Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez had a great, close fight on Saturday. Apparently, that's too much for some to accept. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The Philippine Star has run with a story that says there's "a disgruntled former member of Juan Manuel Marquez's team" ready to come forward with evidence or proof of a story that Juan Manuel Marquez used steroids to effectively bulk up to 142 pounds on the scales, and 150 pounds on the unofficial HBO scales, in his closely-contested fight with Manny Pacquiao last Saturday.
This is getting out of hand.
It's the latest in a series of excuses being lobbed around on behalf of Manny Pacquiao, who it needs to be said right now has made no fuss of any of this, and remains a distinguished champion -- something he doesn't need a WBO title belt to prove.
But recall that Team Pacquiao currently has a defamation lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather Jr and others, which once named Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya before a public apology earlier this year from De La Hoya dropped them from the suit. That defamation suit is, in large part, due to Mayweather, his uncle Roger, and his father Floyd Sr, allegedly accusing Pacquiao of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Recall, also, that earlier this year, there was a nonsense "article" posted on a sketchy web site that Shane Mosley and Mayweather legitimized for a brief few moments via their Twitter pages, claiming to be an eyewitness account from a former Pacquiao sparring partner, alleging that Pacquiao used steroids.
That article was bogus, the story was bogus, and Pacquiao fans, friendly media, and supporters jumped all over it to call it bogus. So did we.
Now, this is not about Manny Pacquiao, or Freddie Roach, or Bob Arum, or Alex Ariza, or Buboy, or Mike Koncz -- this is not about anyone officially associated with Team Pacquiao. They are not spreading any of this, they're not giving credibility to any of it. They're not even talking about it.
But the excuses piling up to "explain" Manny Pacquiao's subpar (by his standards) performance, or to explain Marquez's incredible performance, are becoming worse by the day. It's an alarming level of hysterical fanaticism that isn't helping Manny Pacquiao a bit.
There was Marquez stepping on Pacquiao's foot, which was mind-numbing, given that Pacquiao had also stepped on Marquez's foot in the fight, and the fact that in a lefty-righty matchup, these things happen. There was the "mysterious super drink" in Marquez's corner, which was Pedialyte, legal in Nevada.
We've heard that Manny cramped, that he had an argument with his wife, that he had an argument with Ariza, that Ariza was doing too much in the corner during the fight.
I should credit the Star article enough to say that this is added, and that the author (Joaquin Henson) doesn't outright say that Marquez cheated:
Heredia insisted he did nothing wrong in building up Marquez’ capacity to put up a stiff challenge to Pacquiao. The Nevada State Boxing Commission administered drug tests on both fighters before and after their bout. So far, no positive finding has been announced.
While Heredia has a history of distributing steroids to athletes, there is no evidence showing any hanky-panky in working with Marquez.
But then he ends with this, leaving open the possibility that Marquez cheated, despite zero evidence and nothing better than the Mosley/Mayweather-led rumor from earlier this year to support the idea:
If Marquez was on drugs, it’s more to Pacquiao’s credit that despite the steroids, the Mexican still couldn’t swing the decision to his favor. Pacquiao didn’t only throw more but also landed more shots.
When will this end? When will there be an acceptance that we saw a tough fight on Saturday, and that Manny Pacquiao is, in fact, human, and can be tested or even bested on fight night?
Team Pacquiao has given Marquez credit for fighting a great fight. When will their fans and followers do the same? They're doing a disservice to Manny Pacquiao, and hurting his reputation, whether they mean to or not.