Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao accepting a fight offer on the table would mean walking into an ongoing public relations nightmare.
If the “Pac-Man” signs a contract to fight British welterweight Conor Benn, the former Congressman will instantly become embroiled in a UK media storm.
Only this Monday night had the drug controversy surrounding Benn hit a fever pitch. It came to a head during an appearance on Piers Morgan Uncensored.
Benn’s last opponent, for an event that was eventually canceled, stated his rival’s booking on the show only made him look “one hundred percent” a cheat.
It stems from two adverse findings by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency used by the World Boxing Council. Benn has protested his innocence but is yet to deliver any firm proof.
His opinion that the tests were contaminated due to inadequate procedures is yet to be formally backed up. Benn did not accept another theory of “overconsumption of eggs” issued by the WBC.
Manny Pacquiao, accused by Floyd Mayweather
Therefore, the situation remains on a knife edge. Pacquiao would have to deal with it almost immediately after an official announcement.
Rumors and accusations of performance enhancing drug use followed Pacquiao for years. This is mainly due to Floyd Mayweather sharing his thoughts with the public.
Mayweather reported that Pacquiao refused to sign up for drug testing for a super-fight that eventually happened five years too late.
Pacquiao had previously won titles from 112 to 154 pounds, which led to detractors of the eight-weight champion coming to their conclusions on how he managed the feat. And that’s before Mayweather had even added his opinion to the conversation.
That history will undoubtedly get dragged up when the media immerse themselves in a potential Pacquiao vs Benn collision in the Middle East.
Not to mention that Benn could be suspended from boxing in his own country when they trade blows. It’s a complete dump storm waiting to happen.
Pacquiao vs Benn
Benn singled out Pacquiao for a clash after telling Morgan he wanted the hardest challenge possible to eliminate the doubts over his career.
In his statement, “The Destroyer” hoped to put it all behind him. Benn began scouting an opponent when the WBC could find no evidence he knowingly ingested clomiphene.
“I have to focus on rebuilding my career as this has cost me a great deal of time and money. But at some point, I want to make a stand on behalf of athletes.
“Those who may find themselves in a similarly devastating position to me, without the expertise or the resources to clear their name,” said Benn.
“Everything I have learned during this process of talking to many experts gives me serious concerns about the whole testing system in the sport.
“Anti-doping protections are obviously extremely important. But so is ensuring people are given due process and presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“Cheaters should be caught and punished. People like me who prove their innocence should be vindicated and allowed to continue their careers.”
That’s a massive undertaking for a 44-year-old fighting superstar who retired for two years and hasn’t scored a victory in almost four.
Pacquiao has his own mess to sort out in an ongoing legal battle with Paradigm Sports.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of experienced boxing writer Phil Jay. Twitter @PhilJWBN. Follow WBN: Facebook, Insta, Twitter.