Canelo Defends Reputation at Presser
By: Jeandra Lebeauf
After weeks of speculation, the anticipated rematch between Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin is off as a result of Alvarez testing positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol.
Photo Credit: Canelo Alvarez Twitter Account
Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez made the official announcement on Tuesday.
“Let me begin by informing all of you that at this point unfortunately we are going to have to cancel the May 5th rematch. As you all know there is a hearing date of April 18 and it’s extremely unlikely that this matter can be resolved by then properly. And obviously we need enough time to promote a fight of this magnitude.”
With Oscar De La Hoya at his side, Alvarez defended himself through a translator by reiterating that he is a clean fighter, having been tested over 90 times over a 12-year span, and that the positive test was the result of eating contaminated meat in his home country of Mexico.
“I am truly shocked about what has happened and for those who have doubts and suspicion about my integrity, I have always been and always be a clean fighter.
I want to apologize to HBO, Tecate and Hennessy and all my other sponsors, the media and to everyone who is involved in the promotion of this event, and especially to the fans. I respect this sport. I will always be a clean fighter.”
Despite pledging complete transparency during the course of the investigation, his attorney Ricardo Cestero limited the number of responses to media inquiries due to the pending investigation. Joining the panel was Dr. Miguel Angel Nazul of the Mexican Federation of Sports Medicine who says contaminated meat is a widespread problem throughout Jalisco, Mexico City and other areas.
Alvarez concluded the press meeting by describing the day he found out about the positive test and what he will do going forward to prevent positive testing.
“I got a call from Eric Gomez and he called me and I answered and he said I tested positive in some test and my first reaction was no, there has to be a mistake, something is wrong.”
“It saddens me people are accusing me of doing something improper. I am proud of the career I’ve had. From here on out, I will take precautions before future fights and make sure this never happens again.”
Breaking: May 5th Canelo-GGG Fight Is Officially Off
By: Sean Crose
“I am sad and feel powerless,” Canelo Alvarez told the media on Tuesday, “that this fight cannot happen now.” And with that, all remaining hope for the superfight between Canelo (49-1-2) and middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1) going down this spring vanished. Canelo tested positive on two occasions this past February for having the banned substance Clenbuterol in his system. He was subsequently suspended (albeit temporarily) by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, leaving the Las Vegas based Golovin rematch (the two men first fought to a controversial draw last autumn), which was scheduled to occur on May 5th, in serious doubt.
Canelo took the opportunity Tuesday to argue that he never took a banned substance intentionally. “I have always operated as a clean fighter,” he said. “I have always taken clean substances.” He’ll have a chance to argue his case before the Commission on an April 18th hearing. If the Commission decides to be firm, the Mexican star can be suspended for six months or more. Other states are apt to follow the Nevada ruling, whatever it should be, meaning that a suspension would likely carry over throughout the United States, where Canelo has proven to be most successful as a prize fighter.
“I will do whatever I need to do,” he said, “to demonstrate I have never taken this substance (intentionally).” Seeing his reputation as an honest player in a dirty game take a serious hint, Canelo took time to lament his situation. “It saddens me that people are accusing me of doing something improper,” he claimed. Canelo also said that he was going to henceforth be more mindful about what goes in his body. “From here on out, I will take increased precautions to ensure this will never happen again,” he said.
Team Canelo made it clear during the conference that they still wish for a Canelo-GGG rematch to go down, perhaps in August or September. As for Golovkin, it looks as if he’s preparing to face another opponent on May 5th. Names such as Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2), Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (25-0) and WBO super middleweight champ Gilberto Ramirez (37-0) have all popped up. Golovkin’s promotional company has also requested a permit for May 5th at the MGM Grand in Vegas (the Canelo rematch was supposed to take place at the T-Mobile Arena). As of press time, no opponent for Golovkin had been announced.
Golovkin has unleashed on Canelo through the media since news of the drug tests broke. He’s accused his opponent as having cheated before and has also stated that Canelo has been unfairly supported by the powers that be. On Tuesday, Canelo’s response was restrained. “What Golovkin or his team say does not bother me at all,” he said. ”They’re not experts, doctors.” Canlo had a doctor on hand who stated the levels of Clenbuteral that Canelo tested for were in line for levels of those who have consumed contaminated meat. Intent, however, did not come into play in regards to the Commission’s handing down of a suspension.
Breaking: Canelo Temporarily Suspended
The Nevada State Athletic Commission temporarily suspended Saul Canelo Alvarez on Friday for failing two drug tests in February. Both tests showed traces of the banned substance Clenbuterol. Canelo’s team had argued that the fighter had ingested the drug by eating tainted meat. At the moment, at least, the excuse isn’t flying in Nevada. The news does not mean Canelo’s much hyped rematch with Gennady Golovkin for middleweight supremacy on May 5th has fallen through…at least not yet. The Commission will address the matter again at an April 10th hearing.
“Mr. Alvarez is temporarily suspended for his adverse analytical finding, and an April 10 meeting with the Nevada Athletic Commission will fully address this adverse analytical finding,” the Los Angeles Times quotes NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett as saying.
If the Commission does decide to lengthen Canelo’s suspension, the Golovkin rematch, scheduled to go down at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, might well be canceled – or at the very least postponed. Both Canelo and Golovkin agreed to testing via the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) before their rematch. The tests Canelo submitted to on February 17th and 20th showed signs of Clenbuterol. The results were made public earlier this month, rocking the fight world.
“I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me. I will submit to all the tests that require me to clarify this embarrassing situation and I trust that at the end the truth will prevail,” the fighter was quoted as saying. Canelo’s argument that tainted meat was the cause of his failed tests has raised eyebrows, though Clenbuterol is known to be found in Mexican livestock and can be ingested unwittingly.
