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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Insider Notebook: Pacquiao Talks Steroids, Mayweather Jr.

Fear is one emotion that can be detected in someone's eyes. Honesty is another, and the look in Manny Pacquiao's eyes in his dressing room Tuesday at his training camp in Hollywood makes his claim of being drug-free very believable.

Pacquiao, sitting next to one reporter while another stood in front of him, was asked how much the insinuations of alleged steroid use hurt him in his heart.

"I feel bad," said Pacquiao, who is training at the Wild Card gym owned by his trainer, Freddie Roach, for his March 13 fight against Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium. "I'm really disappointed because I sacrifice and train hard and focus for what I have achieved in boxing.

"I mean, going for the allegations that I'm taking steroids. I don't even know what a steroid is. I don't have any idea what that is."

Pacquiao was supposed to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. on March 13, but the fight was not made because Mayweather demanded Olympic-style testing for both fighters. It includes random blood and urine tests, and Pacquiao has said he doesn't want to take blood tests close to a fight.

This all began when Floyd Mayweather Sr. said Pacquiao must be on something because of all his wondrous achievements. Then, as we all know, it snowballed.

"I think I understand Floyd," Pacquiao said to BoxingScene.com. "He just can't say, 'Oh, I don't want to fight. I'm not ready for the fight.' He's just making alibis to cancel the fight. He's not ready."

When asked, Pacquiao said he is not necessarily angry at Mayweather.

"I just felt bad that he doesn't want to fight," he said. "He's making a lot of allegations and alibis, allegations that can ruin my name."

Thus the lawsuit Pacquiao has filed against the Mayweathers and Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions. Pacquiao intimated if Mayweather is everything he says he is, he wouldn't have come up with this demand in the first place.

"If you are a true champion, no alibis, just fight," he said.

During all this time, the look in Pacquiao's eyes never changed. Sincerity is what they had in them. Either he was being completely forthcoming, or he's one heck of a con man. The latter is difficult to fathom.

Pacquiao said he could take some solace in knowing that he was recently chosen Fighter of the Year and Fighter of the Decade by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

"When I heard that, I'm happy because there are a lot of people believing in my capabilities and my achievements in boxing," he said. "For me, it's boxing and God. I think what I have done in boxing is because of my sacrifices and my faith in God."

Pacquiao said a fight with Mayweather remains possible, and that he would like for it to happen. But he said it won't if Mayweather sticks to his guns about the Olympic-style testing.

"I agree for blood-testing one month before the fight and right after the fight," said Pacquiao, who would also agree to random urinalysis.

Freddie Roach Chimes In

Roach predicted Tuesday afternoon Mayweather was not going to sign his contract to fight "Sugar" Shane Mosley on May 1, that he would wait for Pacquiao to get past Clottey. Turned out he was incorrect in that regard as Mayweather signed on Wednesday.

Either way, Roach told BoxingScene that Mayweather came up with his demand for Olympic-style testing for one reason.

"We don't need Mayweather, but the thing is I do feel he's doing all this to make the fight bigger," Roach said. "I think that he's trying to make the Manny Pacquiao fight ... a bigger fight, because he's that crazy. And it'll work. It'll be bigger."

Whatever the case, Roach said he will never relent and allow Pacquiao to adhere to Mayweather's demands.

"No, because that's like giving the first two rounds away, giving him momentum," Roach said. "I wouldn't let Manny do that. No way. The thing is commissions run these rules, not him (Mayweather). If we had history of steroid abuse and he (Mayweather) had some scientific evidence, mood swings and stuff like that, I can see him going to the commission and doing it correctly and bringing it to the commission's attention and let them deal with it if they feel there's an issue because they're professional people.

"The Nevada and California commissions, that's what they're there for and they've been doing this a long time. But I refuse to let Mayweather call the shots. That's like giving him momentum and he's going to get bigger and bigger and he'll be running the sport, next thing you know."

Roach was reminded that Mayweather has said many times he won't fight Pacquiao unless Pacquiao does indeed cave in on the aforementioned demand. Roach suggested Mayweather will do something like this: "He'd do it professionally and go to the commission and do it right. The commission will make the decision. If they want something done, then we have to do it. If the commission does."

What about Pacquiao-Mosley?

Roach said that if Mayweather-Mosley does take place and Mosley wins, a fight between Pacquiao and Mosley would be the next logical move.

"I don't see any other fight in the world that we would take," he said. "We'd have to take that fight because that would be the right thing to do."

Scouting Clottey

Roach doesn't seem too concerned about Clottey, who gave Miguel Cotto a heck of a time last June at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Cotto won a split decision, but not without difficulty. Of course, Pacquiao dominated Cotto in November, stopping him in the 12th round of a one-sided fight in Las Vegas.

