PED talk dogs Marquez-Pacquiao fight

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
4:48
PM ET



Not long after Juan Manuel Marquez's counter right hand dropped and stopped Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on Saturday night, the chatter on the Twittersphere shifted from amazement and excitement to something else. Not many folks out in punditland had predicted Marquez to knock out Pacman, who after all had sent the Mexican to the mat four times in their three previous fights, and who himself hadn't been stopped since 1999, when Medgoen Singsurat's right to Pacquiao's body resulted in a count-out loss.

So, the more skeptical and cynical folks began to ask themselves how the unexpected occurred, and some unpleasant questions and assertions flew about, in 140 characters or less. The presence of known ex-PED peddler Angel Heredia in the Marquez camp, for the third fight ... and Marquez's eye-popping physique ... and the fact the stoppage came from one thunder shot, while Marquez previously was seen as a punisher-by-accumulation led to those lobs of disbelief thrown at Marquez.

Marquez stridently denies he is a PED user.

Pacquiao himself congratulated Marquez after the fight, and cast no aspersions on the training methods employed by his rival. “I want to congratulate Juan Manuel," said the soon-to-be 34-year-old boxer-congressman. "I have no excuses. It was a good fight and he deserved the victory. I think boxing fans who watched us were winners too."

Brooklyn-bred Paul Malignaggi felt himself asking questions afterwards. He noted that the shift in Vegas odds in the week of the fight indicated that the smarts were liking Marquez to win. "Pacman has always been hittable," the WBA welterweight champion told NYFightblog, "but it cost him Saturday. Marquez has landed plenty of punches against him in the past, Saturday he paid for it. Boxing was again the theater of the unexpected but considering how the Vegas odds dropped so much on fight week it must mean this was a result most [oddsmakers] expected."

Just as Marquez left himself open to scrutiny by hiring Heredia, boxing also invites chatter by not coming up with a firm pre- and postfight testing regimen for the mega-fights, apart from what the various athletic commissions do.

It seems to me the sport must institute a stringent testing regimen, right up until the fighters step into the ring, with an ultra-severe financial punishment for a fighter testing positive. Otherwise, every time there is a Fight of the Year, PED insinuations will follow.

Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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