By Lem Satterfield
IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence and four-division champion Mikey Garcia will be randomly drug-tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) over a 10-week period beginning on January 5 in advance of their 147-pound clash on March 16 at The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Fox Pay Per View, according to Garcia's strength and conditioning guru Victor Conte.
Mike Coppinger of RingTV.com originally reported the news regarding VADA, Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) and Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), the latter of whom is making his 147-pound debut in pursuit of a fifth crown in as many divisions against “The Truth” Spence.
“Garcia's VADA enrollment forms were turned in today [Thursday,] and Spence Jr is scheduled to send in his forms tomorrow,” according to Conte, with whom Garcia began training two weeks ago at his Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC) facilities in San Carlos, California, an organization that supplies legal sports nutrition products and supplements.
The 28-year-old Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) has advantages in height (5-foot-9 ½-to-5-foot-6) and reach (72-inches-to 68) as well as perceived edges in speed and power over Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), who, as part of Conte’s program, will incorporate weight-lifting and other methods he is unaccustomed to.
Mikey Garcia has years of affiliation with Conte, according to his corner man Robert Garcia.
“For the past three or four years he’s always been part of our use of supplements, vitamins, blood work, and whatever Mikey needed. But Mikey had never worked with him in Northern California,” said Robert Garcia in an interview with BoxingScene.com.
“This is the first time Mikey’s gone to Northern California to work with him. For the past four years, Mikey’s been taking Conte’s supplements and doing blood work through Victor Conte, so we’ve been working with Victor Conte for at least four years.”
An advocate for VADA, Conte spent four years helping athletes to circumvent Olympic-style drug testing policies until BALCO was raided in 2003, and served a four-month prison stint after pleading guilty to orchestrating the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs to athletes in some professional sports. But since his release in March 2006, Conte has gone legitimate with SNAC.
In a report by BoxingScene.com on Thursday, Robert Garcia said he’s "not concerned at all" with Conte’s past, and said “Mikey has already signed up” to be tested by (VADA).
"I’ve talked to Conte many, many times,” said Robert Garcia. “I’m confident that he’s the correct person and that he knows what he’s doing.”
Spence indicated to Coppinger on Sunday in New York that he intended to enroll in VADA testing for the fight with Garcia.
“It’s cool. I wouldn’t train with (Conte). A tiger don’t change his stripes too many times,” said Spence in his RingTV.com interview. “He wanna train with him so I don’t know. I heard he was trying to take shots at me on Twitter. We doing VADA testing.”