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The Boxing Esq. Podcast, Ep.56: Dr. Margaret Goodman and Scott Shaffer

25
Aug

The Ring is proud to present “The Boxing Esq. Podcast with Kurt Emhoff”.  Emhoff, an attorney based in New York City, is a top boxing manager who has represented over 10 world champions in his 20-plus years in the sport. 

His guests on this episode are VADA’s Dr. Margaret Goodman and attorney and boxing writer Scott Shaffer. 

Dr. Goodman talked about her views on COVID protocols and which states are doing it right.  They discussed how VADA’s testing protocols have been affected by COVID and how VADA have used the downtime in the sport to make informational videos available on their website. They also spoke about the proper use of MRIs.

Shaffer analyzed last weekend’s busy schedule of fights including Whyte-Povetkin. Taylor-Persoon, Smith-Alvarez, and Porter-Formella and how it finally seemed like boxing was back after the long hiatus due to the pandemic.

Below are a few excerpts from the interviews:

On whether Dr. Goodman thought the protocols and procedures for the UFC’s first show post-COVID in Florida were handled correctly:

“No, obviously not, but things have improved considerably. It’s an ever-changing problem. It’s not just that COVID is changing and the symptoms involved, but also the way it’s being handled. I would say that the Nevada Athletic Commission, California Athletic Commission and promotional entities such as Matchroom and Top Rank and also the British Boxing Board of Control are handling the issue as best as possible given the circumstances. It’s a financial issue too, because you would like to place fighters in a bubble as long as possible and anybody that works with them so that you can maintain that they’re free of COVID are not going to show symptoms as time goes on. And there’s only so much you can do, but I think those commissions are doing an excellent job in trying to keep the problem as low as possible and so the fights can take place. 

It’s a learning experience for everyone. I think everyone’s doing as best they can.  I’m sure things will change next month and maybe even next week, as far as what we know, what we don’t know, what we need to know. But a lot of people that believe that it isn’t an issue or doesn’t exist or it’s a hoax or all that stuff, I think that’s foolhardy and it is a significant problem that needs to continue to be addressed. That doesn’t mean we forget about anti-doping, it just makes it all a little bit more difficult.” 

On how COVID has affected VADA’s anti-doping efforts: 

“It’s slowed down for quite a bit during a few months, like March, April, and then we picked up in May, somewhat in June. Obviously with no fights being held and because of the restrictions, we didn’t want to interfere with the privacy and the concerns that an athlete might have, especially if they’re essentially staying at home with their family members that could have co-morbidities or other illnesses, and they don’t want to risk them. And there’s no gyms open, so we cut back tremendously. But over the last few months, things have picked up a lot. And so we’ve been able to more freely test fighters, but we’ve been following strict protocols that VADA put in place. Also, obviously the CDC has recommendations, but also the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) put out recommendations. But I think we even go beyond that as far as taking precautions, during testing, as far as how we make contact with the athletes. 

We used to just show up at the locations that the athletes had provided on their whereabouts information, but what we were doing instead was first calling them. We have to still be able to reach the athlete within an hour, but we were calling them and asking them a series of questions, as far as their exposure to COVID-19 or anybody else that they knew or what they’ve been tested or treated, et cetera. And then if we felt comfortable and of course the doping and collection officers had to be free of COVID as well. Then we would show up at where the athletes requested us. Sometimes they wanted to change as far as the location because of family members being at home and concern over their risk and having anyone in their home, which is obviously very understandable. So we then met the athlete where they wanted us to see them.

And we wear all kinds of protective gear and even offered the athletes, if they didn’t have them, masks and special pens and everything. So nothing was reusable. So we’ve made all of these adjustments and we really haven’t had too much of an issue – I don’t think. It’s just that for some time we’ve cut back on the number of tests and also cause a lot of the number of tests that VADA did were for fighters leading up to an event. And so that changed a bit. I think things are moving along quite readily. As you see fights being scheduled and people feeling more comfortable, we’re certainly able to continue our program. But that’s another reason why during this time we tried to concentrate on more e-learning whereas we would have loved to have had way back when probably last year or the beginning of this year had in-person events. One thing that’s been good because of people being in a lockdown situation, we’ve been able to work on e-learning programs. We’ll have another one that will probably come out this week on concussions. Wladimir Klitschko has been very helpful in giving us his thoughts and advice and participating in the programs that we have. And I want to continue with those.”

Scott Shaffer on the Dillian Whyte-Aleander Povetkin fight:

“Look, Povetkin is 40 years old, but the last thing to go is the power as we’ve seen over and over again in the heavyweight division. He did look a little bit slower to me and he did take more punishment than he’s usually taken against everybody who’s not named Joshua or Klitschko. But I mean, the guy knows how to fight. He’s a fighter. And, it was an excellent fight.  If we could talk about the corruption of the sport – it looks like there’s going to be a rematch. The rematch is going to be just as interesting. After seeing the five rounds of action, I’d probably make Whyte the favorite for the rematch, or at least an even fight, which is saying a lot considering how bad Whyte was knocked out. “

On how he saw the Katie Taylor-Delfine Persoon fight:

“Well, I’m one of those people you’re not calling crazy.  I scored both fights (Taylor-Persoon I & II) 96-94 for Delfine Persoon. And for those of you who didn’t see the fights, Taylor got the decision in both fights. When I talk about it on Boxing Talk, I’m very careful I don’t call it a controversial decision. But I say that Taylor won two debatable decisions. Even the DAZN announcers, who have an interest in promoting Taylor, were saying that if you had it for Persoon, they couldn’t argue.”