By Ryan Maquiñana
You say USADA, I say VADA. Let’s call the whole thing off?
The latest turn in the Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux drama saw Rigondeaux sign what appears to be an incomplete contract that would submit him to random drug testing administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
The two fighters met in New York City last Thursday for Top Rank's initial press conference to announce their Apr. 13 HBO-televised main event at Radio City Music Hall. Rigondeaux’s unsigned VADA form was the last stipulation holding the bout back.
The New York Daily News reported Friday that both sides had agreed that Rigondeaux would be allowed to undergo random testing through the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). However, a USADA spokeswoman told the Daily News, “This is the first we ever heard about it.”
A call to USADA’s media relations Saturday morning regarding the latest development was not immediately returned. However, BoxingScene.com/CSNBayArea.com was able to clarify the VADA situation by speaking to both camps.
According to Donaire’s wife, Rachel, who was not present at the press conference, she followed up on all paperwork on Friday, where she discovered that the testing program had not begun due an incomplete VADA contract.
“All I know is Rigo’s camp said they aren’t afraid to be tested because he’s done Olympic-style drug testing before,” she said. “But it gets suspicious that they are stalling so much.
“First, they want Spanish translation. Then, they have the entire presser to hold up for an hour and a half because he refuses to sign VADA. Then, they want USADA, and now I find out they have no contract information and no whereabout addresses. If they are so used to Olympic-style drug testing, they know that information is essential...there isn't even contact info to find the athlete.”
The contact information, such as a phone number and address, is essential to the deal because it allows the VADA agents to find the fighter on a minute's notice for random testing.
Rachel Donaire was adamant on her team’s stance.
“We stand firm that [with] no testing, no fight,” she added. “The more he stalls, the more suspicious this all looks.”
Gary Hyde, Rigondeaux’s manager, said that the matter would be resolved in the next few hours.
“We told [Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum when we turned in the VADA form at the press conference that Rigo signed it, but that he’d fill in the blanks later for the other things like the address of the gym and his residence,” Hyde said. “The reason why is he doesn’t know the address of the gym in Orlando where he’s going to be for camp yet. He also still needs the address of the hotel where he’s staying for training camp.
“They are minor details, and of course we want it to be completed. He’s going to have them today.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly 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.