One person who clearly doesn’t believe Canelo’s tainted meat excuse is his scheduled opponent. Golovkin has gone so far as to claim Canelo cheated for their first match, a controversial 2017 draw. He’s also stated that Canelo’s promoter, Golden Boy honcho Oscar De La Hoya, is guilty of having cheated, as well. What’s more, Golovkin accused the NSAC of essentially engaging in a form of terrorism via it’s favoritism of fighters like Canelo, herefore destroying the sport. Fairly or not, the NSAC has a reputation for bias behavior when it comes to prize fighting and Canelo is said to be a favorite of the organization.
Canelo is still allowed to train for the May 5th bout and Golden Boy has declared it will be respectful of the Commission’s decision while taking up Canelo’s cause. Golovkin promoter, Tom Loeffler, shed some light on the scenario to the LA Times. “They told us Canelo has complied with follow-up testing and everything they’ve asked of him,” he said, “but under their rules, they had to issue a suspension.”
Canelo vs. GGG 2 Has “Big Drama” Heading Into Their Rematch
By: Bryant Romero
Prior to Canelo’s positive drug test for Clenbuterol being made public two weeks ago, there were many in the boxing media wondering just how dull and uninteresting the buildup would be heading into their May 5 rematch. Canelo and Golovkin are no doubt exciting fighters to watch inside the ring, but they’re not the most polarizing personalities outside the ring. This is the spark and controversy the rematch needed and this writer doesn’t see it as a bad thing. Not to say that the handlers of this event purposely released this information in order to build up hype. But no one can argue that the rivalry between Canelo/GGG and the lead up to their May 5 rematch has gotten a lot more interesting.
Golovkin erupted and made some very strong allegations at Canelo and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya during his meet with media members this past Tuesday.
“I told you, it’s not Mexican meat. This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion, Canelo is cheating. They’re using drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening.
“It’s pretty obvious when (Canelo’s) muscles were enlarged and with traces of injections, which were visible, “ Golovkin said. “ I can talk about Oscar De La Hoya too. He is also not clean, he’s dirty.”
Obviously, Golovkin is not buying the excuse Canelo and his handlers have put forth in saying the reasoning for the two positive drug tests last month was due to consumption of contaminated meat. Golovkin also feels Canelo was dirty in the first fight and believes that he is being protected and coddled by the Nevada state athletic commission.
Golovkin and his team have shown great concern heading into this rematch and that perhaps they’re heading into this fight on an uneven playing field. While GGG can certainly have his suspicions about the reasoning for Canelo testing positive for Clenbuterol and question the investigation that is being put forth by the Nevada commission, the comments he made could have very well earned him a lawsuit in the near future.
Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez told boxingscene “it’s defamation and we’re going to take appropriate action.”
Gomez sees Golovkin statements as a sign of fear, a lack of confidence, and is simply looking for a way out.
“It sounds like he wants out of the fight, he doesn’t sound confident.” Gomez told Boxingscene. “If he wants out of the fight, he should say so.”
Gomez is 100 percent confident that the fight will go ahead on May 5. Canelo has since passed subsequent tests while the Nevada commission is currently investigating and has yet to give a ruling on the matter. All signs point to the fight going ahead on May 5.
Canelo vs GGG 2 has “big drama” heading into their rematch and there is certainly a lot more bad blood between the camps. Expect a more explosive fight on May 5 and the controversy surrounding the rematch is not necessarily a bad thing. Because if it wasn’t for these turn of events, what exactly would anybody in the media be talking about when it comes to this rematch had the positive tests not been made public?
Give Canelo a Break
By: Ben Sutherland
Earlier this week the news broke that whilst in training camp, Canelo Alvarez had failed a drugs test. As part of his preparation for his much anticipated rematch with Golovkin, Canelo had submitted himself to testing by anti-doping agency, VADA. It was one of these VADA tests that came back positive. The drug in question is Clenbuterol, a thermogenic stimulant that boosts aerobic capacity, central nervous system stimulation, blood pressure and the body’s ability to transport oxygen. In normal medical practice it is given as a treatment to people who suffer with asthma and other breathing related ailments. It quickens the metabolism which allows athletes to simultaneously lean down and gain muscle mass which is particularly useful for someone like Canelo, who frequently hops between weight classes. Boxers across the world have been quick to brand Canelo a drugs cheat, with the likes of WBO middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders, speaking out particularly strongly on the subject.
The word out of the Canelo camp is that this failed test was caused by eating contaminated meat and quite frankly, I believe him. Clenbuterol is often used illegally by farmers to add bulk and muscle to their animals to increase profit margins. This practice is particularly widespread in less economically developed countries such as Mexico. Animals who have been supplemented with clenbuterol produce contaminated meat, which if eaten can produce a positive test.
The first important thing to note about clenbuterol is that it is classified by the World Anti-Doping code as a non-threshold, non-specified substance. This means that even the smallest amount of clenbuterol can trigger a positive test. Therefore, the level of clenbuterol can be below the threshold of a performance enhancing level but still set off a positive test. Canelo’s promotional team have stated that the amount of clenbuterol found is consistent with levels found as a result of eating contaminated meat. This has subsequently been confirmed by Daniel Eichner, the director of the WADA accredited laboratory that conducted the failed test.
It should also be noted that this is the first test that Canelo has ever failed. He has been regularly tested in and out of camp for years. During each camp Canelo is tested over 10 times and until now has never returned a positive test. Additionally, tests conducted on Canelo since the failed test have also all come back clean. It should be noted that drugs like clenbuterol are effective when taken cumulatively over a longer period of time, and based off these test results, this is not the case.
Furthermore, this type of positive test occurs frequently across a wide range of sports. Tyson Fury was recently acquitted for a positive test which was triggered when he and his cousin, Hughie, ate a wild boar. Track and field athletes have also regularly failed tests and then have subsequently shown to be clean in countries like South Africa where clenbuterol usage is far more common.
