By Keith Idec
Liam Smith’s team is OK, at least publicly, with Canelo Alvarez not undergoing stringent VADA testing in advance of their September 17 title fight.
Frank Warren, Smith’s promoter, said as much during a conference call Thursday to discuss their HBO Pay-Per-View main event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Smith, meanwhile, has been tested randomly by UK Anti Doping, a British Boxing Board of Control-affiliated agency many British fighters, managers and promoters consider the most rigorous testing organization in boxing.
“The British Boxing Board controls drug testing,” Warren said. “And you may think I’m biased, but it’s probably the most stringent of any governing body in the world – I can assure you. So from our end, we’re happy with all the arrangements.”
The fact that Mexico’s Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) hasn’t been tested by a similar agency during training camp for the Smith match has generated speculation among some boxing fans and media because Alvarez reportedly has difficulty making the contracted 154-pound limit for his 12-round fight against England’s Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs), the WBO super welterweight champion.
“What we decided was we weren’t going to do voluntary testing with VADA,” Eric Gomez, Golden Boy Promotions’ senior vice president, said during the conference call. “But Liam is still undergoing testing with the British Boxing Control Board, and Canelo’s still undergoing testing by [the] Texas [boxing commission] and the WBO. So nobody withdrew. There is testing.”
Gomez’s assessment technically is true. The prevailing feeling among experts, however, is that financial restrictions placed on state commissions makes it difficult for those agencies to test as frequently and/or as comprehensively as VADA, the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).
Limiting testing to commissions and/or sanctioning organizations often is preferred by promoters and boxers because it is cheaper than using VADA, USADA and WADA.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.