It’s been a dramatic and damaging few weeks for the sport. Writing on this subject is sure to hit a nerve with many who are passionate about the ongoing situation.
Shameful and crazy to admit it, but performance enhancing drugs are rife in boxing and everybody knows it.
Several blackeyes have been inflicted in 2019. A year in which it’s hoped the s*** finally hits the fan.
From Jarrell Miller’s admittance of taking more than one steroid to the farcical Dillian Whyte saga, boxing has been reeled by several high-profile instances this year.
It all came on the back of the biggest name in the game, Canelo Alvarez being suspended in 2018 for sixth months for what he insisted was contaminated meat.
Proven that the mud-slinging and doubts are never far from the very top operators, the likes of Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Manny Pacquiao and even Floyd Mayweather have been accused of wrongdoing in the past.
What do we need now? – Someone, anyone has to finally take a solid stance on adverse findings.
Drug testing procedures are all good and well being implicated, like the World Boxing Council’s Clean Boxing Program. But the amount of times a ranked boxer is tested never really makes that much difference.
Some PED’s take just three days to leave the system. This requires around the clock monitoring.
So what can be done? – Well, firstly TV networks and streaming broadcasters could and should get involved.
They already give promoters millions of dollars/pounds for each event to hit their respective cameras. Insisting on a couple of hundred thousand from the budget for use on testing the major bouts on a bill wouldn’t really make much difference.
Alternatively, and if the promoters are unwilling, shave a percentage from those bigger fight purses (in the contract). Use this money for 24/7 testing during respective camps.
Any fighter who appears on TV in a bonafide title fight or major main event would then be certified clean by the network or broadcaster involved.
Fans and promoters could rest easy due to the knowledge of a fair contest. Those who then chose to cheat will then never be able to make it to a high-profile TV event.
This would be ample punishment for starters and solve a lot of problems initially. Easy to ratify and carry out, VADA Testing would be a surefire bet to take on the responsibility.
It would be a simple message of, ‘cheat and you don’t get airtime’ to anyone even thinking of looking for an advantage.
The average bill with a broadcast deal has three to four title match-ups. In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Even limiting 24/7 testing to only the main event, with sparing procedures for the lesser title bouts would do for starters.
At the end of the day, somebody somewhere has to take a stand. If promoters won’t do it and sanctioning bodies are unwilling to pay the costs, the burden should fall on those who choose to put boxers in front of a wider audience.
It should be a duty of care to the viewer, payer or subscriber to make sure it’s one hundred percent known a fighter is competing without enhancements.
Without any major costs to incur, it’s really unfathomable that not one TV broadcaster is yet to put their foot down.
Let’s hope someone does soon.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay