By Ryan Maquiñana
Buddy McGirt, who trains Antonio Tarver with Jimmy Williams, commented on the news that his fighter tested positive for drostanolone, an anabolic steroid , following a drug test conducted by the California State Athletic Commission before his June 2 draw with Lateef Kayode.
Tarver has announced that he will appeal the California commission’s ruling. According to CSAC Executive Officer George Dodd, he has been fined $2,500, suspended, and has 30 days to submit written notice if he intends to appeal. The fight result itself will also be changed from a draw to a no-decision in the meantime.
“I still don’t believe it,” McGirt said in a comprehensive interview with Pro Boxing Insider’s Chris Gunzz.
McGirt received the news in New Zealand, as he is currently working with heavyweight Monte Barrett as he prepares to face Shane Cameron.
“I haven’t spoke to Antonio yet because he’s probably getting a zillion and one calls, but I pray that everything comes back negative…You never know with these things,” McGirt said.
The esteemed trainer was unequivocal that Tarver, who won and re-gained the light heavyweight title in his corner, would not be the type of fighter to use performance-enhancing drugs.
“I just think that sometimes—how can I put this here—I think that when these guys come in with, you know, they call themselves strength and conditioning guys, and they give all these type of drinks to take, and all that, my thing is this,” he said. “The greatest fighters in the world didn’t use them. A lot of people using them now. I still don’t believe that Antonio would do nothing like that. I know for a fact he wouldn’t.”
The subject of the interview shifted to Tarver’s legacy, and if questions surrounding his career body of work would come to light because of recent events.
“Nah, not at all, because he’s taking urine tests every fight, so it’s nothing new,” McGirt answered. “I just don’t see him taking steroids. I don’t see it. You look at his body. It doesn’t look like it. It’s not like he’s cut up and putting on the massive weight, and running through people like some people would expect if a guy’s on steroids, you know what I mean, so I just don’t see it.”
McGirt, a former welterweight champion in his own right, then talked about Antonio’s integrity, while offering a possible explanation for what could have transpired.
“It’s not in his character to do something like that,” McGirt said. “It’s not him. I think that the matter will be cleared. I think maybe took something he didn’t know. But to say that he outright knew, I can’t believe that.”
McGirt then talked about whether fighters should make the Hall of Fame or if asterisks should be affixed to inducted fighters’ names in the event they were found guilty of using PEDs.
“If you admit that you took it, and you admit you knew you was cheating, then that’s a whole different ballgame,” McGirt said. “Then you have to question yourself as a man.”
The celebrated cornerman then offered his take on the potential costs of more stringent drug testing.
“You know what I think they should do is the bigger the fight, the stricter the test, because they got the money to pay for it,” McGirt said.
To conclude the interview, McGirt insisted his fighter was innocent.
“Antonio’s going to clear his name. I know he is,” he said.
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.