"If Manny fights the fight we're planning on fighting, one with the strategy we're planning on, I have no problems with Clottey at all," Roach said. "I think he's too slow for us. He's very predictable; he does the same things in a lot of situations.

"He fights all southpaws the same. He says he's never lost to a southpaw and never will. But he's never fought Manny Pacquiao. He will lose this fight. I feel he'll get knocked out for the first time in his life."

Pacquiao wasn't quite as bold. But, hey, he's only the guy who's going to be doing the fighting.

"Clottey, he has good defense and he can take a punch and he's strong," Pacquiao said.

Valero Still Wants Pacquiao

Edwin Valero, who will defend his lightweight world title against Antonio DeMarco (23-1-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday in Monterrey, Mexico, has said for some time he would like to fight Pacquiao. During a telephone interview last week, he reiterated that.

"The Pacquiao fight would be an explosive one, so I have to say there is not going to be another fight that I ask for other than Pacquiao," Valero said. "But I'm tired of always asking for it because I've been asking for that fight for a long time.

"All the fans want to see that. They know it will be explosive and they know there will be a lot of blood and it will be an all-out battle."

Pacquiao kind of laughed when told about the blood.

"Well, yeah, I think so," said Pacquiao, when asked if that fight could happen in the future. "We can do a lot of boxing in the ring, but to say blood or whatever..."

A publicist standing in the background suggested the blood would be mostly Valero's. But Roach said he really likes Valero, who is 26-0 with 26 knockouts.

"I've always liked that fight," Roach said. "Valero, a lot of people don't give him credit because he looks like a raw guy out there, like he has no rhyme or reason. But he sets things up. He's a lot smarter than people think.

"He's dangerous, he's a southpaw. He's not just a strong guy who goes in there and swings. He's become a good fighter over the years."

Two things: Valero would have to move up to welterweight, and the big money would have to be there for everyone. Both fighters are promoted by Bob Arum.

"Manny's going to stay at welterweight and if he wants to come up to welterweight and the promoters decide they can make some money, I'm sure we'd fight him," Roach said. "But not at 140 (junior welterweight). Manny's a welterweight now."

A Career-Changing Victory

It has been 2 1/2 years since Nonito Donaire stopped Vic Darchinyan in the fifth round of a flyweight title fight in July 2007 in Bridgeport, Conn. It was a coming out party of sorts for Donaire, who was relatively unknown at the time but suddenly became an important name after that stunning upset win.

"It turned my world upside down," said Donaire, who a week from Saturday will defend his interim super flyweight title when he takes on Gerson Guerrero (34-8, 26 KOs) of Mexico City at the Las Vegas Hilton. "It helped me out in my life financially and it helped me get my name out there and everything else.

"It's been a roller coaster and it's been something good for me and it really did change my life."

Donaire (22-1, 14 KOs) defended the title he took from Darchinyan three times before moving up to super flyweight and winning the interim belt with a unanimous decision over Rafael Concepcion in August at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

But nothing Donaire has done has come close to what he did against Darchinyan. Many expected Donaire to be just another fighter the hard-hitting Darchinyan would walk through. That's not to mention the joy Donaire must have gotten out of stopping a fighter who talks as big as he hits.

"It still lingers when I think about it," said Donaire, 27, of San Leandro, Calif., via the Philippines. "It was the first time I fought for a world title and the first time I won a world championship. It still is the best feeling."

Perhaps the only way for Donaire to get a similar rush would be for him to again square off with Darchinyan, who has been hopeful of a chance at redemption.

"I know that both camps want to make it happen," Donaire said. "I know Darchinyan wants to fight me and I want to fight him. It is up to the promoters and managers to come to terms and make the fight happen. There have been negotiations for it to happen already.

"Whatever happens, I want to go for it."

Donaire said he believes the rematch will take place this year.

"I think so," he said. "First they were saying in June, now they're saying in August."

A return fight with Darchinyan would further fatten Donaire's bank roll. It would also put to rest any remaining thoughts some might have about his win over Darchinyan being some kind of chance occurrence.

"I wouldn't be where I'm at right now if it was a fluke," Donaire said. "He made his way up (to super flyweight) to make the fight happen. I'm more than eager to make it happen, to prove once and for all it wasn't a fluke. I dominated that fight in every way. I almost took him out in the third, and I took him out in the fifth."

Darchinyan (33-2-1, 27 KOs) is scheduled to defend his two super flyweight belts against Rodrigo Guerrero (13-1-1, 9 KOs) of Mexico on March 6 at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Author: Robert Morales

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