Regarding PED/Drug Testing For Hopkins-Kovalev

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I got a Twitter request yesterday to check in on the testing protocol for the Saturday Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev fight.

Good question, for any and all fights, actually, if you care about things like there being an even playing field, and the fact that an edge gained by cheating in this sport has potential repercussions beyond a spike in home runs resulting in a monster contract for a PED-proficient baseballer.

I asked Kathy Duva, the promoter heading up Main Events, about what sort of testing will be in play for her guy, Kovalev, and the almost 50-years-old Hopkins, the self proclaimed “alien” pugilist, for their clash at Boardwalk Hall in AC.

What is the drug testing for the fight? Anything extra beyond what the New Jersey commission does?

“We have not arranged to do anything other than what the NJ commission mandates,” Duva told me.

I was curious, did she push for more?

“No,” Duva said. “As a general principle, I believe that regulation should be left to the regulators (the state commissions) to do. I know that this is not a popular position among fans, but I believe that it is a blazing conflict of interest for promoters to take it upon themselves to attempt to regulate their own fights.”

So there ya go, for the record. I'd like to see us get to a place advocated by Dr. Margaret Goodman, who heads up VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) and would like to see all fighters engaged in year round testing, or at the least, strict and complete testing ahead of their fights. We are not, obviously there now, nor would I predict we ever will be. Your thoughts, friends?

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

It starts with the commission. They implement the rules. How much does it cost and Who will pay for it? Not sure but can the boxer or promoter write it off on their taxes as a work expense? If that is possible it won't hurt the bottom line too much. .


-Froggy :

In a perfect world all the commissions would get together and put Dr. Margaret Goodman in charge of all PED testing ! But safety would have to become their priority for that to happen !


-UrSuperHero :

As usual no testing for hopkins. Hes on Testosterone replacement. He refused blood testing for fight in canada/


-stormcentre :

:cool:


-amayseng :

As usual no testing for hopkins. Hes on Testosterone replacement. He refused blood testing for fight in canada/
No he didnt, contracts were signed then the weak minded Pascal who got beat twice by Hopkins, knocked down in the second fight off a short right hand, ran his big mouth and talked **** about taking a test he never implemented in his contract, yet signed it. Smart thinking Pascal.


-The Shadow :

:cool:
;) Excellent idea, Deepwater. Think they could write that off? Any tax experts in here?


-stormcentre :

Ladies and gentlemen, if the promoters, managers and powers that be wanted rigorous PED testing it would be here by now. It is by no means as hard to implement as some of the other contractual mechanisms that are currently in use to ensure power bases remain in place. The problem is, what promoter wants to pay to potentially and negatively influence their investments. Better to provide the subject lip service, make it appear as if you're doing what's (currently) required by the various commissions, and let the fighters take the risks. In the USA as tax deductible business expense is essentially a common expense associated with running a business. Examples of such are as follows; A) Employee benefits. B) Insurance C) Advertising. D) Telephone and/or essential utilities. E) Legal and other professional services. F) Office Supplies. G) Costs related to professional association memberships, including subscriptions to business publications. H) Rent. I) Wages. J) Meal and entertainment expenses Basically, it's the expenses of almost anything that a business owner or the equivalent must incur/accommodate in order to legally run the business. Given the broad range of tax deductible expenses, and how essential and required PED testing now is, it seems remarkable that PED testing would not fit the definition. Particularly points "E" and "J". However, if no promoter or manager sees fit to claim the expense associated with the professional services that provide the PED testing; then they are in a position to "say" the costs associated with VADA style testing is exorbitant. As far as whether B-Hop (or anyone else in the sport) is, or would be, on any kind of PED; no comment, consider the achievements and age, and judge for yourself. Finally, I don't hear any promoter jumping up/down about how the current PED rules/regulations are inadequate; so - it seems - things are just they way they want them to be - where testing takes place in accordance to the specified rules/regulations and (recently) very few major discoveries are made. Beautiful, everyone gets to make money and say they're compliant. :)


-The Shadow :

Storm, this is an awesome post. I think this is something that should be focused on more -- from a media standpoint -- instead of unnecessary mankrushes. Perhaps testing really is where they want it to be? If it really is tax deductible, then there is NO reason they don't have it. But here's another question: who actually enforces it? The promoter? From a commission standpoint, is that even possible to do, tax deductibles? Because you'd have to assume they want to make sure everything is fair and transparent. If it's a capital expenditure footed by the promotion, where does that leave the regulators, ie. the commission? Perhaps Randy can shed some light on this?


-stormcentre :

In effect the commissions usually specify whether or not testing should take place, act upon proven discoveries of banned substances, and - as you know - the testing itself is is what facilitates those discoveries. That all sounds pretty straightforward. However, the testing that is usually carried out is itself - or can, at times be - particularly dependent upon the geography of the fight - subject to a contractual agreement (the "service agreement" for tax deductible purposes) between (a) those providing the services (USADA and/or VADA for example) and (b) the promoter. Even aside from the fact that the company providing testing services that perform more rigorously than others is usually a company that is as financially struggling as any lawyer that specialises in arguing that many women, after contributing to their husband's financial ruin, purposely select domestic abuse/battery as a relationship exit strategy to maximise control and advantage, therefore raising the question of why the courts are turning a blind eye to all the inconsistencies and payments judges receive for awarding children to mothers and rending them merely as visitors to their fathers; this provides incredible scope for; A) Promoters, managers, and fighters to design testing contracts/services around "cycles" and substances that may currently or expected to be in use. B) Ensuring that everybody that should know, does know, in advance, when the not so random, or laughably termed "random" testing will be executed. C) The commissions remove themselves of the many/varied complexities, legalities and difficulties associated with meaningfully designing, enforcing, and administering a banned substance policy. Not in the least as if there were such a thing, and no fighter could be licensed unless he/she agreed to truly random testing carried out by a VADA style agency, and if it were enforced and policed appropriately, not only would the sport go through a negative revolution in the same way the Olympics did a few decades back - but then commissions themselves may also come under fire and experience a big shake up. And, most people in commissions - like any other fraternity - aren't in their job to take all that heat and have their world and income turned upside down for the money they're paid. Furthermore, most also know that the sport - itself possessing participants with, due to the stamina requirements, one of the highest likelihoods of requiring and benefitting from PEDs - is more than likely rife with banned substance use. One only has to look at all the positive tests of the last decade, and the minimal or easily circumvented testing levels that has produced such a result, to be satisfied of that. None of this suggests that the commissions are solely responsible for the situation at hand. D) Promoters, managers, and fighters (remember my post about Eric Morales and Golden Boy a few years back?) to go back after the (positive test) fact, carry out more tests and find one that results negative; then release that to the media, and use both it in other ways and also the confidentiality clause between the PED testing "service provider"; to confuse the issues further and therefore protect reputations and investments. E) Those with real accountability and the most to lose from banned substances tests that return positive, to change, control and manipulate the testing process. F) Those that should be empowered and paid to order, control, administer and enforce banned substances tests; to be relegated to what is really a glorified and limited administrative function that suits cashed and lawyered up promoters as perfectly as Bob loves to say "the role of PED testing is invested in the NSAC and as such there is no need for any fighter to dictate such terms on one of my fighters - we are adhering to the rules and regulations that are currently in place by the state's athletic commission". And that mantra, in boxing, is almost as prevalent and invasive as the star spangled banner is in the military services - which of course would never send thousands of citizens (unless they were not politician's sons and daughters) to death in a war that was nothing but a meaningless politic stunt based on lies. Clearly there is more to banned substance testing regime and issues, but believe me if the subject were treated as seriously as delaying a big Mayweather fight in Vegas - which it could easily be - then I would not be able to write these strongly worded posts with such confidence. I mean, when was the last time you heard of all the commissions, promoters, managers, advisers and fighters all meeting - like a BHOF gathering - to regularly discuss and improve the situation? The sad answer is, right now, no one cares enough about it to risk their income, popularity and also possibly be tasked with exposing and staining the sport they love and work in. Happy to be proved wrong, so please - anyone - point out my shortcomings. After all, I am only an ex-boxer.


-stormcentre :

Storm, this is an awesome post. I think this is something that should be focused on more -- from a media standpoint -- instead of unnecessary mankrushes. Perhaps testing really is where they want it to be? If it really is tax deductible, then there is NO reason they don't have it. But here's another question: who actually enforces it? The promoter? From a commission standpoint, is that even possible to do, tax deductibles? Because you'd have to assume they want to make sure everything is fair and transparent. If it's a capital expenditure footed by the promotion, where does that leave the regulators, ie. the commission? Perhaps Randy can shed some light on this?
Thanks for big -up Shadow. From my perspective even if it were not tax deductible there is no theoretical reason it's not implemented, or at least meaningfully and regularly discussed in forums as above-mentioned. It's just the the complexity and costs are both prohibitive and a great excuse to hide behind. Also, the people that could change it, don't really want to as there is very little upside for them in doing so and the way the system is now everyone can neatly blame everyone else, claim they're adhering to protocol, and still enjoy the majority of the public finding the issues too hard to bother with . . . . and as such by the time the next big promotion hits their consciousness they have lost interest in a subject that requires more mental gymnastics and is less exciting than discussing the next fight. Clearly more rigorous testing - which is desperately needed - is both more expensive and needed. But are we really to believe that GB and TR can't afford this and/or build it into their business case and promotions? After all, jet flights, chauffeurs, 5 star accommodation, and much more, has been for years. Are we really to believe that the legal, management and promotional savvy that has created and/or benefitted from this teflon coated banned substance testing environment is totally unable to find a way to make truly random/independent VADA style testing work and affordable? That, itself, is a hilarious proposition. However, here is another way to look at the sporting, promotional, participant, and management phenomena that is commonly referred to as the; "despite my testosterone and diuretic levels going through the roof, I'm doing all I can and complying with my obligations, and I have no idea how this false negative test has come about but I will fight and prove my innocence until everyone forgets about it" banned substance issue in boxing. Clearly the more positive tests that result from such an approach means either (or all); less licensed fighters, more positive test-results, more stalled/delayed promotions, less revenue, more scandals, less licensing fees for commissions. And since this sport - like many others - is not only a slave to the dollar - but grown comfortable with its participants being marginalised and hurt; therein lies another aspect of the problem. Who will risk their income, popularity and also possibly be tasked with exposing and staining the sport they love and work in; to achieve this outcome? Currently the way the commissions work, in some sense quite independently from one and another, even if one of them did step up to the plate on the banned substance issue, all a promoter has to - and would - do, is simply move the promotion to another state and commission that was more receptive to their interests and possibly money. This is one reason why the Nevada commission has become a popular organisation for promoters. So then, the commission (and it's employees) that were given the short promotional shrift, then start to ask themselves; "what point is there in implementing strict policies and economically hurting the state we live in and also the commission we work in". As you can see a universal banned substance policy for all commissions, and the power and financial incentives for commissions to meaningfully administer and enforce it - in boxing - is akin to expecting free healthcare for a lifetime of taxes. Now, if this were golf, or polo . . . . . :)