Saturday, July 20, 2024  |



Cotto-Canelo gets testy

Fighters Network
Photo by Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos

Photo by Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos


A clean sport, an even playing field, it’s what we on the outside seek for boxing.

But the world is what it is…chemical edges exist to help a fighter’s stamina, strength, recuperation.

Therefore, rather than rely on the honor system, testing for PED use is now the new norm, to one extent or another, usually, for the bigger fights.

Like this forthcoming clash between Miguel Cotto, the 35-year-old Puerto Rican hitter, and 25-year-old Canelo Alvarez, on Nov. 21, in Las Vegas, available on pay-per-view.

Hardcore fans know of late that PED matters have bubbled up after esteemed fight writer Thomas Hauser published articles touching on the subject. He scrutinized the USADA organization and its leader, Travis Tygart, in conjunction with their handling of the last Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight.

There is no shortage of fight folks who think the VADA (Volunteer Anti-Doping Association) organization is the “tougher” of the two top testing orgs, and would like to see VADA be the scrutinizer of choice to screen for those using illegal chemical aids, like synthetic testosterone or EPO or some other exotic composition which helps a fighter battle beyond his mortal means.

USADA will be handling testing for #CottoCanelo, not VADA, however.

The RING and WBC middleweight titles will be on the line; they currently sit around Cotto’s waist. Typically, VADA is seemingly favored as the tester of choice by the WBC but, for this event, USADA will be the screener. I looked to confirm with WBC boss Mauricio Sulaiman, to get some clarity on the matter, and will insert his reply when it comes.

Canelo is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions; GB exec Eric Gomez told me that, yes, USADA will be the screener. Are Canelo and GB cool with that choice? “Yes, Canelo asked for it,” Gomez told me.

The WBC just finished its convention and, in China, it was stated they would be moving forward on more regular and structured testing for their title fights beginning early next year. This is the sort of issue whose can gets kicked down the road; however, it’s complicated and the Xs and Os are up for debate, among various parties. For instance, we heard at the start of the PBC series to begin the year that their boxers would be engaging in hardcore testing, but so far, it seems that PBC boxers are lumped in with all the other battlers: testing is all over the map, with a lack of transparency and regularity the norm, not the exception.

Many folks are hopeful and optimistic that the WBC will be out front in the testing milieu, among the sanctioning bodies, so we as always are hopeful that in 2016, the testing/PED issue will be less often grounds for examination and cynical scrutiny. The sport, and the clean athletes participating, more than deserve it.