By Jake Donovan
You’d be hard pressed to find a happier soul on the planet than Dr. Margaret Goodman on the day that Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios were on board to allow the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) to conduct random drug testing throughout training for their upcoming November 24 showdown in Macau.
“VADA is of course thrilled to have Mr. Pacquiao and Mr. Rios support clean sport through their involvement in PED testing,” Dr. Goodman said back in May when both fighters enrolled in the program.
Just short of a month away from the fight, the founder of VADA is fuming mad over false allegations made by strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
A former member of Pacquiao’s team, Ariza is now working with Rios to prepare the California-based brawler for next month’s super fight. He managed to find enough time to speak to Boxingscene.com’s own Edward Chaykovsky, claiming “VADA just confirmed they have yet to test Manny Pacquiao and have NO plans to test him until (arriving in) China.”
In the same article, Ariza claims to not be suspicious of his former client, but insists that Rios is being held to a higher standard in regards to current testing. An excuse was erroneously afforded by Mr. Chaykovsky that location could be an issue (Pacquiao is currently training in the Philippines).
Dr. Goodman was more than happy to clear the air on the subject, even while understandably troubled over unsubstantiated claims made against her organization.
“VADA is easily able to test athletes internationally,” Goodman confirmed. “We readily tested Mr. Khan in the Philippines when he was training at the same camp as Mr. Pacquiao. So, from a logistic standpoint, there isn’t an issue.”
Where there is an issue, is with her organization being dragged through the mud without facts to support such claims.
"That is a blatantly false and unsubstantiated story. Pacquiao and Rios have been tested by VADA, and any further information should be obtained from the fighters' respective camps, Top Rank, and the commission in Macau, China.”
The bout with Rios marks the first time that Pacquiao has agreed to unconditional random drug testing for any prize fight. Rios’ involvement in the program puts him deeper in company with training and managerial stable mate Nonito Donaire, who was the first fighter to enroll in VADA’s program on a year-round basis, regardless of whether or not he had a fight scheduled.
“Any athlete willing to participate in an unannounced random PED testing program will greatly improve safety for the participants and set an example for others,” Dr. Goodman says on the subject. “So little is understood by many regarding PEDS, that publicly demonstrating this type of commitment by the fighters and Top Rank is what our organization is all about.”
Pacquiao and Rios have been eligible for testing as of September 12, the date on which both fighters were enrolled into the program.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox