journalism in general and boxing journalism in particular is increasingly sloppy and practiced by legions of amateurs. Some wacko who probably wears a beanie with a propeller on it claims he talked to another wacko who claimed he shot up Pacquiao with PEDs and bam, it’s reported everywhere, just like the Pacquiao quotes on Leviticus and gays that were never uttered by Pacquiao.
Some “source,” according to Teddy Atlas, tells him Pacquiao’s camp sent two emails to the Mayweather camp admitting PEDs use and Atlas is in such a hurry to report his scoop he doesn’t ask why, if these emails exist, didn’t the Mayweather people immediately show them to everybody so they could get out from under Pacquiao’s defamation suit?
The “man in the street,” Atlas strongly implies, sides with Mayweather. I have yet to discover the identity of this man in the street. Anybody get his address? I have yet to hear Atlas’ apology on any of this. Prove me wrong and I’ll apologize. Unlike some people I could name.
Sugar Shane Mosley is a fighter I have always been fond of. But he bought banned substances from notorious PEDS dealer Victor Conte that he injected into his abdomen himself — repeatedly — before his second fight with Oscar De La Hoya in 2003. Then he told us he thought they were innocent vitamins. Later his testimony about it was made public, testimony in which he conceded he knew exactly what he was buying and using. Amazingly, outside the deposition room he still claimed he was completely innocent. I’ll side with the facts, thank you.
Another devotee of Conte’s chemicals is Berto, but Conte denies involvement in that particular Testosterone-Gate. Even though he’s already done time for selling PEDs and even though he’s scandalized more sports than I care to count, Conte may be telling the truth this time. But there’s an easy way for him to prove that he’s no longer up to his old tricks — get into another line of work. I suggest banking. We haven’t had a good banking scandal since yesterday.
Ivan G. Goldman’s latest novel Isaac: A Modern Fable came out in April 2012 from Permanent Press. Information HERE