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Peterson vs. Holt: Another Bad Precedent for Boxing?

Lamont Peterson
Lamont Peterson


Ever since Floyd Mayweather Jr. first requested Manny Pacquiao join him in undergoing drug testing (more stringent than state commission protocols) during their respective training camps three years ago, “Let the regulators regulate,” has been the cry of those opposing the independent PED-testing movement. But as 2012 moves into 2013, state athletic commissions continue to show they cannot be depended on solely to deliver drug testing reform to the sport through one poor decision after another.
 
On Friday, the Washington, D.C. commission joined that party. RingTV’s Lem Satterfield reported that a bout between IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson and mandatory challenger Kendall Holt has been agreed to in principle for a February 22 “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights” card to be held at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. However, there is a problem: in his last fight in D.C. on December 10, 2011, Peterson (whose hometown is Washington D.C.) beat Amir Khan for the WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles in a closely contested 12-round fight.

In the lead-up to the rematch, Peterson requested Khan joined him in undergoing training camp testing to be conducted by the cutting edge Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). Khan agreed and the two men gave blood and urine samples at the press conference announcing the bout. Peterson’s first sample was found to have contained synthetic testosterone. He claimed he was given a testosterone pellet by an age clinic doctor in Las Vegas who gave him a cursory examination and injected him with the slow-release testosterone pellet before the first Khan fight.
 
Peterson was scheduled to have a hearing with the Nevada State Commission, where the Khan rematch was to be held, but that never materialized. Instead, Peterson has remained out of the limelight for most of 2012 except for brief discussions about a rematch with Timothy Bradley that was ultimately nixed.
 
Following the positive test and the admission by Peterson that he had synthetic testosterone in his system during the first fight, he was stripped by the WBA, who returned the belt to Khan. The IBF, after receiving a comprehensive medical report from Team Peterson (that included testimony from several noted doctors), decided to let Peterson keep his belt.
 
To date, Peterson has not had his licensing hearing with the Nevada commission. To be clear, should Peterson ever want to fight in Nevada, he will have to face the commission first.
 
As far as the D.C. commission is concerned, the admission that Peterson had a banned substance in his system (that he did not have a therapeutic use exemption for) during a world title fight demands action. While Peterson passed the commission’s drug tests, that fact remains.
 
When Peterson’s testosterone/Epitestosterone levels were measured by VADA during the testing of his positive sample, his T/E ratio was under the legal limit at 3.77:1 (World Anti-Doping Association regulations allow for a 4:1 ratio while Nevada and New York allow 6:1). The synthetic testosterone in Peterson’s system was detected by Carbon Isotope Ratio testing, which is designed to do exactly that.
 
The statement that Peterson passed the commission testing is certainly true. But the VADA result shows the commission is not using the right tests, simply for the fact that Peterson was able to fight with a banned substance in his system and pass them.
 
If the D.C. athletic commission allows this fight to happen without a fine or a suspension of Peterson first, it is sending a message that even with the admission of banned substance use, no punishment will be levied.
 
Some might argue that Peterson lost out on a million-dollar payday, has not fight in almost a year and has had his name ruined by the positive test. That is also true.
 
What is also true is that Amir Khan still has a loss on his record to Peterson. He fought and lost his title to a fighter with a banned substance in his system. Khan was denied a shot at a rematch due to that positive test. Where is his justice?
 
Fight fans and experts often complain about the sanctioning bodies and their many foibles but to date, the WBA is the only governing body to levy a punishment of any kind against Peterson.
 
Last year, the Texas Athletic Commission forgot to drug test an entire fight card that included title fights. The New York commission allowed a fight to go forth with not one, not two but four positive tests beforehand. And now D.C. will allow Peterson vs. Holt.
 
“Let the regulators regulate.” But what if they don’t? What then?
You can email Gabriel at maxgmontoya@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him every Monday on “The Next Round” with Steve Kim. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com, Thursdays at 5-8 p.m., PST.
 
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