By D. Mead
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Shocking news on Jan. 11, 2010, Mark McGwire admitted to taking steroids during the 1990’s including his 1998 record breaking year. Well the news is not so shocking to those people who already suspected that former Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals baseball player Mark McGwire took steroids and performance enhancing drugs during his home run reign in 1998 when he beat and surpassed Roger Maris’ single season home run record of 61 home runs with 70 home runs.
During McGwire’s home run battle with Chicago Cubs Sammy Sosa in 1998, baseball was brought back to the forefront because baseball fans craved the power hitting home run hitters the same way boxing loves the action packed aggressive fighters who go for the Knock out’s like the current pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao.
McGwire and Sammy Sosa were helping baseball at a time when baseball was suffering from ego’s and player strikes over money and contracts, Pacquiao has helped boxing by being the anti Floyd Mayweather Jr., Floyd was everything people disliked about boxing, he fought extremely boring fights, handpicked opponents, fighting only for money and ego’s, Pacquiao like McGwire and Sosa was everything opposite of Mayweather Jr. he was fan friendly, an all out action fighter, and a humble human being outside the ring and people embraced his positive image.
Baseball like boxing was dropping down in public interest over the years, but Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr., and Sammy Sosa’s chase at breaking Roger Maris’ single-season home run record was the talk of the town and helped put baseball back on the top.
At the time McGwire was suspected of using steroids along with many other baseball players like Barry Bonds who mysteriously increased with size and in home run averages. McGwire claimed he was only taking an over the counter testosterone booster called Andro(androstenedione) and Creatine Monohydrate.
Androstenedione was banned bay WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), the NFL and the IOC but was not banned in MLB (Major League Baseball).
Bonds who was also listed on The Mitchell Report (The Mitchell Report released on December 13, 2007 was a result of George J. Mitchell’s 20-month investigation into performance-enhancing drug use in Major League Baseball (MLB)) has been associated with Victor Conte’s BALCO Laboratories the company who created designer steroids that could go undetected so athletes could get an advantage without getting caught if they were tested.
Boxer Sugar Shane Mosley admitted in 2003 that he took EPO and performance enhancing drugs from BALCO when he fought Oscar De La Hoya.
McGwire was outed by his former Oakland Athletics teammate Jose Canseco who wrote a tell all book naming players in baseball that he claimed took steroids or human growth hormones. Canseco ratted out many players and claimed he helped inject McGwire with steroids when they played together. Canseco was hated for his exposing of players, but Canseco was telling the truth on many of the accusations.
Now boxing has a steroid controversy of it’s own, like McGwire, Manny Pacquiao the man who brought back major interest to the sport of boxing due to his dominating, vicious, relentless climb in the weight classes has been under the suspicion of being on steroids or performance enhancing drugs because of his refusal to take randomized blood tests and how impressively he destroyed much bigger men.
Pacquiao like McGwire and Bonds went up in weight and in power as well, Pacquiao had punching power and speed at the lower weights but his ability to carry his speed and power with him is unheard of in boxing. People were amazed how this fighter can all of a sudden defy boxing logic and do what no one in boxing history has ever done by winning 7 titles in 7 different weight classes.
Questions were raised when Floyd Mayweather Sr. started making claims that Manny Pacquiao was on something, the rumors spread like wildfire and soon other boxing fans and boxers were making the same unproven accusations about Pacquiao.
The Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight died because of a strict Olympic style drug testing procedure that Mayweather requested for the bout and Pacquiao rejected because he didn’t feel comfortable taking blood the day before the fight.
When Manny Pacquiao refused to abide by the blood testing it raised questions, the same questions that fans suspected of McGwire and Sosa when they vehemently denied using steroids.
I personally don’t believe Manny Pacquiao is taking steroids, but the public opinion is what matters in these type of situations. The Mayweather family has made unproven steroid/performance enhancing drug allegations that they stand by.
Pacquiao has filed a lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather Jr, Floyd Mayweather Sr., and Golden Boy Promotions (Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer) over the Steroid accusations.
Like McGwire and Barry Bonds the public suspected and some already made their judgment of both guys before they had any substantial proof. Bonds has never admit to steroid use but has been associated with it, while McGwire after years of pleading the fifth finally came clean on January 11, 2010.
The only difference here is that Manny Pacquiao is requried by athletic commission to take a mandatory urine drug test before every fight and he doesn’t have a history of taking steroids, or has he even been associated with steroids in the past, in fact he has never ever failed a drug test in all of his years boxing.
Mayweather Jr. already planted a seed of doubt in the minds of some boxing fans that Pacquiao is on some type of steroid. Pacquiao didn’t deserve this type of stigma and people have already made their prejudgments on the Filipino boxer whether it be positive or negative.
The word Steroids is the most damaging word that can be associated with an athlete because he is labeled a cheat and his records are tarnished forever or his image in the mind of fans is no longer the same once that athlete is associated with Steroids.
Even though I side with Manny Pacquiao and I honestly believe his innocence I hope when he faces Joshua Clottey in March, that he takes the blood tests he suggested in his compromise just so people will see he is clean.
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