Saturday, January 16, 2010


Last week, ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas reported that a reliable source informed him of emails from the Pacquiao camp that were sent to the Mayweather camp asking if dirty test results could be kept a secret. The story was immediately denied by Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, and more recently, Pacquiao himself released a statement, categorically denying the existence of any emails and taking Atlas, as well as the network ESPN, to task, holding them accountable by demanding that they provide evidence for the accusations. On tonight's broadcast of Friday Night Fights, rather than getting the proof or the apology he was hoping for, Pacquiao instead received more blame for the collapse of the megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Shortly after Dan Rafael discussed the future plans of both fighters, in-studio host Brian Kenny reminded the viewing audience that the fight fell through over the issue of blood testing. He then proceeded to ask the guest host, and cruiserweight contender, BJ Flores as well as boxing analyst Teddy Atlas, "who's most to blame for this fight falling apart?" The following is their response:

BJ Flores...

"I'm gonna blame Manny Pacquiao and the reason I'm gonna say that is because this was the biggest fight in boxing. Everybody wanted to see Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. You know, Floyd wanted to make sure that he was coming in on even playing field, that Manny was doing the same thing that Floyd was doing. He required the Olympic-style testing, which is random testing. That would have made Manny subject to be tested any time randomly and he wouldn't have been able to control that. Floyd subjected himself also to the same type of testing. I would have loved to see Manny say, 'You know what? Listen, let's make the big fight. The fans want to see this fight. It's the biggest fight in boxing. Let's make it happen. I'll do the testing, Floyd, you do the testing, let's make the fight.' That didn't happen unfortunately."

Teddy Atlas...

"I would say that both fighters evenly are to blame for this fight not happening. You can put some blame on Floyd too. You can say that, you know, he demanded this blood testing and, you know, he could have went along with the concessions that were made; that the testings were going to be made in a certain kind of form where Pacquiao was allowing it. He wasn't going to allow random testing, Olympic testing, and I agree with Floyd; that's the only way you really truly know if somebody is dirty as far as taking steroids. But, they were going to take a test after the fight, they were going to take a test a month before, then three weeks before, and I think they even went up to the point of two weeks before, so, you know, you could make an argument that Floyd made it impossible for this fight. And, you know, when a fighter doesn't want to fight, there's a lot of ways to get out. Sometimes you ask for too much money. Not this case, because there's so much money there, $40 million, nobody is going to argue with that. But sometimes a fighter, I know this is hard to believe, but Rocky Marciano, you know, he retired undefeated. He wanted to be undefeated; that was important. He could've made more money. Maybe, just maybe, I'm going to be a devil's advocate for both sides, maybe Floyd, it's more important, he's a little worried about the fight, it's more important to be undefeated and he didn't want the fight to be made. But, at the end of the day, you gotta blame Pacquiao too because with that much money on the table, if you want the fight to happen, there's only one thing you have to do, take the blood test. It's not the first time you've given blood and you know what? It's not the last time in your life you're gonna give blood. Give the blood, but it's probably the first time you're going to give a little bit of blood and you're gonna get $40 million. So, if he wants the fight to happen, all he had to do, and I think the common man on the street, and those are the people I care about, the common guy on the street, the fight fan, they're going to have a difficult time understanding why somebody who could make that kind of money and make that kind of historic fight would not just take a test if there was nothing to hide."

Brian Kenny...

"I've really rethought it after talking about Mark McGwire all through the week and wondering where the clean baseball player was looking for blood testing and WADA style testing, I now can't think that way and not think that way for Floyd Mayweather. I thought initially he was just negotiating, you know, kind of making things difficult for Pacquiao, but if what he really wanted was WADA style testing, he should have gotten it. I'll have to say, he's ahead of the curve. He deserves some credit for that. It's a shame it didn't happen, but I actually have to back Floyd Mayweather on this."

I must admit, after Atlas was so eager to inform everyone about the "mystery" emails last week, I was surprised that he even bothered to lay blame equally on both fighters. Of course, maybe he decided to do that after all the negative feedback he received regarding his comments from last week. I was also extremely surprised to see Brian Kenny side with Floyd Mayweather, perhaps a historic moment in and of itself. That being said, I strongly disagree with all three of their opinions. Personally, I think the full blame lies with Mayweather. Never before has he ever been this worried about an opponent and that fact alone is enough to make me think he had doubt about going through with the fight in the first place. So what do you say boxing fans? Do you agree or disagree with the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights crew?


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