Just after his win over Arthur Abraham on Saturday, former Olympic gold medalist and current super middleweight top dog Andre Ward endorsed Olympic-style drug testing for professional boxing, days after the topic was brought back into the boxing mind following a weak hoax against Manny Pacquiao.
"I think it is [necessary for boxing]. I would welcome it. I think it's great. That way there is no confusion about who's playing on an even playing field. This is a dangerous sport. You hear whispers about guys, what they're doing and not doing. You have to figure out who's going to pay for it, but once we get past that - I think it should be something that's implemented in every big fight," Ward said.
Truth be told, I don't think anyone really disagrees. The current testing systems that boxing commissions use are antiquated at best and known to be a joke at worst, well behind the curve as far as detecting "designer" performance-enhancing drugs.
And the issue is not about Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Shane Mosley, either. Pacquiao has been accused by the entire Mayweather family, and Mosley re-entered the discussion last week, a discussion he's been a major player in in the past. Mosley admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs for a 2003 fight against Oscar de la Hoya, and was a BALCO client.
In 2010, Mayweather and Mosley underwent Olympic-level drug testing for their fight, with both testing clean. The random testing was chronicled on HBO's "24/7" series for the fight.
But while Mayweather seems more intent to bring the testing to the sport for personal reasons (he's not exactly championing the cause for any other fights, other than to say, "Yeah, those should have it, too"), Ward's endorsement rings a little truer, because he hasn't been slinging the mud prior to the suggestion.
The truth is, these are not whispers just against Manny Pacquiao, or talk just about Shane Mosley or even those who have tested positive for something in the past (Mosley never failed a test). It's 2011 and the professional sports world has been infested with performance-enhancing drugs for decades at this point, and in recent years it has gotten particularly bad. There is an entire era in Major League Baseball that many now just write off as the years dominated by a bunch of "steroid freaks." And even if no fighters were saying anything, it would be time for these commissions to step up to the plate and demand better of themselves. That's the real deal here, but does anyone expect it to happen?