Less than 24 hours before Floyd Mayweather outlasted Manny Pacquiao in last May’s meeting of two living legends, the man they call Money received two IV treatments totaling 750 milliliters of fluids, violating World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines, according to an SB Nation story.
The contents of the IV were kosher under WADA rules—it was only saline and vitamins—but the amount was not. Rules prohibit IV infusions of more than 50 milliliters per six hours because they can hide banned substances in a boxer’s system. But that's not even the worst part: Mayweather’s banned IV treatments didn’t cause him any problems because the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) agents who discovered them didn’t report the violation to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). It took a full three weeks for the USADA to tell the NSAC about the IVs. And it didn't do so until it issued a retroactive exemption for Mayweather to use the IVs.
There are two problems with that. First, the head of the NSAC says only it, and not the USADA, can issue drug exemptions to fighters in Nevada. And second, Mayweather only applied for the exemption on May 19, more than two weeks after the fight. This detail is especially egregious considering that Pacquiao was denied an exemption to take the painkiller Toradol on the night of the fight because he didn’t make the request in a timely manner.
You'll be excused if you find all of this kind of hard to follow. But if you take one thing away from the SB Nation piece, which you should read if you care about boxing, it’s that the USADA is a less-than-trustworthy organization that should be regarded with skepticism. Mayweather may have broken the rules here, but it’s boxing institutional issues that tarnish the sport most.
And to think, very few wanted to watch Mayweather’s next fight before this story came out. Will they even bother now?
Photos by JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images