by David P. Greisman
Erik Morales has officially been charged with anti-doping violations by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for allegedly testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol prior to his October 2012 rematch with Danny Garcia, according to a copy of the correspondence sent to Morales by the agency and obtained by BoxingScene.com.
A USADA review board concluded that two samples taken from Morales — one on Oct. 3, another on Oct. 10 — provided “sufficient evidence of an anti-doping rule violation,” reads the letter, which is dated Feb. 8.
“You have agreed to abide by the Code and the Protocol, and that any positive test result(s) from a Sample provided by you would be managed pursuant to the Protocol, which has previously been provided to you,” the letter reads.
It then describes the sanctions Morales would be subject to for his first anti-doping rule violation:
“Up to a two (2) year period of ineligibility, as described by Article 10.2 of the Code, beginning on the day you accept a sanction, fail to request a hearing or fail to respond, or the date of the hearing decision in this matter, from participation in any activity or competition organized by or under the auspices of any signatory to the Code or any member of any signatory, including ineligibility from participating or coaching in Olympic, Pan American Games or Paralympic Games Trials, or being a member of any Olympic, Pan American Games or Paralympic Team; and,
“Disqualification of the competitive results obtained subsequent to October 3, 2012, the date your urine Sample #1546299 was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes consistent with Article 10.1 of the Code.
“Furthermore, if it is determined that you are subject to the application of aggravating circumstances as described in Article 10.6 of the Code, your potential period of ineligibility may be increased up to a four (4) year period of ineligibility.”
Morales announced his coming retirement — following perhaps one farewell bout in his native Mexico — after being knocked out by Garcia in October. While USADA’s ban wouldn’t necessarily need to be respected by athletic commissions in the United States, it could potentially pose a tremendous obstacle for him to be licensed to fight in some states.
Morales has until Feb. 18 to let USADA know whether he is accepting or contesting its sanctions. If he does not choose to contest the sanctions, and if he does not request a five-day extension in order to make his decision, then the sanctions against him would begin that day.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]