By Lem Satterfield
As the former BALCO founder, Victor Conte made a career out of beating international drug testing systems worldwide.
And in a recent conversation, the man who ran the controversial sports nutrition center in Burlingame, Calif., claimed that boxers can still do it against even the most sophisticated procedures that the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency, let alone those that boxing's commissions can come up with.
The scheme is called "Blood-doping," a method by which steroid or performance-enhanced blood is removed from an athlete's body, and then, later, re-infused in order to boost the competitor's oxygen, and, strength capacity, according to Conte.
The practice has been used in Olympic competition as well as others, Conte said.
"For example, Tour De France cyclists. They test the blood, and if it comes back higher than 50 percent on the side of the red blood cells, they don't ban them, but they suspend them for two weeks for what they call 'Health concerns,'" said Conte to BoxingScene.com.
"So you don't want your baseline hermaticrit to be over 50 percent. They like to target it and keep it at 49 percent. Increasing it from 44-to-49 percent, however, will certainly increase your performance."
By using this method, said Conte, the actual drugs, themselves, can't be detected, although the rise in the percentage of the red blood cell increase can.
"They can detect the percentage, exactly. If you're re-infusing the blood, and that percentage starts to drop down, you know, as you're preparing and training for the fight, then you can just re-infuse some of their previously withdrawn red blood cells by intravenous injection," said Conte.
"They can re-infuse that and they can keep it at a steady level of 49 percent all the way up to the fight. So now, that's all undetectable by USADA."
What about in the case of a boxer?
"If somebody were advising them, they could use EPO throughout for two weeks, if someone were advising them on how to do it, just like the cyclists do, and they could have previously extracted some of these red blood cells and put them in the refrigerator," said Conte.
"So then, five weeks out from the fight, coming in, they can't use EPO, because they're being randomly tested and that might be discovered even though the EPO only stays within your system for a day," said Conte. "But you can re-infuse your own red blood cells. And if you are shown how to re-infuse your red blood cells, they can't detect that."
Lem Satterfield is the boxing editor for AOL FanHouse and the news editor for BoxingScene.com.