By Dennis Guillermo
It's been half a year since BALCO founder Victor Conte broke the story to this scribe regarding a new player in the anti-doping world that's going to come in and try to make effective and comprehensive random-style drug testing a more affordable part of boxing.
Looks like the day has finally come, as the newly-founded VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency) was approved by fighters Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto to conduct testing for their scheduled Feb. 11, 2012 rematch in Las Vegas.
Conte sent this scribe a statement recently on his thoughts about VADA:
"Because of difficult lessons I've learned from personal consequences, I’ve been a strong sports anti-doping advocate for more than 5 years now. I did an interview with Dr. Margaret Goodman about 18 months ago regarding the rampant use of drugs in combat sports. This is when we first discussed the idea of a voluntary anti-doping program such as VADA.
"I’ve been an enthusiastic and vocal supporter of this groundbreaking concept from the beginning. I do my best to educate athletes, trainers an all others involved in sport regarding the disastrous consequences that can result from the use performance enhancing drugs.
"I like that VADA is an athlete driven program based upon voluntary participation. I will continue to encourage, support and endorse the VADA program and all athletes participating in sport without the use of drugs."
I also asked Conte's thoughts on why he thinks boxing king Manny Pacquiao had been complaining about cramps in his previous fights against Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito.
Conte suggested that as hard as Pacquiao trains, he may be suffering from a depletion in certain minerals in his body that have not been replenished properly. Pacquiao has been with the same strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza for all those fights, and have been receiving dietary supplementation from him as well.
In the video of my interview with Conte attached in this page, Conte said:
"It's about having a proper balance of all these nutrients and making sure you consume those in the right ratios, and that you monitor and test them to make sure you are balanced."
"Typically it's going to be one or two elements. If you're really sweating excessively, you could be dehydrated, then it could be sodium. But if you're not, if you're well hydrated, most likely it's magnesium." (Click here to watch and listen to the full interview)
Conte emphasized the need of a more stringent blood testing in boxing, especially since it's a sport where people train and aim to knock each other's heads off and since illegal performance enhancing drugs do exist and are extremely effective.
Boxing's current state boxing commission relegated drug testings are inadequate, according to Conte, to truly detect most of the new advanced methods athletes are known to do these days for them to gain an unfair edge.