Pascal Wants Random Testing For PEDs, Buck Stops With Kovalev Promoter Duva, Though

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Kathy Duva checked in with TSS, and talked about progress on the PED testing issue for #KovalevPascal.

“Sergey Kovalev has informed me that he wishes to arrange for random, WADA Code compliant VADA testing in advance of his WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight Title defense against Jean Pascal on March 14th,” she told me.  “We are beginning to make the necessary arrangements with VADA today (Wednesday).

“Until mandatory drug testing is done year-round and regulated by a competent and neutral regulatory body that also provides education to boxers and their teams, I believe this kind of ad hoc enhanced testing is nothing more than a PR stunt.  In my view, no meaningful progress toward cleaning up the sport will be made this way. Our efforts should be focused on reform and regulation,” she continued.

“However, since Pascal has accused Sergey of using PEDs, Sergey is eager to take Pascal up on his offer to pay for the tests.  While I have consistently stated that I am opposed to such unregulated testing as a matter of policy, I understand why Sergey wants to take the tests and silence the critics.

“Because some have suggested that I oppose this kind of testing out of fear that Sergey will test positive, I wish to set the record straight right now. I am not the least bit concerned that Sergey is cheating. I am, however, worried that Pascal could test positive and we will have to cancel the fight.  Both Pascal and Sergey stated that they would be willing to go through with the fight in the event of a failed test.  However, this is not legally possible.  Pascal suggested that a monetary penalty would be appropriate in the event of a failed test.  So, apparently, Pascal’s  concern for his own health and safety has a price.

“In a surprising number of documented cases, it was the fighter who demanded the enhanced testing who failed,” the promoter continued. “On the other hand, I do not believe that this kind of testing prevents or catches all kinds of cheating– especially where a fighter has a known PED provider on his team.” (ED. NOTE: This is a reference to the controversial strength and conditioning and supplement expert “Memo” Heredia, who does indeed advise Pascal.)

“Of course I am concerned for the health of all fighters. But it seems that much of the recent talk about ad hoc, unregulated testing is being promoted by the very “nutrition scientists” who simply want to prove to their clients that they can beat any test–thereby ensuring an uneven playing field.

Having said that, I believe that no matter what Jean Pascal does, he cannot beat Sergey Kovalev.  This action by Sergey will allow everyone to focus on the fight rather than publicity stunts.?”

So there you go. Fightin’ Kathy Duva comes back with a hardcore flurry, as expected.

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Jean Pascal seemed undaunted by the task of taking on Russian terminator Sergey Kovalev on March 14, in Montreal, at the NYC presser for the HBO bout which unfolded on Wednesday. The Haitian-born hitter was intense but polite at that event. But he’s gotten a bit more feisty around the issue of PED testing. Pascal told TSS that he’s keen to do random testing ahead of this bout, and he wants to make sure The Krusher is of the same mind.

“Kovalev is scared to do the test,” is the conclusion Pascal told me he came to.

Kovalev manager Egis Klimas checked with TSS on the matter. “We did agree to random testing if (Team Pascal) will pay for it,” he said. He suggested I talk to his promoter, Kathy Duva, to get more deets. So I did.

Duva’s response: “It has come to my attention that Jean Pascal has asked why Sergey Kovalev’s team turned down a request for drug testing,” Duva said. “Like Pascal, Sergey is a proud, clean professional athlete and he did not refuse to submit to enhanced drug testing. I am the one who doesn’t want to do it.

“I have consistently said that I do not believe promoters should attempt to act as regulators. None of us have the competence, expertise or neutrality that is necessary to conduct drug testing in a fair and transparent way. We understand that this is an unpopular position, but after careful consideration we believe it is the right position nonetheless.

“When Major League Baseball implemented drug testing, they conducted tests for years before imposing any consequences–which allowed for the development of responsible policies and player education. We do not have that luxury. The recent history of this type of testing in boxing has been spotty at best – results known to promoters but not disclosed to fighters, disputes over the consequences of a failed test, non-uniform tests and procedures, “lost” tests, planned tests that never happened, advance notice of when “random” tests would be administered, etc. Looking to other combat sports, the UFC announced, this month, that they had scrapped plans for a year-round testing program due to the failures and confusion caused by their experiments with enhanced drug testing.”

“I’ve talked to a lot of fighters about this,” Duva continued. “My question to them is always: If your opponent tests positive, do you want me to cancel the fight? Every one of them has said no. In fact, Jean Pascal’s management indicated that they would wish to go through with the fight and asked that a monetary penalty be assessed in the event of a failed a test. That is simply not possible. If someone tests positive for a banned substance, the fight cannot happen.”

I asked Pascal about this potential situation. He told me that yes indeed, he would agree to have the fight go on, and would accept a cut from the purse of a foe who tested positive, so the event could go forward.

Duva continued: “We explored the possibility that we might embargo the results until after the fight. Rightly so, our lawyers agreed that we could not conceal the results. These ad hoc, unregulated tests available only to fighters who can afford them are not a solution.

“Well-intentioned efforts often cause unintended consequences and simply create new problems. Enhanced drug testing is an issue that boxing commissions should study and work with before formulating plans for its implementation. These plans must consider all of the potential complications (for example, what constitutes in-competition and out-of-competition banned substances and when those periods start and end), testing at all levels, and education for all fighters. We fully support boxing commissions in those efforts.”

Pascal isn’t down with Duva’s stance. “She should be concerned about the health of the fighters, instead of losing money on a promotion,” he told me.

Duva’s daughter Nicole, an attorney, touched on the “health of the fighters” angle. “One thing to consider, though, what is the point of doing the testing if you’re willing to go through with the fight regardless of the result? You can’t claim it’s about the fighter’s health anymore,” she said.

Should Team Kovalev come around on the matter, Pascal said, he’s still willing to foot the bill for testing for both he and Kovalev, which he said would run anywhere from $25-40,000. He told me that he’s been doing random testing since he fought Lucian Bute on Jan. 18, 2014, and has been tested “two or three times.” He is not afraid to cite his association with controversial supplement specialist “Memo” Heredia, who has worked with for about two years. “I want a clean sport,” said Pascal, in closing.

My take: I’m seeing merit in what both sides are saying. I like Pascal’s push for testing. And I have less than zero reason to suspect Kovalev is on anything odious. And I don’t take issue with Duva’s well composed reasoning on the subject. This subject is such a work in progress, and we are in the infant stages regarding how we treat PED testing in fight sports.

So, I report, you opine. Talk to me…

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

Pascal is looking fat. Take the test and make al Haymon pay. Or use vada and the loser pays. This seems like a last ditch effort. In boxing steroids are a detriment . Let team pascal pay and use it as a tax right off as working expense.


-javierigg :

sometimes i need to translate the page, please fix that issue for world living citizens who love english but don?t have all the tools to understand everithing THANKS


-The Shadow :

Pascal is looking fat. Take the test and make al Haymon pay. Or use vada and the loser pays. This seems like a last ditch effort. In boxing steroids are a detriment . Let team pascal pay and use it as a tax right off as working expense.
Why should Al Haymon pay?? He's not even involved with Jean Pascal.


-deepwater2 :

I was making a funny. TsAH pays for everything anyway and he is letting USada test all his fighters why not step in and offer testing for Pascal. Maybe he can sign pascal too so he can match him against Stevenson.


-stormcentre :

I thought Kathy (and her lawyers) response to this issue was very clever. However, VADA either does or used to cater for almost all of her and Pascal's reasonable concerns. Yes it's true that promoters should not act as regulators - but then when was the last time a promoter ceased conducting themselves as they shouldn't if a profit was involved? Promoters - like almost everyone involved in the sport - have a duty of care to the fighters and "opponents"; whether they're groomed/hired to be in that character or not. If 2 fighters both agree to PED testing and one tests positive but the other decides to allow the fight to continue (as did Guerrero {and Golden Girl} with Berto) then (just because it appears that the fighter {and irresponsible promoter} allowing the contest to continue has waived their rights to safety - as Kathy and her lawyer's appear to claim) that doesn't mean the doped fighter has no responsibility for his actions to such an extent that it renders testing and the promoter's responsibility mute. Most clean/dirty fighters that discover their opponent is using are almost obliged (both financially and by their promoter) to continue with the show anyway, so claiming any fighter that does so means testing is not required and/or in any way the promoter's responsibility is laughable. Why not just contractually ensure that the penalty for a positive test is such that the fighter that may have otherwise felt compelled to allow the show to go on (for financial reasons) feels no such pressure. In a similar way to how fighters are paid money to step aside. This issue is not as difficult to deal with as some are making out. The difficult (or concerning) thing really is, if the promoters approach the subject with the same energy and focus as, say, as network/broadcast contract (not that it is even that tricky) involving multiple fighters with different advisers, then there will be nowhere to hide when/if the heat comes down. Sounds to me like Pascal has concerns about the authenticity of Kovalev's power and stamina.


-Carmine Cas :

If both camps are concerned, then maybe the commission should pay extra for a 3rd party to step. Or both camps should split the bill, didn't Pascal say he was fine with footing the bill though?


-stormcentre :

If both camps are concerned, then maybe the commission should pay extra for a 3rd party to step. Or both camps should split the bill, didn't Pascal say he was fine with footing the bill though?
Yep, CC, it appears that Pascal did say that. Hard to see the problem then isn't it?


-Carmine Cas :

Yep, CC, it appears that Pascal did say that. Hard to see the problem then isn't it?
I agree Storm, unless I'm missing something. I mean yes there is the principle of clean sport laid out by Pascal, and he wants help from Duva.


-stormcentre :

I agree Storm, unless I'm missing something. I mean yes there is the principle of clean sport laid out by Pascal, and he wants help from Duva.
Please don't get me wrong here - I love this sport and the culture and scene that goes with it. And I am not saying Kovalev is dirty and loaded. I am saying that promoters and the like are scared of taking a step and creating a precedent that could possibly come back and bite them on the derriere. Kind of like how most MotoGP riders and their team cuss at other racers riding with serious injuries - due to the risk they put the rest of the pack at - but, despite all that, still never officially complain because of what it may mean for them. No-one wants to find there own backyard is not clean - let alone get caught throwing trash over the fence; after they have made inroads on what is a seriously rife problem in boxing and almost all sports. Here you have a guy, like Pascal, saying; ""hey I will pay for testing, are you on board promoter?"" And the promoter is saying; "well, I'm not sure . . . here are a lot of reasons why I shouldn't be - but I don't know why the PED issue persists in boxing and if you're not worried about the risk (when faced with the threat of no income) then, hey, I'm not (for all circumstances) either".


-stormcentre :

I agree Storm, unless I'm missing something. I mean yes there is the principle of clean sport laid out by Pascal, and he wants help from Duva.
Please don't get me wrong here - I love this sport and the culture and scene that goes with it. And I am not saying Kovalev is dirty and loaded. I am saying that promoters and the like are scared of taking a step and creating a precedent that could possibly come back and bite them on the derriere. Kind of like how most MotoGP riders and their team cuss at other racers riding with serious injuries - due to the risk they put the rest of the pack at - but, despite all that, still never officially complain because of what it may mean for them. No-one wants to find there own backyard is not clean - let alone get caught throwing trash over the fence; after they have made inroads on what is a seriously rife problem in boxing and almost all sports. Here you have a guy, like Pascal, saying; ""hey I will pay for testing, are you on board promoter?"" And the promoter is saying; ""well, I'm not sure . . . here are a lot of reasons why I shouldn't be - but I don't know why the PED issue persists in boxing and if you're not worried about the risk (when faced with the threat of no income) then, hey, I'm not (for all circumstances) either"".


-Carmine Cas :

Yeah makes sense, thanks Storm


-mortcola :

Jean Pascal is the Andre Berto of the light heavyweight division. Good physicality, a game that doesn?t hang together - plus, not quite the relative power for the weight class compared to Berto. He has nothing to bother Kovalev with. He will be creamed.


-stormcentre :

Jean Pascal is the Andre Berto of the light heavyweight division. Good physicality, a game that doesn?t hang together - plus, not quite the relative power for the weight class compared to Berto. He has nothing to bother Kovalev with. He will be creamed.
I like the confidence and directness of your prediction and post(s) Mortcola. Some of the dry humour and sarcasm you have previously dropped has also made me laugh too. Good stuff. The fight between Pascal and Kovalev will be interesting as Pascal is a traditional workhorse kind of fighter. Can Pascal change it up now that RJJ has offered paid advice? Big question as far as I am concerned, as most musclebound and/or tight fighters with a few fighters under their belt usually find it hard to change how they move and fight under pressure. An even bigger question for me is; what happens to Pascal when he gets hit with a decent Kovalev shot? That's the real question right there. If Pascal can't hold one and the marbles spill, then out the window goes all the RJJ strategy too. If Pascal can, then perhaps Sergey gets to be in with someone professionally that can push back; which - going backwards - looks to be a good game-plan to tame, if not beat, Kovalev. But then, perhaps that's easier said than done?


-stormcentre :

Jean Pascal is the Andre Berto of the light heavyweight division. Good physicality, a game that doesn?t hang together - plus, not quite the relative power for the weight class compared to Berto. He has nothing to bother Kovalev with. He will be creamed.
I like the confidence and directness of your prediction and post(s) Mortcola. Some of the dry humour and sarcasm you have previously dropped has also made me laugh too. Good stuff. The fight between Pascal and Kovalev will be interesting as Pascal is a traditional workhorse kind of fighter. Can Pascal change it up now that RJJ has offered paid advice? Big question as far as I am concerned, as most musclebound and/or tight fighters with a few fighters under their belt usually find it hard to change how they move and fight under pressure. An even bigger question for me is; what happens to Pascal when he gets hit with a decent Kovalev shot? That's the real question right there. If Pascal can't hold one and the marbles spill, then out the window goes all the RJJ strategy too. If Pascal can, then perhaps Sergey gets to be in with someone professionally that can push back; which - going backwards - looks to be a good game-plan to tame, if not beat, Kovalev. But then, perhaps that's easier said than done?


-amayseng :

Pascal is going to get destroyed in this one. His stamina was a problem against a 46 year old Hopkins. Kovalev is a nonstop *** whooping machine and will grind Pascal into a stoppage.


-brownsugar :

I think Diva just wants to cut corners to eliminate any extranious details or because she simply doesn't want to allow Pascal feel like has any power to dictate terms. Like Storm said... Duvas response was delivered like a CEO, but the practical application of her logic is farcical at best. Scheduling drug testing isn't the logistical nightmare she makes it out to be. I don't think Kovalev is using anything... I think the decision is more about not bending to Pascal's whims. Especially since Pascal is a well known diva when it comes to negotiations.


-Domenic :

I give Pascal no chance. This is an over/under fight entirely.