By Jake Donovan
Controversy continues to swirl regarding the drug testing procedures allegedly in place for the August 16 showdown between unbeaten welterweights Shawn Porter and Kell Brook. Both sides are now on record admitting that they’ve yet to be tested by anyone from USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), the organization often used by Golden Boy Promotions and whom was supposed to be in charge of testing for this event.
“The drug testing (talks) was handled through (Golden Boy VP and Matchmaker) Eric Gomez and Al Haymon (Porter’s adviser),” Golden Boy President Oscar de la Hoya insisted during Monday’s media conference call. “There is drug testing in place. It should have already started. It is with USADA. I don’t know why it hasn’t started yet.”
The suspect circumstances first arose earlier in the month, when former two-division champ Paul Malignaggi went on record with BBC Radio 5 claiming a conversation he had with Porter’s father and trainer, Kenny Porter indicated that testing was not in place for the fight.
Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter insisted that both fighters signed up for random drug testing, although there was never any indication that either fighter had yet been tested. Brook went on record with the media in the United Kingdom last week stating that he’d yet to be visited by a USADA representative.
The same holds true for Porter, who admitted–or at least claimed–that he wasn’t fully aware of the details surrounding random testing for the fight, which headlines on SHOWTIME from the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“Eric Gomez hasn’t contacted us yet,” Porter admitted when questioned by ESPN.com senior writer Dan Rafael, following de la Hoya’s claim that Gomez and Haymon had worked out the details. “I guess we’ll wait and see. I just know that we’re supposed to be tested.”
Golden Boy has regularly used USADA for random drug testing prior to its major bouts ever since Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced in 2010 that he would require all future opponents to be tested beyond any local commission’s standards. The claim first surfaced in what became failed negotiations to secure a megafight with Manny Pacquiao, whose team initially balked at Mayweather’s demands.
Mayweather went on to face and beat Shane Mosley, with USADA extensively testing both fighters prior to and after the fight. Since then, Mayweather has used the organization for all of his fights, including his upcoming September 13 rematch with Marcos Maidana.
This is not the first time that miscommunication has been involved in an event in which USADA was supposed to be involved. Adrien Broner and Antonio DeMarco were both on board for random drug testing prior to their Nov. ’12 lightweight title fight, but were left puzzled when neither were contacted. Broner went on to batter and stop DeMarco to win the lightweight crown, his second of three major titles won in as many weight classes.
Drug testing for a June ’12 showdown between Peter Quillin and Winky Wright was in place but then abruptly canceled prior to their fight, in which Quillin won a landslide decision.
When grilled for answers on why details were lacking, de la Hoya – who has bragged on assuming full control of Golden Boy Promotions in the wake of former CEO Richard Schaefer’s resignation in June – turned politician and offered an open-ended response.
Porter (24-0-1, 15KOs) makes the second defense of the welterweight title he claimed in a decisive points win over Devon Alexander last December. His lone defense to date came in a one-sided four-round drubbing of Malignaggi this past April, prompting the former champ to question his newfound strength; the win was Porter’s first stoppage in two years, almost to the day. Five straight distance fights have followed, coinciding with his step up in competition.
Brook (32-0, 22KOs) fights in his first major title fight. The unbeaten British welterweight saw three separate shots at a title fight with Alexander fall through, due to injuries suffered by both fighters. Desperate to avoid inactivity, the 28-year old took a stay-busy fight in March, stopping overmatched Alvaro Robles in eight rounds this past March for his 4th straight stoppage win.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox