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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mayweather, Mosley, Golden Boy tout their drug-testing plan

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Whether boxing can follow through on what a major promoter calls "the trigger" to implement "a gold standard of drug testing" in the sport remains unknown, but representatives of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Shane Mosley and Golden Boy Promotions on Thursday revealed their anti-doping procedures for their May 1 world welterweight title fight in Las Vegas.

"Floyd Mayweather took the lead on this, and it feels like it's time for boxing to take the lead on this," fight promoter Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy, told reporters during a morning conference call.

The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, participated in the call and detailed that Mayweather and Mosley will be subject to random urine and/or blood tests from now "until and after the fight." A positive test, Tygart said, would leave the boxer suspended from the sport for two years, a condition he said both fighters have agreed to.

Mosley, of course, has admitted to using products supplied him in 2003 by Victor Conte, founder of the steroid-distributing Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO). Conte has said he gave Mosley designer steroids known as the "the cream" and "the clear" and the energy-boosting banned substance EPO, with documents showing that Mosley used the drugs for more than a two-week cycle that ended the week of his 2003 victory by decision over Oscar De La Hoya.

Nevada failed to identify any substances in Mosley's system as performance-enhancing drugs.

Mosley has sued Conte, saying he did not know the substances he took were performance-enhancing drugs. Conte claims he spelled that out to Mosley in a meeting the pair had in 2003 in Conte's Burlingame, Calif., office.

Under the new plan, Tygart said, "we're confident if he did cheat, he'll be caught and exposed. He's never been subject to our jurisdiction until now."

Mayweather's desire for a more stringent testing program than what Nevada offers -- random urine testing before and immediately after the bout -- contributed to the crumbling of negotiations the unbeaten (40-0) boxer had in talks to stage a super-fight against Manny Pacquiao earlier this year.

Pacquiao explained that he doesn't like needles, and feels that giving blood weakens him before a fight. A mediator stipulated that Pacquiao wouldn't have to give blood closer than 24 days before the fight, and then again after the bout. Mayweather didn't agree with the "settlement" and the fight was scrapped.

Tygart declined to answer what he thought of Pacquiao's stance, explaining generally that, "If you're clean, you have no problem being in this program. We see thousands of athletes involved in this program. Why should any athlete be forced to compromise his safety?"

Golden Boy's Schaefer added, "This is not about hitting a baseball or cycling up a hill. It's two guys hitting each other in the head. How could we not be for it?"

Mayweather's lead advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, said he's heard that the New York State Athletic Commission is interested in observing how USADA's handling of this event proceeds, and may incorporate some of the principles in future testing. Other state athletic commission members and promoters nationally have said that the expense of such a program is too excessive to become reality unilaterally.

"If this triggers a gold standard for drug testing in boxing, we're all for it," Schaefer said.

Tygart said that in addition to urine tests for steroids, blood tests will be implemented to search for such perfoirmance-enhancers as Human Growth Hormone, synthetic hemoglobin and blood transfusions.

He credited Mayweather for continuing to press for the intense testing, and said both fighters have agreed to provide their whereabouts all the way to fight night.

"When your sport's not doing everything to protect your rights, it's unfortunate, but athletes who speak out have in some cases been cast aside, feeling they don't have much of a voice," Tygart said. "But athletes have a protector."

-- Lance Pugmire

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