LOS ANGELES, September 11- Floyd Mayweather hit back at accusations he violated anti-doping rules on Thursday after it emerged he had received an injection of vitamins and minerals on the eve of his superfight with Manny Pacquiao in May.
A report on the SB Nation sports news website late Wednesday said Mayweather had broken World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations by having an IV infusion at his home in Las Vegas on May 1.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) leapt to Mayweather’s defence on Thursday, stating that the injection was legal and that reports to the contrary were “false.”
“I follow and have always followed the rules of Nevada and USADA, the gold standard of drug testing,” Mayweather said in a statement.
“I am very proud to be a clean athlete and will continue to champion the cause,” added Mayweather, who is chasing history in Las Vegas on Saturday when he meets Andre Berto in a bid to match Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record.
USADA earlier said reports on the controversy had contained a “multitude of errors” and were “riddled with significant inaccuracies and misrepresentations.”
“We believe it is important to immediately correct the false suggestion that Floyd Mayweather violated the rules by receiving an IV infusion of saline and vitamins,” said USADA, the powerful anti-doping watchdog which played a leading role in bringing down disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
USADA said Mayweather had applied for and was granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) by the agency for the IV infusion, in accordance with regulations set down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
“Mr Mayweather’s use of the IV was not prohibited under the NSAC rules at that time and would not be a violation of the NSAC rules today,” the statement said.
It said Mayweather, a voluntary participant in the USADA program, had formally applied for the TUE after the infusion in order to remain in compliance USADA rules.
– Random drug test –
The agency said although the application was not approved until after the fight, Mayweather “did disclose the infusion to USADA in advance of the IV being administered to him.”
“Furthermore, once the TUE was granted, the NSAC and Mr Pacquiao were immediately notified even though the practice is not prohibited under NSAC rules,” it added.
The SB Nation report said Mayweather’s infusion had come to light after USADA agents visited the boxer at his Las Vegas home on Friday May 1, the day before the Pacquiao fight, to conduct a random unannounced test.
The report said the IV consisted of two separate mixes of saline and vitamins which had been administered to address dehydration concerns.
It added that while the substances in question were not prohibited under WADA rules, administering them intravenously was a breach of WADA regulations.
WADA guidelines say IV infusions are prohibited because they can be used to mask the use of performance enhancing drugs, increase plasma volume levels and distort the values of an athlete’s biological passport.
However a USADA source later told AFP that because Mayweather obtained a TUE, no offence had been committed under WADA rules.
The SB Nation report — headlined “Can boxing trust USADA?” — also contained broader criticisms of the agency’s record in boxing.
USADA defended its record as it condemned reports on the Mayweather case.
“Over the past six years USADA has conducted anti-doping programs for over 45 fights in the sport of professional boxing, and each of those programs has been conducted in accordance with the WADA Code and the International Standards,” it said.
“As a result, every athlete who has participated in one of our programs has voluntarily agreed to abide by the rules of the WADA Code and willingly subjected themselves to substantially more stringent testing protocols than they otherwise would have been subject to.”