Manny Pacquiao is no stranger to performance-enhancing drug accusations. For the better part of two years, he was subjected to countless unsubstantiated charges from Floyd Mayweather Jr. and various members of his family regarding whether he was clean or not. He knows how demeaning, insulting and disrespectful they are – as does every member of his camp.
Which makes it all the more bizarre that Freddie Roach, one of the most respected figures in boxing, would publicly accuse Juan Manuel Marquez of being on PEDs two weeks before Pacquiao-Marquez IV. During a recent interview with USA Today, Roach said this regarding his fighter’s Dec. 8 foe: "If (his body) is natural, I will kiss his ass.”
Roach didn’t exactly parse words there. He didn’t tip-toe around the issue. He didn’t accidentally speak out of turn. He knew exactly what he was saying, and he stood by his statement after he said it.
"(Marquez) has gotten bigger and gained weight — it throws up a red flag,'' Roach said. "I've been accused so many times of my fighters being on steroids (that) I hate to accuse other people. But it is part of our life, part of the world we live in.''
Pacquiao has admittedly been on the wrong end of a lot of accusations, but does that make it okay for Roach to accuse someone else of being on PEDs? Especially with no legitimate proof other than the eye test?
Marquez offered this response to Roach’s new allegations:
"I have never done this type of work before. That's why my body has changed. I have been working very hard, specifically to get more strength. Angel is a professional and knows how much weight I am putting on. I am getting more speed and getting stronger at the same time."
For what it’s worth, not everyone in Pacquiao’s camp thinks that Marquez is on something. Alex Ariza, when asked if he had any suspicions, said this: “I don't have any. When you get someone like that who knows the science of exercise and nutrition . . . well, we saw a whole different fighter when he fought Manny last time.”
At the end of the day, the only person who can settle this bizarre new dispute is Pacquiao. He can demand that Marquez submit to a drug test, thereby standing behind or Roach’s accusations – or he can brush his trainer’s suspicions off. If he opts for the latter option, then Roach will likely never speak of his concerns again, either.
What do you think: should Pacquiao demand that Marquez take a test before the fight?
(Kudos USA Today)