By Ryan Maquiñana
Victor Conte spoke to BoxingScene.com/CSNBayArea.com following Thursday’s Andre Ward-Edwin Rodriguez conference call to elucidate his involvement in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
“There is no connection of any type of a day-to-day basis (with VADA) other than me to say, ‘Hey, Edwin would like to do the testing,’” Conte said.
Conte, who currently serves as Rodriguez’s nutritionist, was mentioned during the call. Rodriguez alleged that Conte had been in contact with Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter about both fighters submitting to random drug testing to be administered by VADA and sponsored by Conte out-of-pocket.
Ward said he was “not privy” to any such communication and chastised Rodriguez for not bringing the possibility of VADA testing during negotiations leading up to their Nov. 16 super middleweight title fight.
Conte has been accused of having too close of a relationship with VADA and its founder, Dr. Margaret Goodman. Reigning Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaire, who was once a Conte client, made history as the first fighter to submit to year-round testing under VADA in June 2012.
Andre Berto also worked with VADA during his time with the Bay Area-based Conte. Berto, a former welterweight titleholder, actually tested positive for traces of a banned substance in May 2012 after he moved camp back to his native Florida. (Note: He was no longer employing Conte at the time of the positive test.)
Juan Manuel Marquez, whose strength and conditioning coach Angel “Memo” Heredia is an outspoken critic of Conte’s, was uncomfortable at the prospect of VADA handling drug testing for Marquez’s Oct. 12 welterweight title fight with Timothy Bradley and chose to work with the Nevada commission instead.
In order to clear the air, Conte explained his association with VADA, beginning with his conversations with Goodman in 2011:
“I met with Margaret two times in Las Vegas … and we met face-to-face at the Four Seasons coffee shop … and we talked. They asked my advice. All of Margaret’s questions. All of (VADA vice president) Flip (Homansky’s) questions. So I did talk to them, and I don’t want to even call it consultation. Everybody tries to take it 50 different directions.”
However, Conte revealed that he wasn’t the only anti-doping expert who was asked to speak on the matter.
“But (Goodman) had talked to many people like (former World Anti-Doping Agency president) Dick Pound and Olivier Rabin, the director of science for WADA,” Conte added. “Did I say that I would give them some phone numbers, and tell them what my thoughts were on everything in these two meetings? Yes. But that was in 2011.
“This is 2013. The only thing I’ve done since then is (to) encourage fighters to enroll (in VADA), and sponsor some fighters. That’s it. So what do I have to do with it? I certainly don’t determine who does what test, when they do it, what happens to the results (or) anything like that.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine's Ratings Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net or follow him on Twitter @RMaq28.