Juan Manuel Marquez on a Wednesday conference call to hype his Nov. 12 fight with Manny Pacquiao said it was news to him that his strength and conditioning coach had a past as a steroid dealer. He only found out about Angel Heredia's past as a dealer and informant to federal proseuctors when Heredia was outed on Twitter by BALCO founder Victor Conte on Monday, the boxer said.
Marquez, age 38, several times addressed the news that his strength and conditioning coach, Id'd as "Angel Hernandez" on the second episode of HBO's 24/7, has a history in illegal doping, back when he was known as "Angel Heredia." In 2008, the BBC called him a "Mexican steroid dealer," and detailed how he aided prosecutors in building a case against Trevor Graham, coach of Olympic sprinter Marion Jones, who went down in flames in the BALCO scandal.
Heredia admitted he sold PEDs to many Olympic athletes. Basically, it appears Heredia ratted out a dozen or more athletes, seemingly helping out the prosecution in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
Marquez said he hasn't been distracted by the Heredia flap and said lawyers will attend to any implications that he is using illegal PEDs currently.
He was asked how he met Heredia. He said he knew he'd trained elite athletes, that he's very professional and said that any remarks by Victor Conte or Alex Ariza regarding Heredia are legal issues which will be handled by Heredia. He said he was irked that implications might create a cloud over him.
The fighter was asked why the ex steroid dealer's past wasn't made aware to him before. He blamed Conte and Ariza for bringing it up. He said he'd do any and all drug tests to prove he's clean. Promoter Bob Arum then piped up. He said Conte and Heredia are not likely to use illegal drugs because of their past, and that natural supplements are just as good as steroids. Those, and the sophisticated training methods, he said, are de rigeur in the sport.
Will Marquez file a lawsuit against Conte or Ariza? Marquez said Heredia will probably talk to his lawyers, and determine whether things that were said about him are grounded in fact.
Arum then sparred with a questioner, Maxboxing's Gabriel Montoya, who delved into the testing issue in regards to a proposed Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. Montoya began to get into the drug testing issue and brought up the potential irony in that Ariza is a member of Team Pacquiao. Arum asked for the questioner to be booted, and Montoya was. I would have preferred to have let the question and answer dynamic play out rather than have media member who is known to be an intelligent journalist summarily dismissed. Arum, with his intelligence and skill in debating, should have no problem dealing with a question in that sphere in a less prickly fashion.
Trainer Nacho Beristain also said Heredia has done good work, and helped bring the trainer a finely-tuned athlete who has a better chance to win than before he worked with him.
Marquez said he had a great camp. "It's a big fight so I think the preparation has been one of our best," he said. Beristain said he thinks it is the best camp JMM has ever had, and promised a terrific challenge to Pacquiao in this third installment of their rivalry.
The fighter said he understood that Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach are both amped for the fight. "If they felt they won the first two fights so be it, we feel the same way," he said. Beristain said the third fight will shed doubt who is the better man of the two.
Marquez said he thinks Pacquiao is a better fighter than he was when they last scrapped. He said he thinks age won't be a factor for him, that at 38 he will be just as good as he was a few years ago, and that he has no beef this third fight didn't happen a couple years ago.
Beristain said that Mayweather is too defensive, while Manny comes to fight, so he'd rather face Manny repeatedly rather than Mayweather.
Promoter Bob Arum started off the call. He thanked HBO for their work on the promotion, particularly the 24/7 show. "Everywhere I go people have told me how much they've enjoyed this 24/7," he said.
Who's the best Mexican boxer today?