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Andre Berto, Mickey Bey, Canada and Conflicts of Interest


July has been an interesting month for anti-doping in boxing. On Friday night, lightweight prospect Mickey Bey returned to the ring against John Molina, Jr. I would write that Bey returned from a suspension for testing positive with one of the highest testosterone to epitestosterone (T/E) ratio in Nevada Athletic Commission history but that would not be true. Bey was suspended in March for his 30:1 T/E ratio following his February 2, 2013 third knockout of Robert Rodriguez. The legal limit in Nevada is 6:1, 50% greater than World Anti-Doping Agency code allowed.


It wouldn’t be true because Bey, for knocking out an opponent in three rounds while having enough synthetic testosterone in his system to jack his T/E up to 30 times greater than normal, was only suspended three months, fined $1,000 of his $8,000 purse and the fight was ruled a no-contest. The suspension was enforced by a 3-2 vote.


Had Bey not suffered a hand injury two weeks out from his fight with Jose Hernandez, Bey would have fought on the May 4, 2013 undercard of Floyd Mayweather, Jr vs. Robert Guerrero. Essentially, Nevada “suspended” Bey from competing in a boxing match during training camp for a fight on what was the biggest card of the year up to that point.

Bey recovered from his injury and instead took another fight in Nevada. This one was not on a PPV but it was the main event on Showtime’s Shobox: The New Generation series. Had Bey won, (Molina stopped him in the tenth round in dramatic fashion. Bey was winning handily on all cards), he would most likely be a featured fighter competing in a bout with title implications on either the September 14 Mayweather card or a surrounding date.


This Saturday on Showtime, former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto will return to main event status for the second fight in a row following his positive test for nandrolone metabolites leading up to his rematch with Victor Ortiz. Berto was never suspended by the California commission. Instead, a private meeting was held where Berto was given a free pass and license to fight Robert Guerrero in California soon after for the interim WBC welterweight title.


In both cases, outrage in the media was non-existent. No one demanded a suspension for Berto. If they did, I didn’t see it. No one has demanded that both men undergo strict testing performed year round. Bey has intimated in the press that he wishes to prove his cleanliness but thus that has not happened.


His promoter, Floyd Mayweather, Jr, who has said in the media his stable of fighters will be undergoing USADA testing year round. If that has happened, no one has told me and I’ve seen no reported evidence of it. It should see easy to set up considering that 365/24/7 is USADA’s normal protocol when handling amateur athletes and Mayweather’s ongoing relationship with USADA. But to date, I’ve not been informed by reporting or otherwise that such a program has begun.


Last week, it was revealed here: that I was a consultant of sorts on anti-doping tests that both Canadian promoters, GYM and Interbox, jointly agreed to for the Lucien Bute vs Jean Pascal fight. This is true. I was asked what my dream protocol would be. I answered. No, I’m not telling you what it is. Yes, I am satisfied that once I did this, the proper steps were taken by qualified scientists and anti-doping administrators whose job it is to handle such things. I did not take money for answering the query. I did not solicit my services to them or anyone regarding anti-doping. I was asked for help and like anyone who truly cares not only about boxing but the health and safety of the combatants, I responded by helping in the way I could.


GYM-Interbox used the testing they jointly agreed to for the June 8, 2013 fight between Adonis Stevenson and Chad Dawson. I wrote about it here:


As far as I knew in the first place, the testing I was asked about was for Bute-Pascal. The night I wrote about Dawson-Stevenson testing is the night I found it happened, hence the short brief.


Why didn’t I reveal this sooner? For one, Bute was injured May 8. The fight was scheduled for May 25. My involvement was to be announced with that fight. When Bute got injured, the fight was pushed back to either December or January of next year. As I said, a non-disclosure went into place, taking me out of the information loop per peril of people’s jobs but more importantly, the testing itself. I wish I could have said something sooner but I did not want to jeopardize the testing and this, the health and safety of either combatant.


There are some who feel this was a conflict of interest. I disagree. A conflict would be me taking the money, agreeing to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and then acting as if I was reporting as normal. That didn’t happen. While GYM-Interbox signed non-disclosures with their testing agency, no one ever asked me to. I wouldn’t have if they did.


Another conflict scenario would see me soliciting GYM-Interbox and shooting down particular testing agencies in favor of “my protocol.” That didn’t happen.


I wasn’t hired as a consultant only to stop writing about the very subject I have been reporting on for three years and counting. I wasn’t “hired” at all.


Last year, the same people criticizing me now intimated I had some sort of improper relationship with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association because I have covered them extensively and continually point out their excellent track record in the sport and the excellent history of boxing service by its president and vice-president Dr. Margaret Goodman and Dr. Flip Homansky. Despite Canada, I still believe they are the best testing organization available. It seems to me that if I was an employee of theirs, and they were in the running for the Bute-Pascal testing, wouldn’t my throwing out my own protocol be yet another conflict of interest? And if it was some kind of end around for VADA, why did I do it for free then?


Incidentally, VADA just hired the esteemed Dr. Don Catlin, former head of the UCLA Olympic testing Lab and co-creator of carbon Isotope Ratio testing as their science director. I wasn’t in the running for the job.


