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Boxing Drug Testing Issue: Who Do You Trust?

Top Rank Boxing

New York- There is supposed to be a valid and accurate drug testing procedure that sanctioning organizations, promoters, and fighters agree is necessary, but there are always questions about what is valid and what is not.

Undefeated WBC junior featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and his positive test for the banned substance phentermine is another case of what’s going on here? As reported, Valdez will proceed with his September 10 title defense against Robson Conceicao which headlines an ESPN/ Top Rank boxing card from Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.

A few days ago, though, Valdez and the title defense was in jeopardy. A few days later, we have a fight and a main event which means the entire card proceeds, however, the story here won’t be about Valdez and his first title defense after dethroning Miguel Berchelt back in February.

The story will be about the validity of drug testing. The questions, did Valdez test positive for an illegal substance of A & B samples that were obtained from the Volunteer Anti-Doping Agency better known as VADA?

The WBC, a major sanctioning organization that adheres and supposedly has a no tolerance for drug enhancement, took a stand. Valdez, their champion, could go along with his defense and there would be no punishment.

In the meantime, Valdez continues his final days of training. He is also denying the accuracy of the VADA results. Valdez, a Mexican fighter, in good standing with the WBC, said this week that he has no reason to cheat and never used an illegal substance.

So, who is to be believed here? Well, that depends on what is read and heard, and one account as expected does contradict another. Then again, boxing has this ongoing issue with drug testing and the procedures of VADA and other reputed organizations that sanctioning bodies use to determine a fair fight.

Recall, there was the constant scrutiny of record eight- division champion Manny Pacquiao, and allegations of constant use of illegal enhancement drugs that provided strength, which supposedly propelled him to move up in weight and continue the successful title reigns.

And there was always watch over Canelo Alvarez, another WBC Mexican favorite, and the denial of using an illegal substance that was later attributed to eating a common type of meat from cows in Mexico.

I still can’t buy any of the denials coming from the Canelo Alvarez camp or the WBC. Then again, who am I to question the WBC, Alvarez, or go deeper into the issue and investigate if cows in Mexico are a culprit. Since then, all is normal and Alvarez continues his legacy as an all-time boxing great and eventual Hall of Famer.

Complicating the issue is also the various state athletic commissions or those who regulate combat sports. VADA vs. the World Anti-Doping Agency is another battle with conflicting views of what constitutes an illegal substance and when it was administered.

Apparently the Pascua Yaquo commission uses the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, in turn Oscar Valdez was vindicated as they claim a substance is banned during the 24-hour period leading up to the contest. The Phentermine drug, if taken, is not detected in a fighter in a matter of a four day period after.

Confused? It does leave this to medical personnel and that lack of unity issue in the sport. Oscar Valdez, he denies using an illegal substance and that is nothing new. Fighters. and for that matter athletes in all spectrums of sports are always claiming innocence when random or otherwise testing comes up positive.

Boxing, though, has different guidelines with so many alphabet soup organizations that sanction titles. Very few state athletic commission or control boards are on the same page with testing and regulations for fighters, managers, and corner personnel.

Heck, they can’t secure a main event championship fight since COVID-19 got into the picture as fighters test positive and promoters claim they have been administered both doses of the COVID vaccine.

Promoters get involved in the process but in the end to them it’s assuring that the main event of champion and challenger meet in the ring to trade punches. Bob Arum, promoter of Valdez, defends his champion and that is expected.

The WBC and with one of their major titles in the spotlight, including huge sanctioning fees on the table, they want the Valdez fight to proceed and for now the issue of what or how is no longer an issue. This is about the income gained and securing a fight card to avoid a risk of taking a significant financial loss with television or streaming services involved.

But boxing has that continuing issue in regard to lack of unity with a drug testing system, safety of fighters, and of course putting an end to the array of alphabet soup titles that are too many.

In the meantime, VADA or the Anti-Doping Agency will continue as the viable way of detecting the use of an illegal substance as this latest controversy becomes the story of Valdez’ title defense.

And I will say this again, as stated many times here, until boxing has a national commission that can regulate and put everyone on the same page, well there will be more of this.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter @Ring 786 Mancuso Listen To Rich talk boxing with host Rickie Ricardo late night 1am Monday on 94WIP Sports Talk Radio Philadelphia

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