By Gabriel Montoya
During a conference call to promote the upcoming fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, in response to a question, gave his opinion on recent wave of positive drug tests that have killed two major rematches in Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz II and Lamont Peterson vs. Amir Khan II.
Both Berto and Peterson requested Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) testing and both men tested positive for different substances. Berto tested positive for ultra-traces of nandrolone, a powerful yet outdated PED. Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone which he claims was due to a testosterone pellet he was injected with by Dr. John A. Thompson of the Desert Oasis Clinic in Las Vegas, NV.
While the Peterson-Khan II fight was called off, costing Golden Boy Promotions an estimated one million dollars, the Ortiz card was saved and will go on as planned, only with Ortiz facing Josesito Lopez.
Arum's company has yet to participate in drug testing beyond the limited parameters of the local commissions. Golden Boy Promotions has now promoted 7 cards with extra testing.
“My position is, is that unless everyone sits down and works this out without rhetoric we will have chaos,” stated Arum. “Personally, I don’t believe Lamont Peterson is a cheater. I don’t think Andre Berto is a cheater. I think that with this sophisticated testing they got caught up in positive tests which doesn’t to me indicate to me the existence of performance enhancing drugs. We have to hear out Lamont Peterson and get his story and we have to hear out Andre Berto and get his story before we jump to conclusions."
“Secondly,” Arum continued. “I don’t believe that anybody would say Peterson had any advantage over Khan or that Berto got any advantage over Victor Ortiz based on the stuff that was found or allegedly found in their urine samples.
Arum is wrong here. While it is true both men deserve to have their cases heard, Peterson was caught with a drug named synthetic testosterone. It is categorically a performance enhancer. It helps with recovery, speed, and strength. In his positive samples, Peterson’s T/E ratio (testosterone to epitestosterone) was found to be 3.77:1. The average is 1:1. Just an opinion, but if Peterson or any boxer’s T/E ratio is nearly four times the limit and the other fighter is 1:1, that’s a distinct performance advantage.
As for Berto, it is true that he had such trace amounts [low] in his system, it is likely he took a supplement that was tainted somehow.
“That being the case, why were those fights called off?” asked Arum? “Why not determine after the fight, if that is what they found, that there performance wouldn’t be enhanced, why not let the fight go on? Maybe fine them for being careless, using certain vitamins that have a trace of steroids. Because you know, if you buy vitamins from the wrong manufacturer who illegally manufactures steroids and some gets on the equipment and gets on the vitamins, it taints the vitamins. That’s not going to enhance performance but it’s enough to come up on a test.”
Arum is correct that nandrolone contamination can occur in that fashion. And perhaps the sport does need to address how to handle positive tests and their results in a fashion quick enough to keep major fights going if no malfeasance on the part of the fighter is determined in time. But boxing is not there yet. Peterson and Berto are the growing pains of a sport that badly needs to be cleaned up.
“So I think that everybody who doesn’t know about this, including myself, should shut the hell up until there is an exploration of what the issues are, what’s happening, and then we can better determine how we can go ahead in the future,” said Arum
In the meantime, while promoters and politicians sit still and wonder about testing, it’s protocols and how to keep from losing money on fighters who test positive for banned substances, everyone should get out of the way and let the drug testers do their work. Just an opinion.