Nevada State Athletic Commission considers blood-testing program

Reporting from Las Vegas

Manny Pacquiao has said he’s willing to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. as long as any drug-testing policy is determined by a state commission, and not forced upon him like the independent program Mayweather and Shane Mosley agreed to for their Saturday welterweight title bout.

Now, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will consider adding a blood-testing program similar to the one Mayweather and Mosley are following.

Keith Kizer, the Nevada commission’s executive director, said Thursday the commission will conduct a mid-May hearing to explore the effectiveness of the Mayweather-Mosley blood- and urine-testing program conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. USADA head Travis Tygart is expected to attend the Nevada hearing and update commissioners about progress in detecting the use of performance-enhancing Human Growth Hormone and energy boosting EPO.

The Mayweather-Mosley promotion paid in excess of $20,000 for the agency to conduct the fighters’ drug tests. Mosley said this week he’s already submitted eight urine and four blood samples.

“A lot can be learned from what’s occurred from Mosley-Mayweather and we want to mine that information,” Kizer said. “It will depend on what the experts say, but if [a push for blood testing] is stressed, then I would think we’d act. If there’s a way to improve our drug testing every year, we’ve proven we’ll do it.”

Kizer said it’s feasible Nevada will a have blood testing program in place before the fall.

Negotiations for a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout fell apart when the fighters’ camps squabbled over how close to a fight blood tests would take place. Pacquiao complained that blood draws weakened him, while Mayweather’s camp suggested the Filipino star used performance-enhancing drugs.

Mayweather’s co-promoter Richard Schaefer applauded Nevada’s move toward becoming the first state commission to incorporate blood testing. “To not have the most thorough testing methods is inexcusable,” he said.

And Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said, “Whatever the commission rules are, we’ll follow them.”

Many logistics would still need to be resolved: Who will pay for the blood tests? How often will they be employed? How would a fighter who tested positive be penalized?

Meanwhile, Mayweather remains a 4-to-1 favorite to beat Mosley in their bout Saturday, according to the MGM/Mirage Race and Sports Book, although most bettors are wagering the fight will go the distance.

Pacquiao, in the midst of campaigning for a congressional seat in the Philippines, is picking Mosley to beat Mayweather. His close friend, Winchell Campos said, Pacquiao “likes Mosley’s power and speed and thinks he’ll have a better plan.”

Regardless of who wins, both will do well financially.

Kizer announced Mayweather will earn a minimum of $22.5 million for the fight before pay-per-view profits, and that Mosley will earn up to $7 million.

Next fight?

If Mayweather beats Mosley, there will be significant work ahead to secure the super-fight the boxing world has clamored for.

Arum wants a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout at Cowboys Stadium in Texas, noting, “I’d rather do it before 108,000 people in a stadium than 15,000 in an arena.”

Schaefer responded, “The Las Vegas environment is much more conducive to staging a major pay-per-view, look at the record numbers we did [in 2007] with Mayweather-[ Oscar] De La Hoya. The MGM Grand has built up a reputation as being the fight capital of the world.”