By Mike Cassell
PHILADELPHIA - On January 19th 2013, cruiserweight fighter Anthony Ferrante went into Madison Square Garden on 20 days’ notice and knocked out previously undefeated Isa Akberbayev of Russia on the HBO undercard of Gabriel Rosado and Gennady Golovkin. Akerbayev is managed by the same people who oversee the career of Gennady Golovkin and promoted by powerhouse promoter K2 in Europe. Ferrante had no manager, no promoter, and only a punchers chance against the bigger and seemingly better Russian fighter. Ferrante fought hard and in round 10, Ferrante landed a right cross sending the undefeated Russian to the canvas in a dazzling KO. Right away Ferrante knew something was wrong when the referee announced it was a TKO instead of KO. Akerbayev was totally out, and there was no count. As Ferrante sits in his living room in NE Philly, he recounts the night.
CLICK HERE TO SEE AMAZING KO www.youtube.com/watch?v=anRouXXs1jQ
“Nobody expected me to win but me and my team. We worked hard and did it fair and square. This sport, boxing is a dirty sport. It’s hard to love it as much as I do when there are so many inept and corrupt people in it”
Nearly 24 days after the fight Ferrante received a letter from the New York state boxing commission claiming he failed the pre-fight drug test. Ferrante was dumbfounded by the letter and even more confused why it took nearly a month to find out.
“At first, I am like really?? Nearly a month after the fight and now I’m dirty? I fought 2 times in 2012 with clean tests, and now I have these powerful anabolic steroids in my blood? Are these F***ing guys kidding me?”
Ferrante immediately picked up the phone and called the Lawyer for the state of New York. The lawyer explained that he is on suspension for a failed test. Ferrante who lives at home and works construction for a living does not have a powerful promotional company or manager he could call. He demanded proof of the test and asked why nobody contacted him sooner? The lawyer explained that if he took another test and was clean, his suspension would be lifted.
“So I went to an independent test lab, paid out of my own pocket and surprise surprise I came up 100% negative. Nothing in my blood. And the stuff they said was in my blood stays in your system for 18 to 24 months according to the lab I went to. So if I fought 2 times in 2012 and I tested 100% clean now, how can I possibly have tested positive on January 19th. The New York State boxing commission made a big mistake here and they wouldn’t admit it.”
Ferrante knew he was in for a fight so he got a lawyer through a friend who tried to help him out. Ferrante went to hearing in April with passing drug test in hand and pleaded his case. There was only one big problem. The arbitrator hearing the case was being paid by the same people who paid the lawyer for the New York State boxing commission. Ferrante became visibly angry as he spoke of the hearing.
“We made the witness for the state of New York look ridiculous. We proved every point. It was a sham. My lawyer just ripped them to shreds. I thought in my mind this is a slam dunk. I was so happy to be vindicated”
But Ferrante had to wait nearly 3 months for a decision, during that time he could not fight. When the decision finally came down, the arbitrator incredibly ruled that the fight would be a no contest and he would lose the title. Ferrante would have to pay back the purse of 7708 dollars and he would be suspended internationally for a full year.
“I was offered fights and I lost money. It sucked because I did nothing wrong, I passed a complete battery of tests. I could not believe this was happening to me. I have been fighting for years and I have NEVER failed a test. I just didn’t do anything wrong. This isn’t fair. “
Ferrante was in a bad position. Even if he wanted to appeal the ruling, he would have to prove Arbitrary and Capricious. That means doing something according to one’s will or caprice and therefore conveying a notion of a tendency to abuse the possession of power. In other words, he would somehow have to prove that two people being paid by the same system made their decision based on personal feelings, not the law.
In U.S this is one of the basic standards for review of appeals. Under the "arbitrary and capricious" standard, the finding of a lower court will not be disturbed unless it has no reasonable basis. When a judge makes a decision without reasonable grounds or adequate consideration of the circumstances, it is said to be arbitrary and capricious and can be invalidated by an appellate court on that ground. Doing this would have kept Ferrante out of the ring for nearly 3 years. Essentially his career would be over.
New York State came to an agreement with Ferrante in which He would be able to fight anywhere in the world except New York, for which he would have to wait a year.
Secondly in his signed statement Ferrante does not have to concede guilt to ever taking anything illegal.
“If they wanted me to lie, to say I did. I would retire right now. I would never cheat. I am a fighter. I am the real deal. I don’t need drugs, I have talent and now all bets are off. I am going to win a world title and when I do have powerful people around me, I’m going to make a statement to the New York State boxing commission. Trust me; I will never forget how they railroaded me.”