In other words, the scenarios make no sense.


Chasing me because I answered questions about anti-doping, the problem drugs, and the tests and policies used to catch dopers seems to me a conflict of interest if you care at all about boxing. What I did was try to help the sport get cleaner.


While we can’t say “mission accomplished” just yet, Canada’s two biggest promoters just accomplished what Top Rank and Golden Boy, their mirror images in America, could not: they agreed on testing and have jointly implemented it in their country to insure cleanliness in their athletes. The boxing media and everyone involved in the sport should be praising them instead of attacking me.


It’s easy to attack me rather than the actual issues at hand. I’m short, don’t have a degree in science or journalism and don’t care about making friends as much as I do pointing out the inadequacies of boxing’s anti-doping regulations. Media attacking me lose no access to fights. They don’t miss out on interviews or get sent legal threats from promoters. Attacking me means you don’t have to research in order to print libelous accusations, especially if you live in another country. Attacking me is the easiest way to look like you’re doing something without actually doing a damn thing to help the sport.


Here is a list of what’s hard to do in boxing:


Ask California’s executive director what happened with the Berto case. If he doesn’t tell you, find out.


Ask Stephen Espinoza of Showtime Sports why he has no problem putting Bey and Berto on the air despite their histories. And don’t just smile and nod after the hard question is over. Go further.

Ask J’Leon Love, another Mayweather Boxing Club member and Al Haymon client, (Berto is, too) alum who tested positive this year where he got the drug he tested positive for and how was he so certain this would work. Then track down the guy who gave him the drug and start asking him questions. It might get you banned from covering Golden Boy/Mayweather/Haymon fighters. Don’t care.  


Ask Keith Kizer why the T/E ratio is 50% greater than WADA code. And when he says “We are afraid of false positives,” demand to see evidence of false positive T/E ratio cases over the 4:1 limit. When he says he knows that no one has tested over 4:1 but below 6:1 in his state, ask him how he is privy to private medical information of fighters NOT testing positive. To my knowledge, if you test negative, your T/E is not listed. Ask for the data. See if his reaction is to vilify in the press without saying your name, breaking your off record confidence and then not taking your calls.


Ask Floyd Mayweather, Jr why his gym has so many positive tests.


Ask Floyd Mayweather, Jr if the rumor spread by Golden Boy’s legal threat to this writer that he tested positive three times is true. If he says no, tell him to prove it. And then ask him if it that rumor has anything to do with him settling his case with Manny Pacquiao.


Ask Floyd Mayweather, Jr how he feels about Yuri Gamboa, who trained at his gym with his father, being connected to the Biogenesis clinic. Then ask him if he ever visited the clinic or if he knows Anthony Bosch.


Ask any Ring reporter if they feel a conflict of interest every time they cash a Ring magazine check. Ring, after all, is owned by Golden Boy Promotions.


Ask Ring writer Lem Satterfield who hired him at the Ring. Then ask the person who hired him if that is true. Ask both if they feel that is a conflict of interest. See if your access is denied or you ever work for that publication.


Ask Rochard Schaefer if he has any direct control over his publications “Pound for Pound” list. When he says “No,” ask him “How did Adrien Broner open at number five on it” then.


Ask the Quebec commission why they didn’t want to be involved in upgrading their testing.


Ask Texas why they only test for recreational drugs.


Ask Tim Bradley, Jr if he thinks Bob Arum ignoring his contractual request for VADA/USADA testing in his October fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and thus holding up testing, (at last count it’s 13 days passed when testing was supposed to start) if that’s a “perfect solution.”


Ask Angel “Memo” Heredia why he stated to the media in November of last year that his fighters would be mandated to test under USADA year round starting after Marquez-Pacquiao Four, why that hasn’t happened. And why is it the Marquez and the Jean Pascal camps, (Heredia works for both), rejected VADA testing, thus delaying any testing happening at all.


Most importantly, ask yourselves:


“When I ignore all of these questions and instead smile in fighters’ and promoters’ faces, is that a conflict of interest with my mission as a reporter of the news?”


Readers, if you feel I have betrayed you for keeping my involvement in the GYM-Interbox Testing Protocol, I am sorry. I never meant to deceive you in a way that would sully the sport. I don’t have a degree in journalism or science. I am a boxing writer who became this because I love the sport and its combatants. I was taught to leave any place I walked through better than I found it. That was intention and will remain so as long I live.


Perhaps I have crossed over with this action from writer to activist. But it’s been 13 years since the Ali Act and not much has changed. Perhaps if reporters did their jobs and asked questions without regard for access consequences, we wouldn’t need activists. We’d have an army of them already in place called “The boxing media.”


I’m not saying I am above questioning. Mr. Brookhouse did an excellent job of that. I’m glad someone who does their job correctly did. I’m saying, if you are going to question my actions and leave everything I mentioned unchecked, you have no legs to stand on.


By the way, I have Berto by decision in a very tough fight. If it goes past six, Jesus Soto-Karass has a very good chance to win. The fight is on Showtime on Saturday, July 27th live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Check your local listings.

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