BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky reportedly has alleged that former welterweight and junior middleweight world champion Shane Mosley had a very extensive doping regimen prior to his 2003 rematch with Oscar de la Hoya, including use of "the cream" and "the clear," the designer steroids made famous by Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield, among many other athletes.
Mosley is also accused by Novitzky of using EPO, a drug that stimulates red blood cell production, allowing for more oxygen to get to the muscles, thereby increasing stamina. EPO has long been a factor in cycling and running. I think the possible benefits in boxing are quite obvious.
Novitzky alleges that Mosley -- who was subpoenaed and testified before a grand jury in 2003 -- had been using the drugs in the two months leading to the bout, receiving a final dose of EPO on September 8, five days before the bout.
The rematch was won by Mosley, most notably because he was able to outlast Oscar in the final rounds, demonstrably so in the 12th.
Mosley's red blood cell level was at 52.2 by August 8, according to files seized during the BALCO raids. According to Dr. Gary Wadler, a member of the World Anti-Doping Association, "Most men are in the low 40s. Anything over 50 is considered off the charts."
Mosley's publicist has not returned any messages left by Sports Illustrated. Mosley, for the record, has never tested positive for anything, and has always denied any use of performance-enhancing drugs.
I don't really know what to make of the story for now. I've never been as fanatic about steroid use in athletics as a lot of people are. Sure, it should be illegal, and yes, it's cheating. I just don't get all up in arms about it, because the fact of the matter is, a lot of athletes -- perhaps a vast majority -- will take a shortcut if they can. Mosley wouldn't be a monster if the story is true. He wouldn't be a saint, either, not that anyone is.
For now, I still just look forward to Cotto-Mosley. We'll see how this plays out.