The biggest and most baseless accusation flying around these days within the world of boxing is the statement that Manny Pacquiao has apparently utilized performance enhancing drugs in order to attain his all-time great status. The leading argument from his detractors is the fact that the "Pacman" has moved from the 130 pound division to the 147 pound division in a mere four years while retaining all the physical qualities he exemplified within the lower weight classes. They state that moving up 17 pounds in weight while preserving a chiseled physique is damn near impossible for a man of Pacquiao's size.
I would tend to agree completely.
We've all seen examples of fighters moving up in weight that tend to lose that "carved out of marble"-look...
Unfortunately this argument falls drastically short on numerous levels regarding Pacquiao.
Here are the most succinct examples as to why there is no argument in regards to Manny Pacquiao utilizing illegal substances to achieve success within the higher weight division...
Manny Pacquiao entered the super featherweight division March 19, 2005 when he took on all-time Mexican great, Erik "El Terrible" Morales. Here is the tale of the tape for that bout:
The fight took place at 130 pounds in which Pacquiao would weigh-in the day prior at 129.5. On the night of the bout the "Pacman" would rehydrate to 139 pounds while Morales would rehydrate to 140. Being that it was his first move up from the featherweight limit (a weight he competed a total of only 5 times at), it was evident that Manny was the "smaller" man at the time. His body hadn't saturated itself at the higher weight yet and making the contracted weight was not an issue.
19 months following that first bout with Morales, Pacquiao would enter his trilogy match with the Mexican on November 18, 2006. Here is the tale of the tape for that bout:
Once again... this bout took place at the 130 pound limit but at this point, Pacquiao's body had seemingly matured within the superweight division after having competed 3 times within the weight class. On the night of the fight, Many would rehydrate to 144 pounds while Morales would rehydrate to 139. No eyebrows were raised at this point in time as it was merely evident that the Filipino had continued to mature and strengthen bit by bit.
16 months and three fights later on March 15, 2008, Manny Pacquio would enter his rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Here is the tale of the tape for that bout:
This would be the "Pacman's" last and final bout within the super featherweight division and the weigh-in he'd hit the mark of 129 pounds. On the night of the fight, Pacquiao would re-hydrate to 145 pounds while Marquez would rehydrate to 141. Being that the southpaw would gain 16 pounds overnight, it pointed to the fact that there must have been a pretty decent battle in continuing to make the 130 pound limit and that a move up to lightweight was not completely out of the question. His affair with Marquez was a nip-and-tuck affair but at this point in time, no eyebrows were raised as to Manny's potential usage of performance enhancing drugs.
3 months following his rematch with Marquez, the dynamic lefty would make the trek up to the 135 pound division on June 28, 2008 to face-off with WBC belt-holder David Diaz. Here is the tale of the tape for that bout:
As you can see... Pacquiao would reyhdrate to 147 pounds, a mere 2 pounds heavier than he had been for his bout with Marquez three months prior. Diaz would reyhdrate to 148 pounds indicating that both men were fighting on relatively even terms as it pertains to size. While it was a shockingly impressive performance by the "Pacman", nobody had even begun to mention anything in relation to the possibility of Manny being a drug abuser. Diaz would receive a hellacious pounding throughout that night but many knowledgeable boxing fans felt as though Diaz had lost to Erik Morales the year prior making this victory a little less "shiny" for the "Pacman". The fact that Manny didn't look bloated or out of place with a legitimate-sized lightweight didn't really seem to shock anybody at this point in time.
