Boxing broadcasters must insist on drug testing for all TV title fights
It’s been a dramatic and damaging few weeks for the sport of boxing we all love. Therefore, writing on this subject is sure to hit a nerve with many of those who are severely passionate about the ongoing situation.
Shameful and crazy to admit it, but performance enhancing drugs are a scourge in boxing.
Several black-eyes have been inflicted in 2019. A year in which it’s hoped the proverbial 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.
Things initially escalated when the biggest name in the game, Canelo Alvarez, was suspended in 2018 for sixth months. The star insisited contaminated meat was to blame.
Proven that 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.
Should the situation continue as is, someone, anyone has to finally take a solid stance on those adverse findings.
Drug testing procedures are all good when being implicated, like the World Boxing Council’s Clean Boxing Program, but the number of times a ranked boxer is tested never really makes that much difference in the grand scheme of things.
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 further involved.
They already give promoters millions of dollars/pounds for each event to feature in front of their respective cameras.
Due to the money involved, insisting on a couple of hundred thousand from the budget for use on testing would never really make too much difference.
Alternatively, and if the promoters are unwilling, shave a percentage from those bigger fight purses (contractually). 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 would not be able to make it as far as high-profile TV events.
This would be an ample starting point and potentially solve a lot of problems, initially.
Easy to ratify and carry out, VADA Testing or WADA would be more than willing to take on the responsibility.
TAKING A STAND
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 top broadcast deal has three to four title match-ups, meaning implementation 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, it’s the fans who must insist on it.
If promoters won’t do their part and sanctioning bodies are unwilling to pay the costs, the burden should fall on those who choose to place boxing in front of a wider audience for their own ratings.
Maybe call it a duty of care to the viewer, payer or subscriber. A move to make sure it’s one hundred percent known a fighter is competing without enhancements.
Without any huge costs to incur, it’s really unfathomable that not one TV broadcaster is willing to put their foot down.
Much is at stake. Let’s hope someone finally does soon.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay