Sports

Manny Pacquiao’s Impact on Nonito Donaire’s Recent PED Crusade

| by Alex Groberman
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This past December, Manny Pacquiao lost his fourth showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez in dramatic fashion. While the Filipino star was the betting favorite heading into that match, nobody really expected a dominant performance. The idea of Marquez pulling out an upset victory wasn’t unfathomable. To people who had watched the pair’s third fight closely, a decision victory for the underdog seemed like a very feasible possibility.

What truly shocked all about the fifth fight was how Marquez won, not the fact that he won. Knocking out a former eight division champ in the sixth round, leaving him crumpled face first in the ring, that’s not something you just gloss over. And the reason Marquez was able to do what he did was very clear: he developed a lot of newfound power in the time between his third and his fourth fights against Pacquiao. The 39-year-old’s rapid growth, coupled with his link to proven PED peddler Angel "Memo" Heredia, raised some uncomfortable questions regarding how ‘natural’ the end result of last December’s match-up was.

While Marquez ultimately tested clean for everything, the image of him and his freshly sculpted physique towering over a broken Pacquiao stood out in everybody’s minds.

Everybody’s minds.

Last week, Nonito Donare and Guillermo Rigondeaux got into something of a tiff over PED testing. The latter wanted to do it with USADA, the former wanted to do it with VADA. Both had different time tables for when they wanted to conduct said testing. Most of the acrimony stemmed from them speaking at one another and not to one another, rather than a genuine disagreement on the subject a la Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather. Still, regardless of what their beef actually was and is, it’s hard not to look at what’s happening and attribute it at least partially to this past December’s shocker.

Donaire previously faced Jorge Arce – another guy with ties to Heredia. In that case, though, he didn’t push the issue. He was fine with the public knowing that he was clean and didn’t need any sort of additional drama past that. He swiftly knocked Arce out in a commanding three round performance.

This time is different. Donaire isn’t taking any chances. Obviously everyone can draw their own conclusions as to why that’s the case, but completely dismissing the idea that Pacquiao-Marquez IV had anything to do it with seems a bit naïve.