By Jake Donovan
Next weekend’s upcoming welterweight bout between Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana caught some unexpected attention on Tuesday when news was leaked of the demand from Maidana’s camp for random drug testing to take place.
The 10-round non-title bout headlines an HBO doubleheader (February 25, 10PM ET/PT) from the Scottrade Center in Alexander’s hometown of St. Louis. The evening’s co-feature is a matchup of unbeaten 130 lb. fighters, as newly crowned alphabet titlist Adrien Broner makes his first defense against rising contender Eloy Perez.
Tim Lueckenhoff, who heads the Missouri State Athletic Commission as well as the Association of Boxing Commissions, was contacted by Golden Boy Promotions on behalf of Maidana’s manager, Sebastian Contursi on Monday via e-mail. In the note, Contursi sought written confirmation that both camps will be tested for illegal substances both before and after next weekend’s fight in St. Louis.
It appears that drug testing policies in Missouri is not the only subject on which Maidana and has team has failed to keep abreast. Discussion has also taken place of their disappointment after being informed that their bout – which airs live on HBO next Saturday – will be a non-title fight scheduled for only ten rounds.
Such news was actually revealed with the official press release from Golden Boy Promotions’ office in January announcing the fight, and once again at last month’s press conference in St. Louis.
One month later – and more specifically, just 12 days before the fight – Maidana’s team has found another issue on which to debate, one that should have been addressed when terms of the bout were still being negotiated.
It stands to reason that there exists an ulterior motive behind the late request. His camp has recently stated after-the-fact in the press that the inquiry was simply placed for assurance that standard drug testing would be in place.
While Contursi’s most recent claim might be sincere, it’s a bit of backtracking from the specific language used in the back and forth between Maidana’s camp and the Missouri State Athletic Commission. The claim made in the midst of requesting random drug testing was the apparent existing “heavy rumors out there of possible use of PED’s.”
Also referenced in the concern was the lack of testing in the previous HBO boxing telecast, in which Julio Cesar Chavez scored a unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Rubio. An uproar came about from Rubio’s camp after waiting around for a post-fight drug test that was “accidentally” never scheduled by the Texas Boxing Commission.
Maidana’s camp claims to hope to avoid history repeating itself, and also citing Missouri Commission Rule 20 CSR 2040-4.090, rule 11, which specifies drug testing policies for sanctioned fights in the state of Missouri.
Contursi has since softened his stance, perhaps not so coincidental that it followed Lueckenhoff’s demanding all information regarding the alleged rumors –both the source and the content - be presented to his office. Also worth noting was the immediate response from Alexander’s team that they are willing to take any tests at any time.
All of the drama could have been avoided had a direct phone call to Lueckenhoff – perhaps the most accessible high-ranking figure in the industry – had been placed. One was made by Boxingscene.com last week regarding a forthcoming story on the need for random drug testing to be the standard in major fights in the United States and not the negotiated exception.
Upon picking up on the first ring, the ABC President and Missouri Athletic Executive Director was more than happy to share such policies, all of which he had immediately on hand.
“We have the authority for random drug testing,” informed Lueckenhoff. “We’ll test the TV fighters and then randomly select one or two other bouts from the untelevised undercard for a TV show. When we have TV fights or any title fights, it is our policy to have random drug testing.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com .