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SportsColumnistsGreg Logan

Deal is in Pacquiao's corner for megafight

Agreeing to split the money for what promises to be the richest fight in history was the easy part for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. But promoter Bob Arum predicted there would be bumps in the road because of Mayweather's determination to protect his unbeaten record, and he was right.

Mayweather's insistence on random drug testing to make sure performance-enhancing drugs aren't the secret to Pacquiao's success still threatens to scuttle the scheduled March 13 bout despite recent progress in negotiating terms of testing.

As much as Arum and Pacquiao's camp might squawk about Mayweather looking for a way out of the match, the onus really is on the "Pacman" to step to the plate, do what has to be done and settle any lingering questions about the legitimacy of his record seven world titles.

There never has been any hint of wrongdoing by Pacquiao, but in this day and age, sports consumers can't be too careful. We all bought in to the great home run exploits of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, as well as Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's record up to the point where he hit 73 homers at the age of 35.

Now people are looking for explanations for how Pacquiao was able to begin his pro career as a 106-pounder and move all the way to the 147-pound welterweight class at which he and Mayweather will meet without any loss of power by Pacquiao against naturally bigger opponents. Maybe the added weight and not having to watch his diet have helped him, as trainer Freddie Roach has suggested.

Maybe Pacquiao is a freak of nature. It happens, and his speed certainly enhances the power of his punches.

But given Pacquiao's worldwide status as boxing's greatest hero since the days of Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali, wouldn't it be nice to know for sure that he really is someone to believe in? If Pacquiao is clean, then, it's in his interest and that of the sport to prove it to the world.

When I recall the first fight between Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello, there always has been the nagging question of whether the "water bottle" trainer Panama Lewis called for in Pryor's corner at a point when he was getting pounded contained any substance that allowed him to survive and go on to victory. Pryor won the rematch, so maybe he simply was the stronger man.

But it would be nice to know for sure.

According to news reports, Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, said Pacquiao has agreed to random tests and both blood and urine tests. "Now it's a matter of the sides working out a cutoff date to assure it will still be effective," Schaefer said.

Pacquiao previously said he would take a test in January when the fight is announced, 30 days before the fight and immediately after the fight. Schaefer said 30 days in advance isn't effective.

That's reasonable. Shrink the window before the fight to two weeks ahead and immediately after, and that should remove all doubt.

Pacquiao can answer the questions in the ring and beyond the ring.

New York Sports