Australian fighter Alexander Volkanovski pulled no punches in a press conference exchange with Brian Ortega ahead of UFC 266.
Throughout the last week we have heard a lot of rumours around the Fight of the Century’s drug testing regime.
The biggest sticking point has been Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz publicly announcing that Floyd Mayweather’s camp has rejected the negotiation of a $5 million fine for a failed drug test.
This clearly sounds concerning, and I know what you are thinking “aha! Knew it! Floyd’s cheating! Why else wouldn’t he agree to the tests?!”
Before we get caught up in a war of words and accusations, let’s assess this situation.
Currently this fight has taken six years to negotiate. The most recent round of negotiations has seen both parties review the details multiple times. Does anyone honestly believe drug tests weren’t covered?
The key sticking point five years ago was Pacquiao hesitating to agree to Floyd’s drug testing requests. Neither fighter would risk the same scenario where they are at fault.
The contract was signed and an agreement made that USADA would do random, pre and post-fight testing. This implies that there is already a contractual obligation for drug testing.
Lastly, at the press conference over a week ago Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum discussed the fights drug testing and stated:
“…both fighters mutually agreed to drop the $5 million fine because if one fails, the other will be receiving much more anyway”.
Now I know people will talk about ‘money can buy anything, even negative test results’, ‘it’s not hard to pass a drug test’ or ‘every professional at the elite, top-ten level is on drugs’.
That may be the belief of some, but right now they are unfounded accusations and they don’t make any significant contribution to the fight.
If anything, this whole debacle looks like Michael Koncz is trying to get some publicity and is making a poor attempt at playing some mind games.
The one thing we do know is that we finally have the two best fighters of their generation, signed and committed to fight on May 2nd.
Regardless of who does the drug tests or how much a possible fine will cost them, this bout is going to be a defining moment for boxing.