Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Errol Spence Jr., Mikey Garcia will be tested by VADA ahead of welterweight title fight

Errol Spence has a clear size advantage in his intriguing matchup with Mike Garcia.

Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia will be enrolled in VADA testing ahead of their welterweight title fight.

Garcia (39-0, 30 knockouts) is working with strength and conditioning guru Victor Conte in the Bay Area as he builds himself into a full-fledged 147-pounder (Mikey won his first title at 126 pounds.)

Conte is an advocate for VADA, the agency that conducts the most stringent testing in combat sports. Conte told The Ring that Garcia submitted his VADA enrollment form Thursday; Spence is expected to do the same Friday.

Spence and Garcia meet March 16 on FOX Pay-Per-View at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Enrollment at this stage means at least 10 weeks of comprehensive testing. The large testing window is vital to dissuade athletes who attempt to cycle off from PED usage.

Garcia sought Conte’s guidance earlier, and wanted to begin training at his SNAC facility in San Carlos, California, on November 5. Conte refused, insisting VADA testing be secured first. It’s the same condition Conte places ahead on work with any fighter.

He has a checkered past, of course. He was the mastermind behind BALCO, the lab that farmed out designer PEDs to athletes like Barry Bonds and Sugar Shane Mosley. Conte served his time, and for the past decade, he’s overseen the strength and conditioning programs for fighters like Nonito Donaire.

“It’s cool. I wouldn’t train with (Conte),” Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) told The Ring on Sunday in New York. “A tiger don’t change his stripes too many times. He wanna train with him so I don’t know. I heard he was trying to take shots at me on Twitter. We doing VADA testing.”

Spence is a large welterweight who sees himself winning titles at 154 pounds and 160 one day. He’s one of the strongest fighters in boxing, pound-for-pound; combined with his educated jab and power, he’s a decided favorite over Garcia.

Garcia admits he’s never focused on strength training before. He’s one of the most talented fighters in boxing, but he’s never sported a matching physique. Even abdominal definition eludes him. He’s giving himself the best chance to upset Spence with a comprehensive program designed to properly add muscle while maintaining speed as he prepares for his first fight at 147 pounds.

“They originally wanted USADA. We told them no, it has to be VADA,” Conte told The Ring. “Mikey said he would pay for both fighters so Errol wouldn’t drag his heels. In the past there are people who will drag their heels. They’re supposed to do six weeks, let’s say, then it’s three or four or five. (Fighters) could be tapering off to make sure there’s no metabolites before they enroll.”

“In short, I demanded VADA testing for both Mikey and Spence before I would agree to have Mikey hold his training camp at SNAC. Both fighters deserve to have this fight on a level playing field.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger