By Sean Crose
Junior welterweight titlist Oscar Valdez was on top of the world this past winter after he surprised a lot of people by defeating the popular Miguel Berchelt, by knockout no less, in order to win the WBC title. Now, however, things are looking murky for the 28-0 Valdez. For, on the eve of his first title defense, the 30 year old has apparently tested positive for a substance which is banned in the world of boxing. According to ESPN, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association noted that the weight loss drug phentermine has been found in Valdez’ system.
As things stand, Valdez is scheduled to face fellow undefeated boxer Robson Conceicao on September 10th in Tucson, Arizona. Now, however, the anticipated battle between he and the 16-0 Conceicao may be in doubt. The match, should it still go through, will be aired live on ESPN+. It should be noted that VADA has fighters give two samples for tests, an A Sample and a B Sample. Having already tested positive in an A Sample, Valdez may well be out of options if he chooses to have his B Sample tested and it comes out positive, as well. In most cases, both A and B Samples test the same.
ESPN quotes Victor Conte, who once did time for planning to distribute PEDs before becoming a clean sport activist. “You know why it’s a performance-enhancing drug?” He asked rhetorically of phentermine. “Because it’s a central-nervous stimulant…it accelerates your heart rate. It gives you energy. It gives you endurance. It gives you stamina. It makes it easier to breathe. Your training time to exhaustion would be much longer.” Clearly, such things as stamina and endurance can help a fighter in the ring. In short, Valdez may have ingested a substance which might give him an advantage when facing Conceicao.
Valdez turned pro in 2012. Since that time he has steadily worked his way up the ladder. Last winter’s fight was the chance of a lifetime for the Mexican native, one Valdez clearly took advantage of. Whether or not the fight with Conceicao will be cancelled and/or Valdez will lose his belt due to having phentermine in his system remains to be seen. Although it’s certainly had its high points, boxing in 2012 has also had its share of disappointments. Fights have been cancelled, or haven’t come to fruition due to things like Covid 19, court rulings or poor promotional practices. Another fight of note not coming to pass would be nothing but bad news for fight fans.
That being said, Valdez might only have himself to blame.
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