Thursday, January 21, 2010

Manny Pacquiao to battle Joshua Clottey amid cloud of performance-enhancing drugs

In the ring, Manny Pacquiao is nearly indestructible. The Filipino fighter has stockpiled seven titles in as many weight classes. But Pacquiao is less durable outside the ropes, and he admits to being hurt by Floyd Mayweather Sr.'s claims that he took performance-enhancing drugs.

"I don't want people thinking that I cheated," he said. "I'm an honest fighter."

Pacquiao refused Olympic-style drug testing as a condition to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., a stipulation that ultimately torpedoed the fight.

"People now think that we're trying to hide something," said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer. "It hurt him a little bit."

Pacquiao spent part of Wednesday's press conference at the Garden to promote his March 13 welterweight clash with Joshua Clottey of the Bronx denying that he is a drug user.

Pacquiao has never failed a drug test.

"I'm disappointed that (the Mayweathers) had to say those things, but all that stuff isn't true," Pacquiao told the Daily News. "I never took anything like he's saying. I just want to show all my fans that I'm clean and I'm not cheating."

In December, Pacquiao filed a defamation suit in federal court in Las Vegas against the Mayweathers. He is said to be seeking damages in excess of $75,000, plus punitive damages.

Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, said it was the randomness of the drug testing that made his fighter uneasy.

Pacquiao gave two vials of blood the day before he fought Erik Morales in 2005 and lost a decision. He has won 11 fights since.

"He said he felt weak going into that fight because of the blood test," Roach said. "And they couldn't guarantee that he wouldn't be tested a day before the (Mayweather) fight."

Ross Greenburg, president of HBO Sports, does not believe Pacquiao's standing has been damaged. The cable giant decided to broadcast the Clottey bout, which will take place at new Cowboys Stadium, on Pay-Per-View after an 11th-hour negotiation with Arum on Tuesday.

"In a weird way, all the attention that this has gotten will help Mayweather and Pac Man when they eventually fight," Greenburg said. "Other than Tiger Woods, nobody has knocked them out in terms of media attention."


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