By Gabriel Montoya: On Monday, responding to an inquiry from Maxboxing.com, the World Anti-Doping Agency stated it is not overseeing the Tim Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao rematch being held April 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada live on HBO pay per view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It had been previously reported by Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that WADA would be conducting the testing.
On Valentine’s Day, Carp broke the story that the Nevada State Athletic Commission had decided to step in and take over the business of conducting stricter anti-doping testing in Pacquiao-Bradley II. In effect, VADA’s bill would have likely been $20-25,000 to randomly test both fighters throughout training camp up to and after the fight.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
The Nevada Athletic Commission announced Friday that both fighters have agreed to submit to random out-of-competition drug testing conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency before their fight. Top Rank will pay for the testing.
“We reached out to VADA but I talked to Cisco [Nevada Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar] and he said WADA did a great job with the [Juan Manuel] Marquez-Bradley fight,” explained Arum to Carp. “So we’re going with WADA.”
Well, Mr. Arum, there’s a problem with that statement.
“WADA is not a testing agency and therefore is not responsible for the testing about which you inquired,” said WADA spokesman Ben Nichols. “Only signatory organizations are subject to the rules and regulations of the World Anti-Doping Code. The boxing federation that operates under the WADA Code is the IBO.”
More on the IBO at another time.
This marks the latest in a series of mishaps and misunderstandings regarding WBO welterweight champ Tim Bradley and his desire to fight on a level anti-doping playing field.
In late January, Bradley and Pacquiao agreed to meet in a rematch. As part of the agreement, Bradley announced that both men had agreed to undergo testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). Bradley’s undergone VADA testing, which sets the highest standard in sport with its strict anti-doping protocols, for his last two fights. Pacquiao underwent the VADA process in his last fight versus Brandon Rios, whose fight night sample tested positive for DMAA, a banned stimulant.
However, by early February, Bradley announced that the testing issue had hit a snag. Much like his last fight versus Juan Manuel Marquez, (www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/will-arums-proposed-nevada-testing-endanger-marquez-vs-bradley and www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-bob-arum-nevada-testing-agency-is-failing), it would appear that Top Rank Promotions founder Bob Arum and the Nevada State Athletic Commission have decided to handle the anti-doping tests being sought after by Bradley and agreed to by Pacquiao. Arum will pay for it and once again, Nevada appears to be willing to pay lip service to the idea that it can and will conduct testing on the level of VADA. The last time the NSAC claimed such, it turned out to be untrue. They didn’t conduct Carbon Isotope Ratio testing on every sample the way VADA does.
Arum told Lem Satterfield of www.RingTV.com, “It’s complete WADA testing of everything from soup to nuts.”
What does that mean? “Complete WADA testing of everything from soup to nuts?” That statement has no value. Is there testing for EPO, HGH, and the CIR testing for synthetic testosterone on every sample? Yes or no? Is the full steroid panel being used? Is Epinephrine being tested for? Are the fighters allowed to rehydrate using intravenously? WADA Code prohibits it. WADA Code prohibits the use of a needle of any kind unless express permission is given well in advance.
Why does NSAC testing cost more than VADA when the amount of times the most expensive test, CIR, conducted in the Bradley-Marquez training camp was half of how many times VADA CIR-tested? I couldn’t tell you. Are they using IDTM or Clearidium, two WADA-certified sample-collecting agencies or will someone else be involved?
Saying you are up to WADA Code is easy. Doing it is hard. Even still, the bar set by VADA is even higher than the WADA Code. It is a specific protocol that goes above and beyond what everyone else is doing.
Arum and Top Rank will be paying a fee of $35,000 to the NSAC to conduct testing. “The results will go to the commission,” Arum told RingTV.
What we don’t know is when the results go to the commission.
In a story published on Maxboxing.com about Golden Boy Promotions and the Danny Garcia vs. Erik Morales fight, results management is a key issue in anti-doping testing. (www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/usada-golden-boy-and-positive-test-results-management---part-two)
In the event of a positive A sample, who gets notified? Is a positive result defined with the language quoted in the linked article as both the A and B sample testing positive? In that case, a fighter could technically test positive for a banned substance, continue with the fight having never tested the B sample at all or at least until after the fight. VADA releases results to the commission, Fight Fax and the relevant parties after the A sample.
In the scenario in which the A and B sample must be tested before releasing results, the door is open for a terrible precedent. In that scenario, what happens when a fighter loses to someone who tested positive? What happens if said fighter is permanently injured? Is the promoter liable for damages?
The financial risk of canceling a fight because of a positive test is great. Insurance companies likely won’t insure a fight for that eventuality but rather than control results and leave one open liable for damages, perhaps better undercards are the solution or at the very least, a co-main event solid enough to become an A-side in the event of a fight being canceled.
An even better solution: don’t cheat.
As with the Marquez fight, perhaps because he recognized that VADA is a high bar that has been set and once you reach a certain peak, you don’t back down, Bradley has announced that he will once again undergo VADA testing for this fight.
Pacquiao has not joined him in that stance despite the fact he used VADA in his last fight and they detected a banned substance in his opponent. His trainer, Freddie Roach, is a big fan of VADA. His fighters, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, Pacquiao and WBO junior welterweight champ Ruslan Provodnikov are all VADA-tested fighters.
But all that said, Pacquiao is letting Bradley and, consequently, VADA stand alone in this one.
Why Bob Arum and Nevada want VADA out of the picture and into their subpar anti-doping protocol is a good question.
Amir Khan (@AmirKingKhan) broke the news a few days ago on Twitter that Marcos Maidana that would indeed be getting the May 3rd pay-per-view shot versus Floyd Mayweather at the MGM Grand with all the pomp and circumstance to go with it.
On Monday night, Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) confirmed the news via Twitter. Khan has been bulking up for months getting ready to move from 140 pounds to 147. My guess is he lands in a rematch north of 140 against Lamont Peterson. It’s a solid move that allows Peterson to retain his title and gives Khan a shot at redemption.
Incidentally, Khan and Peterson were supposed to rematch but Peterson tested positive in the spring of 2012 and the fight was canceled. That scenario is likely what has Bob Arum so worried about VADA, who detected Synthetic Testosterone in Peterson using CIR testing.
As for Mayweather-Maidana, who cares? Khan actually presented a physical puzzle to solve despite being chinny. With his size and speed, Khan might have given Mayweather issues. Maidana’s best win came against Adrien Broner, a fighter not quite acclimated to 147 pounds and certainly one who’s not shown signs of being dominant much less successful above 135 pounds. There is nothing in Maidana’s recent history to say he will do much of anything versus Mayweather.
This is the $70-a-safe-fight-period of Floyd Mayweather’s career. It’s not even on the level of Oscar De la Hoya, the deposed pay-per-view king, who faced the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Mayweather and Pacquiao to close out his career.
Wake me when Mayweather faces an opponent who will make me wonder if this time, the Great One can lose.
You can email Gabriel at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him every Monday on “The Next Round” with Steve Kim, now at its new home, www.blogtalkradio.com/thenextround or via iTunes subscription at itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/leave-it-in-ring-radio-blog/id316004573?mt=2. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show www.Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com, Thursdays at 5-8 p.m., PT.
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February 25, 2014