6 months following the David Diaz fight, Pacquiao would make the trek up to the welterweight division for a bout with Oscar De la Hoya. The "Golden Boy" opted not to face off against fellow Mexican, Antonio Margarito and instead would choose to fight the smaller man in Manny. Here is the tale of the tape for that bout:
There was massive intrigue going into and following the weigh-in for this bout as many questions abounded as to how Manny would look at this much higher weight class. The bout took place at the welterweight limit with Manny weighing 142 pounds at the weigh-in while rehydrating to the 148.5 mark on the night of the fight. For those of you mathematically challenged, that's 6.5 pounds. De la Hoya would tip the scales at 145 pounds at the weigh-in while rehydrating to 147 pounds the next day. The amusing thing to me is the fact that it was more than apparent that HBO was attempting to diffuse the "size disparity" issue between the two having added the 0.5 "extra weight" to the smaller man. This is something I've never seen prior to or after this farce of an event. Seriously... since when does HBO's unofficial scale include half pounds.
So now lets take a quick look back at this stretch of fights for Pacquiao.
Night of the Fight HBO Weigh-ins for Manny:
Pacquiao-Morales I - March 19, 2005 - 139 pounds... the look, tight and chiseled. Amount of weight gained overnight... 9.5 pounds.
Pacquiao-Morales III - November 18, 2006 - 144 pounds... the look, slightly wider but still strong and defined. Amount of weight gained overnight... 14 pounds.
Pacquiao-Marquez II - March 15, 2008 - 145 pounds... the look, same as the fight before. Amount of weight gained overnight... 16 pounds.
Pacquiao-Diaz - June 28, 2008 - 147 pounds... strong and defined. Amount of weight gained overnight... 12 pounds.
Pacquiao-De la Hoya - December 6, 2008 - 148.5 pounds... slightly stronger and defined. Amount of weight gained overnight... 6.5 pounds.
Pacquiao-Hatton May 2, 2009 - 148 pounds. Maintain his natural deadly weight.
Pacquiao-Cotto Nov 14, 2009 - 148-150 pounds. Again he maintain his natural weight.
As we can see in this chart, Pacquiao's official weight has jumped quite rapidly, but his actual in-ring weight has remained very consistent.
Again, this doesn't provide evidence that Pacquiao is not using steroids. For all we know he is using everything under the sun. The point is that the underlying basis for the suspicion that Pacquiao is doping is based on a false premise. Manny Pacquiao has not gained an incredible amount of muscle mass. Instead he has simply ceased to drain such a huge amount of weight.
You must sacrifice a good amount of nutrition to do so and it leaves your body at less than 100 percent by the time the initial bell rings. It's inevitable regardless of how much weight your body gains overnight.
Being that Manny is now competing within a weight division in which he doesn't struggle one bit to make, it doesn't suprise me at all to see him not only perform to the best of his physical abilities but it also allows him to execute the gameplan Freddie Roach has pieced together to a razor sharp tee. A person's mind is much more clearer when they are in 100 percent physical condition and haven't been forced to starve leading up to the test. It's simple physiology my friends...
There have been numerous scientific tests pointing to the fact that humans perform written and oral exams at much poorer levels when they are in a state of hunger or malnutrition as the body's focus is on food rather than following directions or performing tasks. Sure, the second that the weigh-in is over one is allowed to consume as much food and liquids as one might desire but the mind and nervous system still take several days to recover in order to think at a pristine quality.
The fact that Manny weighed in at 144 pounds in 2006 and 148.5 pounds in 2008 tells me that the "Pacman" did not gain 17 pounds in muscle in 2 years. It tells me that he is competing at his natural weight and has been able to train at an optimal level to retain those qualities that make him great. In my mind, Manny Pacquiao has gained 4.5 pounds of overall body strength in 2 years which is not exactly unheard of my friends.
Being that the "Pacman" has had amongst the strongest legs within boxing for quite some time, it can't be that suprising that he's able to move so well at this "slightly" higher weight class. He moved great against Morales in their trilogy bout and he moved great 4.5 pounds later against Oscar De la Hoya.
Sometimes it seems as though boxing tends to have the most moronic "analysts" and fans in the world by far.
Pacquiao's achieved all that he has based on hard work, dedication, and some great genetics that kicked in later on in life...
The Boxing Truth - Manny Pacquiao Is Not On Steroids Or PEDS... Plain And Very Simple