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Counter Punch

Marquez, Hernandez deny steroid accusations made by Roach

Manny Pacquiao; Juan Manuel Marquez Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will square off once again on Dec. 8. (Stan Honda/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS -- Last week, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach made news when he suggested Juan Manuel Marquez, who will face Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, was using performance-enhancing substances. Roach told USA Today, "”If (his body) is natural, I will kiss his a--.”

Part of Roach’s suspicion involves Marquez’s association with Angel Hernandez, an admitted steroids peddler who has supplied performance-enhancing substances to Olympic athletes, including Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery. Hernandez -- then known as Angel Heredia -- later became a witness for the prosecution against athletes.

On Tuesday, both Marquez and Hernandez denied using anything illegal.

“You can say anything you want, but [if] you don’t have any proof, it means nothing,” Marquez said. “I told them I am willing to take any exam they want. Let’s go together, we’ll do it together.”

“Before the last camp, there were accusations about [Pacquiao], people saying things, and we didn’t care. We never brought it up. For this fight, all of a sudden they are attacking me. I say we do [a blood test] now.”

Marquez says working with Hernandez has “changed everything.”

“I have had a 20-year career,” Marquez said. “I did it the same for 18 years. Now, I’ve changed everything.”

“Weight training has changed a lot,” Hernandez said. “It’s evolved. In the past, you did not see strength and conditioning coaches around a boxer. There is nothing illegal. We do our jobs.”

Last week, Hernandez said he met with federal authorities, including noted investigator Jeff Novitzky, and asked them to look into Roach’s comments. He also said he planned to file a lawsuit against Roach, though that seems unlikely.

Hernandez said after this fight any fighter he works with will be required to submit to year-round blood and urine testing in line with the policies of the World Anti Doping Agency.

“I’d be happy to do it,” Marquez. “As long as the guy I’m fighting does the same thing. If there is going to be a level field, it has to be level for everyone.”

-- Chris Mannix

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