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For the last month, we have read stories about the ongoing battle outside of the ring between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao regarding the drug testing procedures leading up to the now canceled March 13th bout at the MGM Grand. In one corner, the Mayweather Jr. camp insists that Pacquiao must be hiding something if he’s afraid to submit to Olympic-style drug testing before the fight. In the other corner, Pacquiao continues to vehemently deny the allegations and has since countered with an anti-defamation lawsuit against his accusers.
When I first started reading articles and watching updates on ESPNews, it seemed to me that Pacquiao was in trouble. Not because of the discussion around possible steroid use, but because the sports buff in me couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t just agree to these specific tests if he had nothing to hide. But as more of the story continued to unfold, I couldn’t help but start to sympathize with Pacquiao. While Mayweather Jr. might have a 40-0 record and is undoubtedly one of the best fighters of his generation, he is not as gifted with his communications skills. He is notorious for having Chad Ochocinco (NFL wide receiver) disease of the mouth. His continuous accusations and affinity for media spotlight comes off as childish, and some fans have even questioned whether or not he wants to fight in this match or if this is just a tactic to try and avoid a blemish on his career. Either way, it’s more apparent than ever that he should seek the advice of media professionals, or fire his current advisors, and come up with a new game plan.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao has taken a different approach. He issued a statement (see ESPN article at http://tinyurl.com/y9yk63z) declaring his innocence and acknowlegded his appreciation for the support his fans have showed him during this public feud. While he certainly could have held a press conference, we need to remember that Pacquiao hails from the Philippines and doesn’t speak English very well, he instead opted to writing a statement, which was probably the best strategy. However, is there more that he should be doing? Should he be the aggressor and go on the attack via the media in an effort to further defend himself, or is he wise to stay on the sidelines and let Mayweather Jr. continue to grab the headlines?
At this point, it is unclear which boxer is winning this PR war of words. Please take the poll below and cast your vote. Lets see what the PR industry thinks.