Mayweather seeks strict drug testing for bout with Pacquiao

Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants Manny Pacquiao to submit to Olympic-style drug tests, including a blood test within days of their tentatively scheduled March 13 bout, and failing to agree to these terms could threaten the fight, Mayweather’s camp said Tuesday.

Pacquiao has expressed reluctance to submit to a blood test within 30 days of the proposed world welterweight title fight, which will be staged at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“As management for Floyd, we’re insisting this Olympic-style, random [blood] testing take place to assure it’s a level field before the biggest fight in history,” Mayweather’s advisor Leonard Ellerbe said. “We’re definitely at an impasse.”

Mayweather’s promoter Richard Schaefer said a Pacquiao promoter told him the Filipino superstar would not agree to a blood test within 30 days of the bout because of his superstition against testing.

Pacquiao and Mayweather have previously submitted, and passed, urine tests for performance-enhancing and illegal drugs supervised by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said a blood test can allow testers to detect use of energy-boosting synthetic EPO, human growth hormone and “a number of potent performance-enhancers not detectable in urine. . . . With a [30-day] window like that, you could dope to the gills and get away with it.”

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said Mayweather’s push for blood testing is a ploy to avoid fighting Pacquiao, who has won back-to-back fighter of the year awards and has battered world champions Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.

“I knew Floyd wanted a way out of the fight,” Roach said.

Roach said his concern about the timing of a blood test has nothing to do with hiding anything. “It’s 100% mental. If it’s in your head that [a blood test] weakens you, then it will weaken you,” he said.

Roach suggested a compromise, saying he would allow Pacquiao to give a blood sample one week before the fight, but no closer than three days before the bout.

“One would assume that he’d find it acceptable to be subject to the same testing that Lance Armstrong, Kobe Bryant and Floyd Mayweather agree to,” Mayweather’s promoter Schaefer said.

In another development, Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said Schaefer’s Golden Boy Promotions has applied for a permit to stage the fight at MGM Grand..

Several venues, including Staples Center and Dallas Cowboys Stadium, expressed interest in staging the Pacquiao-Mayweather bout with guarantees of $20 million and up. But MGM Grand, with tickets ranging from $500 to $2,500 and other related Las Vegas properties offering closed-circuit seats, can apparently offer more than $30 million.