The inevitable and speculative rumblings have begun already in the wake of Manny Pacquiao putting on an exceptional performance at 40 years old.
Pacquiao, consistently dogged by unproven performance enhancing drugs rumors for most of his career, has never once tested positive for anything.
The fact he moved up through eight weight divisions and managed to compete successfully in each one has certainly irked his detractors.
Consistent and unwarranted abuse on social media has followed the ‘Pacman’ even more during his twilight years.
But if this was true, why would Pacquiao continue to fight into his forties knowing a positive test now would wipe out his entire career accomplishments?
It just doesn’t make any sense.
Truth is, Pacquiao is just great. That’s the bottom line.
Reacting to stories of the contrary, Pacquiao publicist Fred Sternberg and wingman Sean Gibbons jumped to the Filipino Senator’s defense.
“The Nevada Commission hired VADA to test the fighters in training camp. And immediately after they entered their dressing rooms post-fight,” pointed out Sternberg.
Gibbons added: “…And Senator Pacquiao and Keith Thurman are both enrolled in the WBC/ VADA clean program to be tested 365-24/7 anytime! – Boom, there you go!”
Why some attempt to put a label on one of the most impressive C.V’s of all time beggars belief in some instances.
There’s no evidence to support any case of doping when it comes to Pacquiao. Yet the welterweight is forced to defend himself with every win.
His performance against Thurman was majestic in every sense. And on those rare instances when Pacquiao has an off night – e.g against Jeff Horn and Timothy Bradley, it can be fully argued that he won those fights anyway.
Only the unreal Floyd Mayweather and a super-punch from Juan Manuel Marquez have dented Pacquiao’s progress since in 2004, fifteen years ago. Even back then, it took a lifetime best effort from another legend in Erik Morales – a four-weight world champion no less.
All in all, these jibes need to stop. As it will be a long time before another one like the awesome Manny Pacquiao comes along once more.
We truly should enjoy him whiles he remains an active boxer. We’ll certainly miss him when Pacquiao is retired.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay