Mayweather-Mosley representatives lay out drug-testing plan
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley are about to become the most-tested boxers in the history of the sport.
The fighters representatives on Thursday discussed the Olympic-style drug-testing procedure that will be employed for their May 1 fight in Las Vegas, including random urine and blood screening anywhere and anytime leading up to the event.
The testing will be conducted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which is responsible for implementing the drug-testing code of the World Anti-Doping Agency. State commissions typically oversee any testing in boxing.
Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions; Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s advisor; and USADA Executive Director Travis Tygart said they hope those who oversee boxing worldwide will adopt the same system.
“It takes certain events to trigger better things,” Schaefer said. “With this fight, one of the biggest fights ever, we’re introducing the gold standard of blood testing. ÔÇª This isn’t a guy hitting a ball or cycling up a hill. It’s two guys standing in the middle of the ring hitting each other in the head.
“They deserve the highest level of protection.”
Mayweather triggered the new phase of drug testing when he demanded that Manny Pacquiao agree to Olympic-style protocol for a tentative super fight this month in Las Vegas.
However, Pacquiao, stung by the suggestion he might’ve used PEDs and convinced giving blood weakens him, would not agree to Mayweather’s terms and negotiations fell apart. Pacquiao’s handlers were more pointed, saying their fighter would not acquiesce to another fighter’s random demands.
They said it was the responsibility of the governing body, in this case the Nevada State Athletic Commission, not Mayweather, to determine drug-testing protocol.
Keith Kizer, executive director of the NSAC, questioned the motivation behind Mayweather’s sudden emphasis on drug testing but said his organization welcomes any practical steps to improving detection.
“I wonder how much of this is gamesmanship with regard to Mr. Pacquiao,” Kizer said. “When Mr. Mayweather fought here the last time, he didn’t request additional drug testing. This came out of the blue to all of us. Is it a fighter trying to get an edge over another fighter? I don’t know.
“Sometimes the right thing occurs for the wrong reason, though. Either way, it’s good.”
Nevada conducts only urine tests before and immediately after fights, which some believe allows them to use difficult-to-detect PEDs during training and then flush it from their system. The USADA can test athletes anywhere and anytime. Tygart said Mayweather and Mosley already have indicated where they’ll be at all times until the fight.
Also, contrary to the opinion of some, Tygart said relying solely on urine tests is inadequate. He provided examples of PEDs – including HGH (Human Growth Hormone) – that can be detected only by blood tests.
In other words, boxing is entering the big leagues of drug testing with this fight even if no system is fool proof.
“You can’t just test at events,” Tygart said. “Athletes can use things like steroids, HGH and EPO and test negative at events even though they received significant performance from drugs they used during training. You have to do out-of-competition testing without notice.
“They’re [the boxing commissions] are just far below the world standard.”
Ironically, Mosley is an example of a PED user who went undetected in Nevada. He admitted to taking steroids before his fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2003, saying he was tricked by BALCO’s Victor Conte into cheating. However, to be fair, testing in that state has evolved considerably since then.
Judd Burstein, Mosley’s attorney, said the fact the fighter agreed to the testing protocol says a great deal.
“Shane wouldn’t be doing this if he had any doubt in his mind that he’s a clean athlete,” he said. “We’re talking about something that happened six years ago. Shane never denied it right from the start. He made a mistake in trusting Conte.
“ÔÇª Floyd should be congratulated for really being at the forefront here. Shane didn’t hesitate to take part. He knows he’s clean.”
Of course, only those athletes and organizations that subscribe to Olympic-style testing can benefit from it. Individual states and international sanctioning bodies will have to decide for themselves whether to adopt WADA procedures.
Tygart is among those who hope those who regulate boxing will follow Mayweather’s lead – no matter his reasons – and decide they have no choice but to implement change.
“Our interests are the same as theirs ÔÇª drug-free, safe boxing, which people can believe in” said Tygart, referring to the states and sanctioning bodies. “We’re looking forward to working together with them. If they’re truly interested in having a clean sport, they’ll be partners in this effort.”
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]