America, Philippines and rest of the boxing-watching world – we were so close.
With less than two weeks remaining until Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez’s November 12 showdown in Las Vegas, a topic that we all hoped wouldn’t be broached at any point in the near future crept back into the headlines. Yes, those blissful times when pointless, baseless performance-enhancing drug (PED) allegations could be pushed aside for legitimate, substantive match previews have come to an abrupt end.
PEDs are once again the topic of discussion.
Over the last few days, numerous stories have come to light regarding Marquez’s conditioning coach Angel Hernandez being heavily involved in the BALCO Lab scandal some time back. These are obviously not new or original stories in any way, but much like in the run-up to a presidential election, all of the skeletons once again re-emerge from fighters’ closets leading up to a big fight.
Long story short, Hernandez’s involvement in the BALCO scandal went pretty deep. During the legal hearings relating to the lab some years back, Hernandez officially admitted to handing out banned substances to Olympic athletes. A big no-no, clearly.
That was all in the past.
Recently, though, various members of Pacquiao’s camp have taken to pressing Marquez on this issue. One of the people from Team Pac who quietly alluded to the elephant in the room was conditioning coach Alex Ariza. Now, on a personal note, we love Ariza here at Opposing Views because he’s always good for at least one classic comment per interview – sort of like the time he said that his guy Pacquiao would wreck Marquez when the pair meets up.
Well, apparently Marquez heard all the talk about his trainer and decided to address it head on. As reported by BoxingScene.com, here is what the man who in all likelihood will get dropped by Pacquiao via knockout in a few days had to say on whether or not Hernandez ever provided him with PEDs:
"I'd be delighted to take a test. I've never taken banned substances. My physical condition is thanks to the hard work that I've put in. In my 18 years as a pro boxer, I've never trained like this, with three daily sessions - running, weights and training very hard in the gym. I don't care what Pacquiao's team has to say. My mind is focused on making an intelligent fight and to secure the knockout."
So there you have it – the man is clean. Do what you will with that information.
Does Marquez being clean make anyone want to take this bet?
If not, then this is a non-issue.