Almost as soon as referee Kenny Bayless waived off Manny Pacquiao's resounding 12th-round TKO of Miguel Cotto, talk turned to the prospect of the inevitable showdown between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., a fight for all the marbles: pound-for-pound king, fighter of the decade and higher placement on the all-time list of boxing's best ever.
Floyd Mayweather Sr., the outspoken father of the fighter, who was at the fight last week at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, made the rounds in the media center afterward. He was asked often about the potential mega matchup and said that although he believed his son would "whup" Pacquiao, he would advise him against taking the fight.
Mayweather accused Pacquiao (yet again) of using performance enhancing drugs as an explanation for Pacquiao's surge through a record seven weight classes to win seven titles, the latest coming as a welterweight.
It's not the first time Mayweather Sr. has done that, even though he offered zero proof. And if you talk to Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, he'll tell you that Pacquiao, who has fought numerous times in Las Vegas, has passed every one of his drug tests. Nevada has one of the strictest testing regimes in the world; results for the fight with Cotto are due Monday or Tuesday, Kizer said.
Still, that didn't stop Mayweather Sr. from making the accusations, sometimes veiled, sometimes overt.
Alex Ariza, who has served as Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach for his last five bouts working alongside head trainer Freddie Roach, is awfully tired of Mayweather's accusations.
"When he first started saying that stuff, I didn't really address it because it was coming from Floyd," a clearly frustrated Ariza told me the other day on the telephone. "But things like that can start to snowball. I'm not saying this to be demeaning, but Floyd never finished high school and I'm not sure he knows the difference between steroids and supplements, which can be confusing. Nouns, subjects and verbs can also be confusing if you don't finish high school. I'm just not sure Floyd knows the difference.
"I don't give Manny any of that stuff. He's gone though his life without taking that."
Ariza said the only thing Pacquiao uses for his strength is hard work, a 7,000-calorie-a-day diet and approved supplements, which Ariza gives him.
"He does take supplements," Ariza said. "Absolutely, he has to. This couldn't be done without them. I'm talking about multi-vitamins, trace minerals. We take other supplements for his kidney and liver because Manny is on such a high-protein diet. I blend several different kinds of proteins. We do take those things without a doubt, but all of them -- all of them -- are perfectly legal. I make sure I stay with the same brands I have used for years to make sure there are no additives I'm unaware of. If we did anything wrong it would show up in Manny's urinalysis and I am completely in control of what goes into Manny. He knows everything he takes all comes from me and everything he puts into his body is my responsibility. I take it seriously."
Ariza also works with junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan and junior middleweight prospect Vanes Martirosyan. Ariza said he has them on the same program that Pacquiao is on.
"Manny is such a clean person," Ariza said. "He will not even take Advil. He had a knee problem after the Ricky Hatton [in May]. It was tender and swelled up and it took until a week before the fight [with Cotto] to get the swelling down. He wouldn't take an anti-inflammatory unless absolutely necessary. As long as I have known him, like when he separated his shoulder once, he wouldn't take anything."
Ariza said during training camp for the Cotto fight in Baguio in the Philippines that Pacquiao was icing his knee three times a day and "I pleaded with him to just take the Advil for five days. He doesn't believe in it. He didn't have immunizations when he was a child and he feels like that is why he is so strong. He grew up like that and that's what he believes."
Ariza said getting Pacquiao just to take the supplements was a major accomplishment.
"I think Freddie will attest to it," Ariza said. "It was a huge step for Manny. He doesn't know a lot about those things, but over time he's grown confident in what I am giving him. We've passed every test there is. Manny takes nothing illegal. Mayweather can say whatever he wants.
"He knows Manny will whup his son's ass and that's why he doesn't want little Floyd to fight Manny. Big Floyd is just looking for excuses, but we're not hiding anything."