Sports Law Blog
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Thursday, January 07, 2010
Has the Mayweather-Pacquiao Drug Controversy Touched on The Cure for a Lack of Uniform Rules?

Consider the following hypothetical situation in light of the lingering dispute between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather over random drug testing. Following his dramatic back-to-back knockout losses to Carl (The Cobra) Froch and “King” Arthur Abraham, former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain (Bad Intentions) Taylor is a given a bout contract for his upcoming fight with Andre Ward that contains the following provision: “Parties agree that, in addition to the pre-fight medical examinations required by the California State Athletic Commission, the Parties shall submit to pre-fight medical testing identical to that which is mandated by the New York State Athletic Commission.” Taylor’s team promptly calls Ward’s promoter to ask why this provision is in the contract since California already has its own regulations for pre-fight medical examinations. The response: Ward is concerned that Taylor can be vulnerable to serious brain damage due to the nature of his recent knockout losses and believes that California’s pre-fight medical testing does not go far enough, as evidenced by the fact that Edwin Valero was cleared to fight in California on three occasions before evidence of an old head injury was found in a pre-fight CT scan in New York.

If the above hypothetical contract provision sounds unreasonable and/or unnecessary, then you may be one of those who agrees with Pacquiao’s position that if testing is not mandated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (“NSAC”), he need not agree to it by contract. If, on the other hand, you believe that the above hypothetical contract provision is the end result of an appropriate abundance of caution, you may now be able to see how American boxing promoters can take it upon themselves to close the gap between the nation’s athletic commissions in pre-fight medical and drug testing: by compelling more thorough testing by contract. The current controversy between Mayweather and Pacquiao may have, in short, laid the blue print for how to insure the safety of boxers no matter where they fight in the United States. Boxing is abundant with skeptics however, thus this possibility begs the question: Is the contracting of more rigorous pre-fight medical and drug testing on a regular basis desirable, doable, and realistic? An analysis follows...

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