by Rick Reeno
The issue of drug testing continues to cause friction between former champion Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17KOs) and WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight king Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1, 23KOs). The HBO televised fight take place on March 14th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
According to Pascal, his demand for random testing was rejected due to the high cost. A counter-demand was sent to him, where he was asked to pay for the entire drug testing protocol. Pascal agreed, and assumed the two sides were going move forward with the testing, but the boxer claims the testing terms were then modified by Main Events - which Pascal rejected.
On Wednesday, Duva informed BoxingScene.com that Kovalev was ready and willing to take part in a random drug testing protocol with VADA [Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency].
Now on Thursday, it appears the two sides are sparring over the company of choice to handle the testing protocol.
Pascal is not willing pay the VADA fee, which is around $8,000 dollars per fighter. The Canadian star is pushing to use an independent company that handled the testing protocol for the January 2014 clash with Lucian Bute. Their price tag is quite higher, at $35,000. In other words, Pascal is willing to pay $70,000 to use the company he is familiar with. However, Pascal is not objecting to Kovalev's use of VADA - he is simply not going to pay for it.
"I have been randomly tested ten times under WADA recognized testing methods. This protocol has been in place since before my fight with Lucian Bute and the last time I was tested was over the summer. Because this protocol is unacceptable to the Kovalev people I refuse to pay for his test. However, I myself will continue to get randomly tested as I have been since 2013. When you're picking up the tab you have the right to choose the restaurant," Pascal stated to BoxingScene.com.
Pascal's manager, Greg Leon, added:
"We now know that Jean Pascal will continue to be randomly tested going into his fight with Kovalev. Now that Pascal isn't picking up the tab for them, will Main Events fork up the $8,000 for Kovalev's testing? Or will Jean Pascal be the only athlete fighting for the light heavyweight title on March 14 who is undergoing random drug testing?"
Duva strongly believes Team Pascal was only interested in causing a stir in the press. She has no objections to Pascal using his company of choice, but she is not going to subject her fighter to a company she has never heard of. Her testing company of choice, with respect to Kovalev, is VADA.
"Shouldn't the champion get to pick those things? Especially if you're going to bring this up after [we've finished] the negotiations, shouldn't the champion pick who's going to test? This is ridiculous. VADA is the most stringent and the most trustworthy organization there is. They are the only [company] by the way, that I know of, that reported a failed test by a boxer to the commission. I think that pretty much tells you that this was a publicity stunt from the start and [Pascal] doesn't want to take VADA testing. I guess people should just figure out why," Duva explained to BoxingScene.com.
"Sergey said he would take the test. We chose the best agency out there. We're not going to go to some agency I've never heard of. That's absurd. They didn't bring the testing up until after the deal was done. That's why this was nothing but a publicity stunt and it's all it's ever been. They wanted to say they want a test and set up conditions that the other person is never going to accept. They are the ones afraid of the test, not Sergey. We did not require that he do VADA. He can use whoever he wants."
"I know VADA is neutral, because the athletic commission in Nevada uses them. I don't know who these people are [that Pascal selected]. Do they think I'm going to just give them Sergey's samples [to a company I don't know]? Are these people crazy? When he's champion he can pick his [testing company]. It's all the same lab. It's just [a different company] who pick up the samples."