A possible solution to a rampant problem!
We have seen problems with drug/PED use throughout the history of sports. Basketball, football, and tennis have all seen their share of problems; not even collegiate level athletics have been spared. In the majority of these cases, proper checks and balances have been implemented to monitor PED use.
In boxing, the issue has become extremely apparent. Since Floyd Mayweather mentioned he wanted Manny Pacquiao to undergo random testing before committing to fighting him in 2009, many failed cases have emerged.
Shortly after, the WBC teamed with VADA to make enrolling in a random testing program mandatory. Since then, we have seen a myriad of fighters fail drug tests repeatedly.
Previous Acts of Cheating
In 2016, two of the most blatant acts of disregard for sportsmanship involving drug use in the history of boxing took place. Heavyweights Alexander Povetkin and Lucas Browne both tested positive for two separate PEDs within one year. The former tested positive for meldonium and ostarine within a six month span. The latter tested positive for clenbuterol and ostarine within an eight month span.
Both fighters have since been cleared to fight; the former prepping for a title shot against Anthony Joshua in September. To their credit, each has undergone periodic testing since returning to the ring. Still, the question begs asking: has the problem truly been curbed?
Let’s look further down the active roster for perspective. What does it say when we have situations where even prospects are getting caught? Featherweight Kid Galahad was busted in the past. Even more recently, middleweight Liam Cameron popped hot. If even the fighters that are not considered “popular names” are failing tests, its safe to say that there is a major problem here.
The Canelo Situation
Canelo Alvarez was the subject of the most recent high profile case back in May. He tested positive for clenbuterol; said to have been ingested after eating meat. Consequently, a mega-clash with Gennady Golovkin was cancelled.
Although he was suspended, the WBC quickly reinstated him as their #1 contender after he enrolled in VADA’s testing program. Yes, it was that simple. This was all done without a proper assessment of whether Canelo will offend again or not. The outcome: he was able to obtain another opportunity to make a huge money fight with Golovkin in September.
A better alternative would be to mandate year-round testing for Canelo; not just in training camp. Of course, implementing this for every fighter right away would be difficult to say the least. The increased cost alone would be a deterrent. Therefore, implementing this as a requirement would be ideal for offenders for now.
In the future, year-round random drug testing will help do away with gray areas if all fighters participate. It is very plausible to enact provisions requiring active fighters to submit a test once or twice per month at random. Athletes would be much less bold in using PEDs with this system in place. It would further strengthen the move if all the world champions were to be the first to set the standard. If this is done, the rest of the boxing world may follow suit.
By: Jordan “Blake” Whitehead & EJ Williams