On Wednesday afternoon, the
Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Keith Kizer, sent
this email out to various members of the media:
test results for 5/3 were negative.
All test results for 5/4 were negative, except Matthew Garretson tested positive for
Furosemide and J’Leon Love tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide.
Complaint for disciplinary action will be
While this news was
eye-opening to some, perhaps most might’ve had some sort of inkling that not
everything was kosher at the
weigh-in the day before the fight. Love
was not only two hours late (drawing
a $100 fine from the NSAC) but he
failed to make the middleweight limit on his first attempt.
So now Love is the latest
fighter to test dirty and will most likely be demonized by the boxing public. You can debate whether that's fair or
not but let's get this clear; even if you assume he used Hydrochlorothiazide strictly as a weight-cutter and nothing more - it's still a
performance-enhancer (beyond that, what he used is on the banned list).
No, it may not give you unnatural
strength or stamina that steroids or blood-doping would but by aiding the
process of dropping the last few
pounds (always the most excruciating) by pushing out excess water, thus being fresher for the fight, yeah,
that's the very definition of “performance-enhancer.”
In a sport in which performance is so affected
by one’s physical and mental state coming into competition, this cannot be overlooked.
Through the years, there have been many examples of fights basically won or
lost at the scales as fighters struggled mightily to make weight and failed to recover properly. One recent
example is Chad Dawson's futile attempt to fight effectively at 168 (a weight
class he hadn't made in years) before he faced Andre Ward in September. It's no
secret that as Dawson began his descent in weight during training camp in the weeks leading up
to that fateful night in Oakland,
he started getting knocked around in
sparring by the likes of Edison Miranda. On fight night, Dawson looked like an
empty vessel for much of the night before getting
stopped by Ward.
Boxers will do all sorts of things to make
weight from starving themselves, limiting water intake (perhaps the biggest
mistake of all), spitting in a
cup for days at a time, sitting in saunas for long durations (I saw it firsthand
many times at the Montebello Bally’s - now an L.A. Fitness - with local fighters
who were members of that facility) or a combination of all these measures.
Making weight shouldn't be
easy. But many medical
professionals and strength-and-conditioning coaches will tell you they believe many
fighters are competing in weight
classes far lower than they should.
But in an era when most fighters don't perform
all that often and will pack on
anywhere from 30 to 40 pounds of excess, this can become even more problematic.
The reality is there aren't many Bernard Hopkinses out there willing to stay
near their fighting weight year-round. The current business of boxing has
created a generation of fighters who are given an opportunity to live gluttonously
for months at a time (although, it has to be said Love didn't have all that long of a layoff
before the Rosado fight, having fought in late February).
And finally, the question has to be asked: Do we
need to go back to same-day weigh-ins?
Because a large part of why
certain fighters stay in lower weight divisions is because they now have the
opportunity to not only rehydrate
for over 24 hours but also come
in significantly heavier than their opponents
when the first bell rings. It's not unusual to see bouts in which one fighter
is 10 to 15 pounds larger than his opponent. Weight classes were
created for a reason, to ensure a
fair fight (at least from a physical standpoint).
Now, this whole aspect has
been bastardized and used as a loophole
to create physical mismatches.
Dr. Margaret Goodman, who, for years, was
the head ringside physician for the NSAC, believes it's time to change the culture that prompts the
likes of Love and, in the past,
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (who tested positive for a diuretic after his bout with Troy Rowland in 2009) to employ illicit means to make weight. In an email to Maxboxing, she stated:
It is long time overdue. It starts in
the amateurs when these young kids with developing bodies are forced into the
wrong weight class because an inexperienced trainer believes they have to push
their fighter below the appropriate weight to be stronger. Does that make any
sense--even from a physiological standpoint. Then by the time they reach
the pros or go through puberty, half have eating disorders. This mentality
carries through to the pros where it becomes even more dangerous. Imagine
how great some fighters would be if they entered a fight in the right weight.
The fights would be more safe, more competitive, the fighter's career would be
longer and more successful. Part of the problem is that these guys fight less
often and they have destroyed their metabolism so much, they can no longer make
weight. Then they eventually move up--but because they are out of shape.
24-hour weigh-in was to stop fighters entering dry--also carrying great
risk. But now they not only game the system, they are crucifying their
strength. If they do well, it is in spite of it, not because of it.
only answer is at least two weigh-ins: day before and morning of--with the
athlete only allowed to put on an acceptable amount of weight.
not the drug as much as it is why are they using it!
think this is a tremendous opportunity for Floyd et al, to try to instill his
ethics to his young fighters. He owes them his knowledge--staying in
shape between fights and treating your body like a temple and treating boxing
like a profession, as opposed to a hobby.
Can you disagree with anything the good doctor stated?
Believe it or not; boxers are human and there is a good chance Love was distracted or unable to train
with the same vigor after the
death of his beloved older brother, Bernard, prior to this assignment. Perhaps
he would have been best advised to pull out of the fight and regroup. But maybe
that $100,000 payday made that option
unrealistic. It says here that
till the fines and penalties become much more punitive, boxers will always be
enticed to bend the rules.
This problem isn't going away
anytime soon. Love certainly will not be last prizefighter to be busted and the ultimate
accountability for his actions is
at his feet. No other way around it. But is the boxing industry exacerbating
It's funny but Floyd Mayweather always talks of cleaning up the sport of
boxing. Perhaps he should start with
his own gym. First Mickey Bey and now Love have been red-flagged after their
fights in Nevada...Here's something alarming: the bout between Lucas Matthysse
and Lamont Peterson, contrary to popular belief, does not have random drug
does Chicago feel about Derrick Rose right about now?...So I'm guessing the
Baltimore Ravens will not be
retiring Rolando McClain's jersey...
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