By Luis Sandoval
Getting the Andre Ward-Edwin Rodriguez fight made didn’t come easy as there were lengthy negotiations between both sides with money being one of the main issues. The press conference to officially announce the fight took place Saturday afternoon in Manhattan Beach and even though all particulars appeared to have been ironed out, Rodriguez brought a new one to the table much to the surprise of those in attendance.
“I’m signing up for VADA testing for this fight so when I do beat Andre Ward, everyone knows I’m clean. And my question is, is Andre Ward willing to do that as well? I have a sponsor who’s sponsoring the testing. It will be free of cost to Andre. Free of cost to me. I’m trying to be in a clean sport. I don’t believe he’s dirty at all. I think he’s a great fighter but will he take a stand? I’m taking one” said Rodriguez.
Random style drug testing is so prevalent in boxing now that most assume big fights will automatically have some sort of additional testing either conducted by USADA or VADA.
The request however was all news to Ward who wasn’t quite sure why this was being brought up at the press conference and not at the negotiations table where these sorts of things are discussed. BoxingScene spoke to Ward immediately after the conference ended and asked for his thoughts on the whole situation.
“I don’t know what to take from it. I don’t know if he was trying to prove a point or whatever. We just had a lengthy negotiation and VADA wasn’t brought up. USADA wasn’t brought up. Nobody was brought up one time now all of a sudden at the press conference in front of all the media he wants to pose the question like trying to put me on the spot” Ward would tell BoxingScene.
Rodriguez will go ahead and get tested by VADA regardless but much like Nonito Donaire who gets tested by VADA year round, he will invite his opponent to also participate in the testing. Ward isn’t opposed to any random testing but he’s not sure why the question was posed in a public setting and why Rodriguez chose to ask it in that manner.
"You got to understand I’ve been in the game a long time and I understand how that stuff works. That’s why I asked him ‘what kind of question is that?’ So I have no problem taking any random tests. I’ve taken it for years as an amateur and I’ve passed every test as a pro with flying colors. It’s not a problem. So I don’t know what he was trying to do with that. I don’t know if somebody told him to do that to see if could get a reaction. I don’t know. It’s a better question for him” said Ward.
While Ward assures he has absolutely no problem doing the testing, we will have to wait and see if he will in fact participate in the testing and if it will be worked into the fight contract.
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