Does this information completely exonerate Canelo? Not fully. However, the legal system is such that it is a case of innocent till proven guilty and there is as of yet, very little indication that Canelo has knowingly cheated. Don’t get me wrong, deliberately using drugs in boxing should be a criminal offence. In combat sports, drugs can give power advantages that can be lethal and should be punished accordingly. However, this test has all the markers of an embarrassing blunder rather than a malicious and nefarious attempt to cheat.
Ultimately, Canelo is responsible for the substances that he puts in his body and he has nobody to blame but himself. However, I highly doubt he has gained any performance benefits from this incident and whilst it probably warrants a slap on the wrist, the fight should go on.
Until additional evidence is produced, indicating Canelo’s guilt, give the man a break, the damage to his reputation has already been more than sufficient punishment.
Keep up with Ben Sutherland’s latest content on Instagram: @promotionsmd
Breaking News: Canelo Tests Positive for Clenbuterol
In the lead up to his massive rematch against Gennady Golovkin for middleweight supremacy in May, Canelo Alvarez has tested positive for the banned substance, Clenbuterol. Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo’s promoter, was quick to release a statement.
“As part of the voluntary testing program that Canelo Alvarez insisted on ahead of his May 5 fight, one of his results came back positive for trace levels of Clenbuterol, consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico,” the powerhouse promotion claimed.
Golden Boy noted that:
“Daniel Eichner, Director of SMRTL, the WADA-accredited lab that conducted the tests stated in his letter today, ‘These values are all within the range of what is expected from meat contamination.’”
Needless to say, Golden Boy made it clear that it has reached out to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (the Golovkin rematch is to be held in Vegas), as well as to team Golovkin. What’s more, Golden Boy declared that it was moving Canelo’s camp to the United States.
“As has been planned, Canelo will immediately move his training camp from Mexico to the United States and will submit to any number and variety of additional tests that VADA deems necessary ahead of and after May 5.”
Boxing Insider will keep readers updated on this story as it professes.
Performance Enhancing Drugs in Combat Sports- What is Going On?!
By: Greg Houghton
Is it just me, or is it starting to get really frustrating continuously hearing about yet another star in combat sports testing positive for performance enhancing drugs?
It seems that, sure as the wind blows, we repeatedly hear of yet another pro athlete in combat sports who has been banned for using performance enhancing drugs.
If you look across the top ranked athletes in combat sports (in fact- contact sports in general including American football and rugby), most of those who are dominating their sport in this day and age are genetic freaks of nature that tower over their competition. In boxing, out of our world champions in the heavyweight division we’ve currently got Joseph Parker as our smallest who stands at 6”4 and weighs in at around 245lbs.
Arguably at the top of the heavyweight tree we have Anthony Joshua, at just shy of 6”7 and who came into the Wladimir Klitschko fight north of 250lbs. Anyone who saw that fight will be fully aware that this was over 250lbs of pure muscle.
In turn, the power that AJ is able to generate through his freakish genetics is such that he was able to do what only three before him had done in stopping ‘Dr. Steel Hammer’, a man with a professional record spanning over twenty years.
Size seems to be a prevalent thing as todays combat sports divisions are filled with huge athletes, with the bigger guy seemingly almost always having the upper hand. This is not just in the heavyweight division, anyone who saw Saul ‘Canelo” Alvarez fight Amir Khan last year will have struggled to comprehend Canelo weighing less than 175 in that fight, despite meeting their 160lbs weight limit the day before. We all remember how catastrophically this fight ended for Khan, although I doubt very much that he does.
So, it seems that for the most part, size is an advantage when in competition in combat sports. As we’ve established, the majority of the dominant forces across almost all contact sports today are genetic monsters who have been conditioning their cardio skills throughout their entire lives with the bodies they were born with. One way in which athletes, who have not been blessed with such rare genetics, can at least try to compete at this level is with a little help, so to speak.
As the doping tests become more and more vigorous and difficult for athletes in combat sports (throwback to how irritated GGG was at the Kell Brook weigh in on September 9th 2016, after a reported 11 hour shift with VADA in his hotel room the day before), we are seeing more and more athletes getting caught out. The annoyances resound right the way across combat sports as in MMA we’ve recently seen Jon Jones getting banned for an astounding third time!
A third time?! How on earth has this been allowed to happen?
Is a ban of a few months really enough? Granted, I’m not a professor in sports science, but it’s difficult to see how an athlete who was able to push their body’s cardiovascular and hypertrophy capabilities beyond it’s genetic potential through taking drugs, would not have an advantage over another athlete who was natural, sometimes as soon as six months later. Is this morally right? Should athletes who were caught doping be allowed back into the sport at all? It certainly doesn’t seem to be the populist view, we only have to observe the reaction that Justin Gatlin received time on time when facing Usain Bolt in competition. This very competition was labeled a number of times as good vs. evil.
It was with a very heavy heart that I read of Shannon Briggs’ testosterone levels measuring absurd times over the normal limit earlier this year. In fact, by being such a fan of the transformation that he’s made in his life (you’ve only got to hear his story on the Joe Rogan show to appreciate this), as well as his tongue-in-cheek promotional strategies which in turn made idiots of his competition, I and many others felt personally let down by hearing this news. Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs joins Alexander Povetkin, Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne as boxers from the heavyweight division alone, who have been banned for the use of PED’s in recent times.
Also as a huge fan of Jon Jones in the UFC, I… well, you know where this is going.
Evidence suggests that these days, the sports which we know and love, are seemingly dominated by the bigger guy. Therefore it stands to reason that this must affect the phycology of the fighter who faces them in the ring or the octagon. As these sports evolve, evidently so too does the genetic make up of those who reign within them. It’s easy to view performance-enhancing drugs as an attempted ‘leveling out’ of the genetic insufficiency, which many athletes today find themselves having. However, we must consider that if the shoe was on the other foot and todays naturally big athletes were the ones taking PED’s, the likes of Anthony Joshua would continue to develop their power beyond their genetic potential, lord knows to what effect.
And so, for the moment things will remain the same. Those who use performance enhancing drugs will continue to break the hearts of their loyal and adoring fans and be given as little as six months to go and think about what they’ve done, all the while training on the gains that PED’s could have initially given them. I’m not suggesting for a minute that these very athletes don’t work just as hard as those who are clean and don’t deserve to be where they are in their own sports. However, you have to feel for those who have grafted their whole lives without the use of performance enhancing drugs and have fallen slightly short because of this. If this is such a prevalent thing that combat sportsman must insist on defying their genetics, then perhaps it would be an idea to open a league of ‘natural’ boxers and MMA fighters, parallel to a league of those who insist on juicing.
The winners of the ‘not natural’ competitions could perhaps be part of a men’s support group, along with the ‘not natural’ bodybuilders of today and exchange ideas on how to inject safely. Either that or exchange ideas on safe Viagra consumption, in Jon Jones’ case…
When Will Deontay Wilder Step Up?
When Will Deontay Wilder Step Up
By: Matthew N. Becher
It has been two years now that Deontay Wilder (37-0 36KO) took on Bermane Stiverne in Las Vegas and became the WBC Heavyweight champion, winning a unanimous decision. Since then wilder has defended his title four times, against Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola. Out of those four fights, three have been in his home state of Alabama. Also, out of those four fights, zero have been against any major competition. Wilder has a fight scheduled in two weeks against former USC football player Gerald Washington, at the Legacy Arena in, you guessed it, Birmingham Alabama. The question that arises is when Wilder will actually decide to fight some legit competition, to either unify the titles or to just give fans a more evenly matched fight.
In the coming months, the Heavyweight division will be ripe with decent match ups where belts will exchange hands, and or new kings will be crowned. Joseph Parker will defend his newly minted WBO title against the Lineal champions (Tyson Fury), Cousin Hughie Fury, in New Zealand. It may not be a top of the line matchup, but it is none the less a very good fight that keeps the division rolling toward ultimate unification. Also, the best heavyweight of the past decade will see if he has one last run in him, when 40 year old Wladamir Klitschko will take on Anthony Joshua in front of 90 thousand screaming fans at Wembley Stadium in April. So while the likes of a young lion, Joshua , are breaking attendance records in the UKs most famous venue, Wilder will be fighting, yet again, in a small arena in Alabama (one that he will also, most likely, not sell out)
Recently, undefeated Cuban Heavyweight, Luis Ortiz, has called out Wilder on social media.
“Tell Deontay Wilder stop running, I’m Here: I’m ready to fight you on February 25th!” said Ortiz, who is now, currently ranked as the #2 Heavyweight in the WBC Rankings. Wilder responding to Ortiz’s offer of fighting him by saying he would never fight someone that has previously failed a drug test.
Something that Ortiz did do, in 2014. Since then, Ortiz has been tested 12 times, all coming back clean, and was enrolled in the VADA testing program since last September. It now looks like Ortiz will take on former WBC champ, Stiverne, to become the #1 contender.
It just seems that “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder is content with holding on to his one title and milk his championship run in the easiest manner possible. Taking fights against unranked fighters that are also under the PBC banner. Also staying away from prominent fight locations like Las Vegas, or even just not fighting in his own home state may show why he is keeping himself safe, locked away inside his own personal bubble. We would love to see what the young American champ can do when he is really tested against another quality opponent, but for now, we will have to watch him fight former college football players, who couldn’t make it to the pros.
Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away
Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away
By: Eric Lunger
It was a weekend of regret, as two bouts on different continents made a mockery of professional boxing. Karl Marx once observed that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. In Russia, Alexander Povetkin, by failing PED screening for a second time in less than a year, made a farce of whatever governing body sanctioned his heavyweight bout. And at the Forum in Los Angeles, veteran Bernard Hopkins was literally knocked out of the ring for the second time is his career, in what was supposed to be some sort of triumphant farewell/ retirement fight.
The Povetkin debacle was hard to fathom from the moment stories broke that he had failed another drug test. Seven months ago Povetkin was caught with meldonium in his veins, a now well-known PED employed systematically, it seems, by Russian athletes. There is something particularly vile about drug cheating in boxing: its one thing if the Russian bobsled team gets a faster start, and quite another thing when a heavyweight boxer has an unfair advantage. Boxing is dangerous enough as it is. Bermane Stiverne, Povetkin’s opponent, had worked very hard to position himself back in line for a WBC title shot, having lost a tough twelve rounder to Deontay Wilder in January of 2015. It also takes guts to enter the lion’s den by traveling to Moscow to face Povetkin in front of a home crowd, so imagine Bermane’s frustration and disgust when he awoke, on fight day no less, to the news that the WBC had withdrawn its sanction for the bout, which, by the way, is the only ray of light in this dark hole.
It appears that the WBC did the right thing immediately by withdrawing their sanction for the bout. Povetkin was on a voluntary random testing regime, a result of his previous violation under the WBC, which is trying to implement a rigorous anti-doping regime by partnering with VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Bizarrely, Povetkin was immediately provided with a replacement opponent, Johann Duhaupas of France, though no one knows why he was in Russia and available. It takes no giant leap of imagination to suppose that World of Boxing, the Russian promotion company that represents Povetkin, was holding Duhaupas in reserve for just such an eventuality. And to end the whole sordid story, Povetkin knocked out Duhaupas in the sixth round, with a vicious and presumably steroid enhanced left hook. Congratulations to a drug cheat.
The Hopkins vs. Smith fight was farce of a different nature, less malevolent but just sad. Sad to see a legend of the ring end his career on such an unnecessarily low note. After being dismantled and slightly embarrassed by Sergey Kovalev in November of 2014, Hopkins just couldn’t stay away. He had something to prove to himself, I suppose, because I can’t imagine anyone in the entire boxing world would have begrudged him his retirement at that point. So Saturday night, after needlessly disrespecting Joe Smith, Jr. at the prefight press conference, we were treated to the ridiculous executioner show, the silly hoods and fake axes, etc. I guess I’m just not a fan of the elaborate ring walk and masks and costumes. And the fight itself was hardly a fight, rather a boxing exhibition – and a bad one at that. Hopkins’s footwork was slow and ponderous, and the head butt in round two looked to me to be intentional, a dirty and unbecoming foul that was depressing to see from such a great champion. I don’t want to bash Hopkins, and I think I can understand how hard it must be for a proud, professional athlete to finally give up a sport that has defined his identity for so long, but when Smith bludgeoned him through the ropes and out of the ring, it felt as though boxing itself had ejected Hopkins from the sport. Only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would argue that Smith pushed him through the ropes. But then, only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would be prize fighting at age 51.
There were several good fights this weekend, and congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk, Joseph Diaz, Jr., and Sullivan Barrera, all of whom put on excellent shows and won technically fine bouts. But shame on Povetkin, and a sad farewell to Hopkins.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Muhammad Ali, Andre Ward, Vinny Paz, Lucas Browne, and more..
Boxing Insider Notebook: Muhammad Ali, Andre Ward, Vinny Paz, Lucas Browne, and more..
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 26th to August 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Muhammad Ali: Fighter’s Heaven to be Released August 15th
“If there’s a secret to my fights, it’s how I prepare.” Muhammad Ali
“Forty-two years ago I photographed Muhammad Ali in the rural Pennsylvania sanctuary he called ‘Fighter’s Heaven’ as he prepared for the greatest contest of his career. Here was the most famous and contentious personality on the planet in his private retreat – the calm eye of the public hurricane – which was most of his life. While a global audience was fixated on his fate, I was able to record aspects of Ali virtually unknown.” Peter Angelo Simon, 2016
In October 1974, Muhammad Ali would attempt to regain the world heavyweight boxing championship title that was stripped from him when he refused the Vietnam draft seven years earlier. He faced the brutal, undefeated George Foreman in Zaire, Africa, the fight he had dubbed “The Rumble in The Jungle”.
Only weeks before, on August 11-12, photographer Peter Angelo Simon was invited to experience the private world of one of the most famous people on the planet as he prepared mentally and physically for the biggest challenge of his life.
In August 2016, Reel Art Press presents Muhammad Ali: Fighter’s Heaven 1974. These rare photographs, the majority previously unpublished, are presented as a 176-page hardback book. This two-day photo essay captures Ali the man, unguarded, away from the glare of the media spotlight at his Pennsylvania sanctuary. It includes a foreword by D A Pennebaker, foremost chronicler of American counterculture in the sixties, and an introduction by Peter Angelo Simon.
Non Televised Undercard Announced for Ward vs. Brand
Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6, to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The event, which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT, will now include six bouts of non-televised action for ticketed fans to enjoy before the main showdown.
The promising undercard lineup will feature East Bay familiar, Bilal Mahasin and a collection of Roc Nation Sports’ brightest prospects including, Daniel “Twitch” Franco, Rudy “The Revelation” Puga Jr. and Darmani “Rock Solid” Rock. Roc Nation Sports’ sparkplug Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker also looks to ignite Oracle Arena as the card’s co-feature in a 10-round NABO Junior Welterweight Title clash against Tyrone Barnett.
Lucas Browne Volunteers for WBC’s Clean Boxing Program
Former WBA World Heavyweight Champion Lucas Big Daddy” Browne of Australia is upping the ante in his quest to clear his name and regain his championship by voluntarily enrolling in the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program.
The hard-punching Browne (24-0, 21 KOs) stopped Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev in round 10 last March in Grozny, Russia, to become Australia’s first-ever heavyweight champion. The dramatic victory, however, was nullified and Browne’s championship was stripped away and returned to Chagaev, post-fight, after he reportedly tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol.
Browne, who tested completely clean in a random drug test by VADA six days before the fight against Chagaev, staunchly maintains his innocence of purposefully taking any banned substance ever, and says he is taking steps to ensure he is never again accused of cheating.
“I’m proud to announce that I am now part of the Clean Boxing Program, which is being run by the WBC and VADA,” said Browne. “By voluntarily enrolling in this program I am able to be randomly tested at any time, 365 days of the year.”
Browne, who was the one who insisted that VADA perform drug testing before the Chagaev fight, says the decision to join the program was an easy one to make. “I have absolutely no issues with this, as I am a clean athlete and I believe boxing needs this kind of regulation. I welcome this aspect of safety for the sport of boxing. I despise all drugs, whether they be performance-enhancing or recreational.”
Browne’s manager, Matt Clark, says that by becoming Australia’s first fighter to volunteer for the program, his fighter will hopefully start a trend.
“Lucas is Australia’s premier boxer and resents drugs of any kind,” said Clark. “We hope that other fighters from around the world join Lucas and sign up for the program. Anything that makes boxing safer is a good thing.”
Browne and Clark say they are still fighting “tooth and nail” to clear his name and thank the public for the tremendous support they have received, worldwide.
“Having always been a clean athlete, I am totally opposed to any form of doping,” Browne concluded. “I’ve always felt that cheaters in professional boxing should be banned for life. With 21 KOs in my 21 victories, I’m of the same opinion as (current WBC World Heavyweight Champion) Deontay Wilder: If I was ever to use PED drugs, I might end up killing someone!”
Vinny Paz Movie to be Released November 4th
The upcoming Oscar Buzzworthy film, Bleed For This, the true story of boxer Vinny Pazienza (50-10, 30 Kos), who won world championships in several weight divisions and had the greatest comeback in sports history after experiencing a nearly fatal accident.
Open Road Films released the film’s action-packed, emotionally charged trailer to much acclaim last month.
Bleed For This highlights Pazienza’s ascendancy as a fighter in the mid 1980s, his struggle to overcome the neck injury that nearly kept him out of the ring forever, and his rise to become world champion once again, will appeal to boxing purists and casual moviegoers alike.
Bleed For This is scheduled for a limited release on November 4, 2016, before expanding nationwide on November 23, 2016.
David Benavidez Camp Quotes
Undefeated David Beanvidez is on the fast track to a world title opportunity and he will battle Denis Douglin in the 10 round main event of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN on Friday, August 5th, live from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Below are some quotes made by David Benavidez during his training camp.
On his recent training camp in Southern California…
“We had another great training camp out here in Long Beach, California. We put the final touches and wrapped up camp and I’m ready to go. There was plenty of good sparring and we worked on some things we know will help us in this fight. I’m in great shape and I feel sharp.”
On fighting in his first main event on ESPN…
“Fighting on ESPN is great exposure for me and my team, especially in the main event. We all worked so hard to get in this position and now it’s time to capitalize on this great opportunity. I know a lot of family and friends back home in Phoenix will be tuning in. I just want to shine out and perform to my best ability.”
On facing his opponent Denis Douglin…
“This is going to be a tough fight. I know Douglin is hungry to give me my first loss. He’s coming off three wins in a row, so I’m taking this fight very seriously. Being that he’s a southpaw, I’ll have to do some things a little different. We worked on all that stuff in camp so I know I’m going to be ready for anything he brings to the ring.”
On training with his father and head coach Jose Benavidez…
“My dad Jose has been guiding my corner from the first day I started boxing around three years old. Together we have a strong bond and I respect him very much. He’s come up with a great game plan tailor made for Douglin. He’s made a lot of sacrifices to help me get to this point and I’m very thankful to him for all that he’s done for me and my brother. I want nothing more than to bring him another great victory.”
On fighting on the East Coast for the second time in his career…
“The East Coast fans are very passionate about their boxing. Douglin, being that he’s from New Jersey, will have a lot of fans rooting against me. But I’m not going to let anything distract me from the task at hand and that’s coming back home with a win.
Brant vs. Fitzpatrick Headlines CBS Sports Network Championship Boxing
This Friday, August 5, 2016, in the Grand Ballroom of the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, Greg Cohen Promotions and Ringside Ticket Inc., in association with David Schuster’s Winner Take All Productions, will proudly present a quadrupleheader of professional boxing, televised live on CBS Sports Network (11 pm ET/8 pm PT).
In the night’s televised main event, red-hot WBA #4- and WBO #7-rated middleweight and current WBO NABO and WBA NABA Middleweight Champion, Rob “Bravo” Brant (20-0, 13 KOs) of Saint Paul, Minnesota, will look to keep his momentum going in a 10-round battle against Cleveland’s Chris “The Irish Ghost” Fitzpatrick (15-4, 6 KOs).
In the six-round super welterweight co-featured bout, Fort Worth, Texas, slugger Skender Halili (10-1, 10 KOs) will look to keep his perfect knockout record intact against experienced Ghanian veteran (now living in Silver Springs, Maryland) Ben Odamattey (16-14-3, 9 KOs).
In another televised four-rounder, undefeated former amateur world champion Cem Killic (5-0, 2 KOs) of Sherman Oaks, California, via Frankfurt, Germany, will take on pro-debuting middleweight Jerhed Fenderson of Las Vegas.
And in the night’s opening televised bout, red-hot prospect Malik Hawkins (8-0, 7 KOs) of Baltimore, Maryland, will look to keep his march to the top of the welterweight division alive against Portland, Oregon’s Sean Gee (3-4).
Chazz Witherspoon to Face Mike Marrone
Chazz “The Gentleman” Witherspoon will take on former world title challenger Mike Marrone On Saturday night, August 6th as D & D Promotions and Silver Spoon Promotions will present “Rumble at the Rink II” at the Grundy Arena in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
Witherspoon (33-4, 26 KO’s) of nearby Paulsboro, New Jersey established himself as one of the top American Heavyweights as the St. Joseph’s University graduate won his first twenty-three bouts with wins over the likes of Michael Alexander (11-0), Talmadge Griffis (24-6-3), Jonathan Haggler (18-1) before suffering his 1st defeat to future two-time world title challenger Chris Arreola via controversial disqualification.
Witherspoon went on to win three fights in a row, which was highlighted by an entertaining 8th round stoppage over Adam “The Swamp Donkey” Richards (21-1). That fight was voted Ring Magazine’s 2008 Heavyweight Fight of the Year.Witherspoon then dropped a fight to future two-time world title challenger Tony Thompson.
Witherspoon went on to score 4-consecutive knockouts which included a devastating 3rd-round destruction over Tyson Cobb (14-2).
Witherspoon then took on undefeated prospect Seth Mitchell on April 28, 2012 in a bout where Witherspoon had Mitchell badly hurt in several occasions before Mitchell came away with the victory.
Witherspoon has scored four consecutive knockouts which includes his last bout when he stopped Nick Guivas (11-2-2) in three rounds on August 15th in Atlantic City.
Marrone of Vero Beach, Florida has a record of 21-5 with 15 knockouts.
“Everybody’s on Steroids” – The Concerning State of MMA
“Everybody’s on Steroids” – The Concerning State of MMA
By Jaime C. Feal
During the hype for his first fight against Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz said it best: “Everybody’s on steroids.” Diaz went on to stop McGregor at UFC 196, and then McGregor was pulled from a potential rematch at UFC 200 due to not fulfilling media obligations. That decision by Zuffa brass turned out to be a big error, as their replacement main event between Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel Cormier fell through when Jones was pulled from the card due to a positive test for PEDs. Cormier went on to beat last minute replacement Anderson Silva in a fight that saw the crowd boo heavily due to a lack of action. Furthermore, the Cormier-Silva fight was demoted to co-main event and a woman’s title fight between Miesha Tata and Amanda Nunes ended up headlining UFC 200. And the return of WWE superstar and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, the fighter that drew the most viewers, ended up testing positive himself as was revealed by USADA the week after UFC 200. Because of an exemption Lesnar received as a late addition to the card his results did not come back in time to stop him from competing, and he will not be fined by USADA or the UFC for his positive test. Lesnar’s opponent Mark Hunt has publicly demanded he be compensated and has blasted the UFC for “throwing him under the bus.”
To make matters worse, former Featherweight title contender Chad Mendes was popped for a positive test recently and suspended 2 years by USADA, just like Jones was suspended for 2 years. The fighters can appeal their suspensions and try to reduce them, but ultimately the UFC has an enormous problem on their hands with fighters using PEDs before competing against one another in the cage. The timing of the 4 billion dollar sale of the company amidst all the positive tests is also suspect. It could be said that Station Casino and Zuffa owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertita cashed out at the right time.
Not only are fighters getting suspended left and right, but other fighters who are theoretically clean are livid. Then you have superstar fighters like Georges St. Pierre who are prime for a comeback, but have expressed concerns about stepping in the cage against juiced competition. Finally, the fans can’t be happy to see their favorite fighter(s) and sport being tainted by steroids, masking agents, and PEDs. The crisis is similar to the steroid epidemic in the 90s in Major League Baseball where even the biggest superstars were using. Now that the UFC is under new ownership, the new owners and management have a chance to affect immediate change. The sport is inherently exciting, fast-paced, and action-packed. We don’t need to artificially increase the explosiveness of the sport as baseball did with the home run. When you have two athletes competing against each other in a combat sport fairness and safety are of the utmost concern. MMA as a sport has worked hard to become regulated and accepted, and a lot of that work can be undone if somebody is seriously hurt in the cage by an opponent who tests positive for PEDs. This epidemic needs to get cleaned up quickly in the interest of all parties. Let’s hope it does.
Bob Arum Bashes UFC For Drug Tests, Dismisses MMA Fans As Trump Supporters
Bob Arum Bashes UFC For Drug Tests, Dismisses MMA Fans As Trump Supporters
By: Sean Crose
Who knew Bob Arum was such a picture of virtue? For decades now, the man has stood atop – or near the top – of what has been known as the red light district of sports…boxing. Yet it was another combat sport that Arum took the time to bash recently – the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC. Truth be told, the mixed martial arts league has been hit hard recently with news that numerous of its top fighters have tested positive for drug use. Needless to say, Arum had choice words regarding the matter of drug testing:
“I don’t think,” he stated, “(it) is particularly necessary as far as fighters are concerned. Most fighters obey the rules. It’s probably more necessary in MMA because they appear to be unconcerned with the testing.” Ouch. Yet the man wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. “What the hell?” he asked rhetorically. “As long as the tests come out after the fight, right? Everybody’s collecting money. Just saying. just saying.” Just saying indeed.
Arum then moved on to addressing the recent sale of the UFC, for a reported four billion – that’s billion – dollars. “Good luck to them,” he stated. “And for some reason they can buy off lobbyists so they’re not subject to the Muhammad Ali Act like promoters are in boxing – just saying.” That’s right, one of the biggest players in boxing has accused the UFC of some seriously shady tactics. By the way, word is Arum is interested in doing business with Al Haymon, who some suggest has also broken the Muhammad Ali act. Yet Arum had even more things to say, going so far as to attack UFC fans – many of whom happen to be die hard boxing fans, as well.
“In boxing,” Arum said, “we have a lot of minorities, African-American, Hispanics, Jewish promoters, people like that.” Never mind the fact that the UFC has fighters such as Jon Jones, the Diaz brothers and others, the guy had a point to make. “And,” he said, speaking of those in the boxing game, “pretty much, we’re Democrats. MMA people they’re for Trump. You ever look at an MMA audience? Of course they’re for Trump.”
Bob Arum the uniter.
UFC honcho Dana White, who himself has a strong boxing background, obviously had some things to add to the conversation. “Arum is the biggest dirtbag in all of sports,” he claimed. “I look forward to sticking around and continuing to kick his ass in every aspect of our business.” With all that in mind, UFC fans await the rematch between Conor McGregor, who was recently interested in boxing Floyd Mayweather, and Nate Diaz, who has helped train Andre Ward as a sparring partner. Clearly those two men don’t seem to have a problem with boxing and MMA coexisting. Then again, they aren’t Bob Arum. McGregor and Diaz have mouths on them, to be sure, but neither can stir the pot quite the way Mr. Arum does.
Then again, few can.
Truth Or Slander? The Tyson Fury Drug Test Scandal
Truth Or Slander? The Tyson Fury Drug Test Scandal
By: Sean Crose
“The world heavyweight champ is being probed by officials after traces of a banned anabolic steroid were allegedly discovered in a sample taken last year.”
These words appeared in Britain’s “Mirror” on Sunday. Since then, a scandal has erupted surrounding heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. In brief, it’s been claimed that Fury tested positive for having forbidden levels of a banned substance called nandrolone in his system during the winter of 2015. Nandrolone, for those who don’t know (and why would most people?) is a steroid which can enlarge muscle. Therefore, it’s easy to see why having significant amounts of the drug in one’s system would be deemed unsportsmanlike.
Yet it’s only fair to point out that rumors do not automatically equal truth and that Fury had adamantly denied being a doper. Sure enough, he’s come across as being a bit confused by this whole matter. Indeed, the thought of Fury as juicer comes across as somewhat absurd on the surface of things. For even at his most fit, the guy certainly doesn’t possess an Adonis-like physique. Regardless, appearances can be as deceiving as false rumors and no one, save perhaps a few, know what the truth really is at the moment.
For its own part, the team of one Wladimir Klitschko, who Fury won the heavyweight crown from after the reported test was taken, is being proactive, demanding the United Kingdom Anti Doping agency – otherwise known as UKAD – get to the bottom of things. Sure enough, Klitschko’s manager has already taken a shot at the agency, claiming it’s failed in its duties before. With that in mind, UKAD has refused to comment on the matter, as it claims is part of its policy as regards to privacy.
There is some urgency to the whole situation, of course, as Fury will most likely rematch Klitschko in the fall. Indeed, the two men were supposed to fight this summer, but the Englishman harmed his ankle while in training and the fight had to be postponed. Not only is the rematch anticipated because it will solidify the heavyweight pecking order, it’s being looked forward to because Fury and Klitschko are such polar opposites.
Klitschko, the former long reigning champion from the Ukraine, has always been known as something of a gentleman warrior. Fury, on the other hand, luxuriates, it seems, in being openly controversial. He’s received a lot of heat back home in England for his comments, and has even been reported for a hate crime due to his language (England just isn’t into the whole free speech thing – then again, it still has a queen). He’s also a world class bully when it comes to Klitschko, egging him on as if he were tormenting an underclassman in a school cafeteria.
Whether or not the man juiced, however, remains to be seen.
Performance Enhancing Drugs and Boxing
Performance Enhancing Drugs and Boxing
By: Matthew N. Becher
Performance enhancing drugs have been a problem in the sports world for a while now, but when it comes to the sport of boxing, it takes on a whole new level. In the end, if an athlete is taking a banned substance and hits a few more home runs or rides a bicycle faster than their opponent it is sad that an individual felt they needed to cheat, but in boxing the outcome could mean life or death. A fighter is already putting their life on the line when entering the ring, with the added incentive of a steroid being used by your opponent, the outcome could be catastrophic. In the past few months at least 3 major fighters have tested positive for banned substances. All have had different outcomes with their appeals and fights. Why does boxing not have an overall rule and punishment on the use of these drugs?
In March of this Year, Lucas Browne of Australia defeated Ruslan Chagaev in a Heavyweight fight that took place in Grozny, Russia. Browne won by 10th round knockout and later tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol, which is used to boost metabolism and lose weight. Browne, claimed he was drugged while in Russia, unknowingly. Browne did get drug tested prior to the fight, in his native Australia, and came up clean. This week his “B” samples came back positive as well, and the result of his fight will be overturned to a No Contest. He has also been stripped of his WBA “regular” heavyweight championship title and will be suspended by the WBA for six months (this really means nothing, since he can fight under any other sanctioning body and anywhere in the world, since Boxing does not have one almighty governing regulatory system).
Francisco Vargas is the undefeated WBC Super Featherweight champion of the world, and is currently getting ready for his highly anticipated showdown with fellow brawling Mexican Orlando Salido. In late April, Vargas, also tested positive for Clenbuterol. He tested positive while both fighters were under the VADA program (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency), and Vargas claims that he is innocent. His excuse was that he must have gotten the drug in his system while eating contaminated meat in his native Mexico (an excuse that fellow Mexican fighter Erik Morales used in 2012.) Wildly enough, the fight is still scheduled to go on as planned. Salido did not question the result, and does not see it as being a problem. Since the California state commission did not perform the test, instead being tested by another party, in VADA, the commission cannot rule in Vargas’ fate. The fight will go on as planned, and we will see what happens after June 4th.
Finally, the fight for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world, which was to take place in Moscow, Russia between the champion Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin has been cancelled. Povetkin has tested positive for the steroid Meldonium. Wilder was weary of going to Russia only for the fear of being drugged, as Lucas Browne has claimed, but instead it was the Russian who came up positive in his own Country. The WBC has not banned Povetkin, who denies knowingly taking the substance, and will start its own investigation into the matter.
The differences here are all similar with small changes. Browne did not test positive until after the fight. He was paid in full, won and went home. After the fact, his victory was overturned, he was stripped of his “regular” title and banned by the WBA (again, he can still fight, just not under any WBA sanctioned events). Vargas and Salido are still going to fight. The fact is, if a fighter does not fight, he does not get paid, which leaves the innocent Salido in a predicament. He has put in the work, hired the trainers and members of his team. If he does not fight Vargas, even though Vargas came up positive for a steroid, neither man will get paid, and that’s a lot of time and money to lose out on. Wilder, the heavyweight champion, seemed to make the easy decision and leave. For him, the money did not matter, since his wellbeing would be at an even greater risk, fighting a professional heavyweight in their own backyard. Wilder will not receive his multimillion dollar payday, but it will not be hard to find another fight to take this one’s place.
On another note, late last year, during the Klitschko vs. Fury heavyweight championship fight that took place in Germany, Fury refused to drink or eat anything until he was out of the country entirely. Germany is Klitschko’s second home and Fury was very fearful of any of his post-fight meals or drinks to be contaminated and being wrongfully accused of cheating and his upset victory being overturned. People saw Fury as being a bit of a “wacko” for even thinking that, but now looking back at the Lucas Browne story, Fury might have been really onto something.
In the end, penalties have to be put in place universally for fighters that test positive for banned substances. Too much is at risk for steroids in this sport. Not only should boxers have to serve lengthy suspensions and fines that will deter anyone else from taking the chance of using these drugs, but the fighters on the other end who did absolutely nothing wrong should be able to get compensation for the monetary losses that they endure. Remember this isn’t a man trying to run or swim faster than another man. This is boxing, where any punch can end your life. It’s not a joking matter when it comes to steroids in the sport.