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The USADA “IV Scandal” Made Simple


By Sean Crose

Thomas Hauser has a new article out at Box Nation where he fires back at the United States Anti Doping Agency after USADA fired back at HIM for essentially asking aloud, via an extensive article at SB Nation, if the organization is fit for the sport of boxing. The questions raised in Hauser’s original piece are both numerous and far ranging.

The part of the article that has drawn the most attention, however, is a story where Floyd Mayweather receives an IV injection the day before his May 2nd superfight with Manny Pacquiao.

This particular story has led to all kinds of speculation both in and out of the media and has also led to a kind of written warfare between Hauser and the anti-doping agency. The entire affair can be enormously confusing. Indeed, sometimes the published pieces of both camps can be as dense as a work by David Foster Wallace. Let’s focus then, on the Mayweather incident and the facts as we know them at this point.

Here’s what’s not open for debate:

1. Mayweather received an IV injection for still unknown reasons the day before his superfight with Pacquiao.

2. USADA was aware that the IV injection was being given. What’s more, at least one of the agency’s agents witnessed the entire affair.

3. It has yet to be proven what substance(es) the IV injection delivered to Mayweather’s bloodstream contained.

4. It is unknown who gave the okay for Mayweather to receive the IV injection.

5. It is unknown which company the paramedic who delivered the injection worked for.

6. It is unknown if there is a record of the injection being delivered by a paramedic.

7. USADA informed the Nevada State Athletic Commission of the incident 20 days after Mayweather emerged victorious over Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

There’s little doubt that USADA is well within its rights to claim that Hauser is far from an objective observer. He works for HBO, after all, and HBO is archrivals with Showtime, which has broadcast six of Mayweather’s bouts. It’s also worth noting that Victor Conte, an expert on the subject employed by Hauser in his article, has literally done time for doping shenanigans.

Still, Hauser asks some good questions, and, whether he’s biased or not, the public deserves some answers after coughing up roughly a hundred bucks a pop to watch the May-Pac fight. What exactly was wrong with Mayweather that he required the kind of injection the World Anti Doping Agency, whose rules USADA supposedly adheres to, might forbid? As Hauser points out, the man didn’t seem dehydrated after the weigh in for the Pacquiao bout.

Let’s also keep in mind that injections can be used to “mask” athlete doping. Neither Hauser nor this author is accusing Mayweather of cheating, but the point needs to be brought up if events are to be reported in a fair and full bodied manner. Also, were things so severe that an IV had to be injected IN MAYWEATHER’S HOME?

Furthermore, who gave the okay for the injection to be given? A doctor? The paramedic on duty? The USADA agent? Who? Also, was the person responsible for giving the okay legally permitted to give the okay? IVs are nothing to fool around with, after all.

Ultimately, USADA would be well advised to provide answers and come clean. Who knows? It may be an innocent party in all of this. Regardless. Withholding specific information, as it appears (“appears” being the operative word here) USADA is doing only hurts its reputation. Or not. Perhaps USADA feels boxing is too marginalized a sport for most of the media to care about. If USADA wants to roll the dice on that assumption, however, it may come back to haunt it.

As for the possibility of USADA now being legally silenced by its own practices, it may be time to admit those practices are problematic before changing course.

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