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Should random Olympic-style Drug Testing be required in all boxing matches?

Updated on June 23, 2012

Antonio Tarver is the latest boxer to test positive for banned substances.


Antonio Tarver tests positive for banned steroid.

Last night while watching ESPN's "Friday Night Fights", it was revealed that Cruiserweight boxer, Antonio Tarver recently tested positive for a banned anabolic steriod. Tarver recently fought Lateef Kayode on June 2, 2012 in Carson, California. The positive test for steroids was confirmed in Tarver's pre-fight urine sample before the bout with Kayode. Random Olympic-style drug testing has been a hot topic in the sport of boxing for a few years now. It has also been one of the main reasons why the "Megafight" between Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Manny Pacquiao hasn't happened. Tarver's positive test, along with other well known fighters, who have also recently tested positive for banned substances leaves the question; Is random Olympic-style drug testing finally needed in all matches?

Cancellation of anticipated fights this year due to fighters failing tests.

There have been several fights that boxing fans had been looking forward to this year. A few of them have been called off due to certain boxers failing drug tests. Two of the more notable boxers besides Tarver, who recently failed tests are Lamont Peterson, and Andre Berto. After defeating Amir Khan in December of 2011, Peterson was set to face Khan in a rematch on May 19, 2012. However, Peterson tested positive for a synthetic testosterone substance, which led to the fight being called off. Ironically, Peterson requested that Khan agree to testing before the fight. The first bout between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz took place on April 16, 2011. Berto, who was undefeated coming into the the fight, lost to Ortiz by unanimous decision. The fight between Berto and Ortiz resulted in 4 total knockdowns among them, and was named "Fight of the Year" for 2011. The rematch between Berto and Ortiz was scheduled to take place on June 23, 2012. Berto tested positive for a banned substance in May of this year, which led to a cancellation of the rematch. Both Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz have since stated that they believe that Peterson and Berto were both using steroids in their respective fights.

Boxing commissions and introduction of random Olympic-style drug testing in boxing.

There are various boxing commissions and sanctions in professional boxing. Each commission has different drug testing policies and procedures. The procedures vary from each commission, and each state where professional boxing matches take place. Therefore, it's very possible that a boxer could be using performance enhancing drugs, and not get caught. Random Olympic-style drug testing in boxing was initially introduced by boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and his representatives, Leonard Ellerbe, and Al Haymon. Random Olympic-style testing is a form of testing that collects both blood and urine samples from each fighter leading up to the fight. They are administered by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and are held randomly by anti-doping officials weeks leading up to the fight. This type of drug testing isn't required in boxing, but has been constantly talked about and discussed since being introduced. Mayweather and his camp introduced this idea during the first negotiations to fight Manny Pacquiao a few years back.

Should random Olympic-style drug testing be required for all matches?

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Floyd Mayeather Jr camp, and suspicions of Manny Pacquiao.

The Mayweather camp, notably Mayweather's trainer and uncle, Roger Mayweather, along with Mayweather's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr, have long suspected that Manny Pacquiao has been using steroids. Pacquiao, who recently lost his WBO Welterweight titled to Timothy Bradley, started his career out in the Light Flyweight Division. Pacquaio has continued to move up through various weight classes during his career, and has claimed belts in eight different weight classes. This marked the first time this was ever done by any fighter.Pacquiao's constant move up in weight classes, along with his vicious punching power and the destruction of bigger fighters, has brought up suspicions by Mayweather and his camp, along with fans and analyst that he has used performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. It also must be noted that Pacquiao has yet to fail a drug test during his career. The continued speculation has lead to attacks from both camps, and has even lead to a defamation suit against Mayweather filed by Pacquiao. More importantly, it's prolonged the fight that everyone has been wanting to see.

Conclusion and personal thoughts.

When random Olympic-style testing was first introduced and held in Mayweather's bout, many viewed it as Floyd Mayweather Jr attempting to change the rules of boxing. I will admit that I felt this way initially. However, I'm starting to feel more and more that this method of testing should be required by all boxing commissions, and be made a rule in all highly anticipated bouts. When boxers take performance enhancing drugs and get caught, fights get called off. When fights get cancelled, the fans lose out and in professional sports, fans opinions do matter. Fans were expecting to see the Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson rematch. However, we are now going to see Amir Khan fight Danny Garcia next month. Tonight we were expecting to see the Andre Berto vs. Victor Ortiz rematch, instead we are getting Josesito Lopez taking on Ortiz. I'm sure that both of these matches will be entertaining. However, they're not what fans were originally wanting. Maybe Antonio Tarver's positive test will be more evidence that there is something that need to be done regarding this issue. Thanks for reading.



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    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 5 years ago from Texas

      Excellent points as always S. Graveson. You are absolutely right that the lower level fights shouldn't require this type of drug testing. I maybe should have pointed out in the article that I was referring to the bigger fights, rather than "all" boxing matches. Great points again. Thanks for your feedback.

    • S.Graveson profile image

      S.Graveson 5 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      In my opinion Olympic style drug testing shouldn't be required in "all boxing matches", in fact no boxer currently under goes such rigorous standards with only Nonito Donaire actually agreeing to under go Olympic Style testing (and that doesn't start until after his up coming fight).

      At the top level (world title level and eliminators or fights with a value over $X Million) drug testing should be mandatory and paid for by the promoter. Not Olympic style testing (which is 24 hours a day everyday, not just the weeks approaching a fight) but the testing that VADA are doing and to their standards, not the standards of the USADA (who have a record of being questionable).

      At the lower level (4 rounders with novices, journeymen and the likes) then drug testing would simply be too costly for everyone to do. On Saturday alone there is something like 37 fights in Britain, that would be 74 fighters needing tests just for the one day in one country. There simply isn't enough money to pay for that many tests so the fights would become even more limited.

      It's great that Donaire is leading the way and other top fighters should follow his lead but what the likes of Berto, Tarver, Olubamiwo and Peterson were caught by wasn't "Olympic style testing". What Floyd wants and has had was much more limited than Olympic style testing.

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 5 years ago from Texas

      Hey there Doc. Thanks a lot for your feedback and support. I'm really starting to think that it should be mandatory. People are tired of seeing these guys get caught cheating :)

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 5 years ago

      Voted up awesome@ well-written hub. Yes, Olympic style Drug testing should be mandatory for all boxers.