On a conference call this week, when asked about being a champion (despite being throttled in three rounds by Lucas Matthysse in his last bout), Peterson, 31-2-1 (16), said, “At the end of the day, the belts mean nothing. It means a lot to ya’ll but it means nothing to me. So whether you look at me as a champion or not, it doesn’t make a difference.” He also told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, “There are a thousand belts out there,” later adding, “At this point, in my opinion, Danny Garcia is the champion in the [junior welterweight] weight class.”
Peterson’s quiet, confident demeanor is as refreshing as hearing a fighter candidly admit his sanctioning body trinket means little. However, there remains that one little, pesky issue left out during the conference call - and out of Iole’s article - synthetic testosterone.
After beating Amir Khan for the biggest win of his career and getting in line for the Holy Grail of professional boxing, the million-dollar purse, Lamont Peterson got busted. After agreeing to stringent VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) drug testing, Peterson was found to have synthetic testosterone coursing through his system. It was also revealed he was using synthetic testosterone before his razor-thin victory over Khan in December 2011.
After his positive test before his scheduled rematch with Khan, there was much debate over when and how Peterson tested positive. But one thing was not debated - and admitted by Peterson, his doctor and his trainer, Barry Hunter - Peterson was indeed injected with soy-based synthetic testosterone.
At the time, Peterson’s Las Vegas doctor, John A. Thompson told Maxboxing’s Gabe Montoya that Peterson’s testosterone levels “were the levels of a 70-to-80-year-old man,” adding, “I have never seen a 26, 27-year-old male with free testosterone that low.”
What’s important leading up to tonight’s defense against Dierry Jean, 25-0 (17), is what boxing writers are not asking. If Peterson was in need of treatment in 2011 for low testosterone levels, what has changed? Did the condition causing his low testosterone just go away? Why isn’t VADA testing being used for this fight?
On Thursday night, Peterson’s publicist, Andre Johnson replied, “No comment,” to these questions and said any questions about drug testing should be directed to the Washington D.C. boxing commission.
According to Peterson’s promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, there will be no additional drug screening beyond that of the D.C. boxing commission’s normal procedure, which does not include Carbon Isotope Ratio testing. This particular test identified the synthetic testosterone in the first place, forcing the cancelation of the Khan rematch. The test only determines that the Testosterone-to-Epitestosterone (T/E) ratio is within four times the normal level and when artificial testosterone was detected in Peterson’s system, his ratio was 3.77-to-one.
The real shame is not whether Lamont Peterson - or Dierry Jean for that matter - is artificially boosting his testosterone level to just under the 4:1 T/E level (let’s be honest; one would have to be naïve to believe Peterson is the exception in boosting his level to 3.5-plus-to-one). The real shame is that so-called boxing “journalists” refuse to question how or why.
But boxing “journalists” are not very good at asking questions much harder than how a fighter feels about his training camp.
How about the question of whether a fight like Peterson vs. Jean belongs as a main event on “Showtime Championship Boxing.” Is this what boxing fans are paying for with Showtime (in my case, $15.99 a month)? When the fighter with the belt doesn’t even consider himself the champion of a division, why does Showtime?
It’s simple; Showtime Boxing is not an independent media outlet competing for the best fights for its subscribers. No, Showtime Boxing is wholly controlled by the triumvirate of Golden Boy Promotions, Al Haymon and Floyd Mayweather Jr. If those three want Showtime to pay for a fight, Showtime pays. If someone can actually justify why we are seeing Showtime cards featuring this fight now as well as mismatches like Mickey Bey vs. Carlos Cardenas and Christopher Pearson vs. Acacio Joao Ferreira on the same card last December, please enlighten me.
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